Safety Services


Safety Leadership

This page provides guidance for senior leaders at UCL to be able to provide effective health and safety leadership for their departments and to embed and maintain a positive safety culture.

There are clear health and safety responsibilities attributed to Heads of Department within UCL's safety management system and legal obligations set out within health and safety law.

This page provides guidance on how those responsibilities can be achieved and the support resources available for senior leaders. 

What needs to be done?

The level of effort and resource required to effectively lead and manage health and safety within the department will need to be proportionate to the level of risk and the size of the department.

The leadership factors below should be carried out in all departments, but the complexity and effort required will be greater in larger and higher risk departments.

Policy and safety arrangements

As a senior leader, you will need to demonstrate your departments committment to implementing UCL's health and safety policy. This could be done through a signed statement of intent by the Head of Department or by having your own departmental (or faculty) H&S policy which shows this committment. 

To implement  UCL's H&S policy, you will need to have safety arrangements in place for your department. Guidance on what this entails and how to produce safety arrangements can be found at the link below:

Departmental safety arrangements

Safety induction and DSE

You must ensure a system is in place for all new starters to complete their safety induction. Part of the induction will include having UCL's H&S policy and the department's safety arrangements communicated to them and made available for them to access.

The system must ensure the mandatory fire safety training is completed, as well as the physical fire safety walkaround.

The induction process should also ensure that all new starters complete a display screen equipment (DSE) assessment.

Assign safety roles

You should assign safety roles to individuals across your department who can assist you in implementing measures to manage health and safety risk in the department.

Those who are assigned roles should have their responsiblities communicated to them and formally accept the duty. Role holders should be competent to carry out their duties and/or be supported to gain the competence required. 

All safety roles should be recorded in the departments Responsible Persons Register (RPR) on riskNET. This register should be validated annually by the Head of Department to ensure it is still up-to-date.

Promote health and safety

Senior leaders should actively promote health and safety within the department and lead by example.

Promoting health and safety can be done by:

  • Communicating central UCL updates, campaigns, news and alerts and newsletters with regards to health and safety
  • Include health and safety updates in departmental newsletters, campaigns, all-staff notices etc.
  • Regularly include health and safety topics at departmental meetings, both senior and local level

Leading by example with regards to health and safety can be done by: 

  • Following all the measures in place to manage risk in the department, such as undertaking all mandatory safety training, completing a DSE assessment and respecting safety signs
  • Encourage and enforce health and safety rules when physically on UCL campus
  • Carry out health and safety updates at senior meetings, so managers can follow suit at local meetings 

Upskill your managers

Managers, supervisors and Principal Investigators (PIs) have clear responsiblities defined within UCL's safety management system and will have responsibilites outlined within the department's own safety arrangements. They are in a position to support the Head of Department to manage and mitigate health and safety risk in the department.

Senior leaders should encourage their management staff to undertake the safety risk management training programme to provide them with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to help them meet these responsibilities. 

The Head of Department and senior leaders can also undertake the safety risk management training programme as a means of leading by example.

Engage with support services

Heads of Departments and senior leaders should be aware of the support services available to assist their departments in managing health and safety. You should engage with:

Establish a safety committee

Heads of Department should establish and chair a health and safety committee for the department. This committee would assist and advise the Head of Department on planning, prioritisation and implementation of measures to manage the risks of departmental activities.

Smaller or low-risk departments may not require a separate departmental safety committee, if health and safety can be included as a standing agenda item at an existing meeting which can fulfill the duties of a safety committee.

Guidance on how to establish a departmental safety committee can be found at the link below:

Establishing a departmental safety committee

Engage in improvement activities

Senior leaders should ensure improvement activities are carried out within the department to continually improve health and safety performance. 

You should actively engage in the target 100 (T100) programme and ensure progress and performance is tracked by senior leaders. 

UCL's health and safety objectives should be actioned within the department and it's progress tracked via the departmental safety committee. It is also positive to develop bespoke health and safety objectives for the department for areas of improvement. 

Review performance

It is paramount that the Head of Department and senior leaders review health and safety performance within the department. You should ensure safety monitoring takes place within the department with the assistance of managers and safety role holders. 

The departments safety arrangements should be reviewed and approved by the Head of Department annually.

An annual health and safety performance report should be produced by the departmental safety committee to be presented to the senior leaders within the department. The senior team should use this information to undertake a full review of safety performance and the safety management system. 

Last updated: Tuesday, August 17, 2021