A safety forum can bring people together from a single faculty or across service areas to discuss common goals, share experiences and best practice to forward the health and safety agenda.
On this page
- What is a safety forum?
- Who attends safety forums?
- What are the benefits?
- What topics could be included?
- How to set up a safety forum
What is a safety forum?
A forum is where staff from across the university come together to share experiences, knowledge and resources to drive change and promote a positive culture. They provide an opportunity for networking and can positively impact practice areas, by bringing people together to collaborate and find solutions that work for everyone.
Safety forums are where the focus is on health and safety. They provide an opportunity to discuss, prioritise and drive health and safety initiatives. The forum can be used to provide safety updates, share lessons learnt and useful tips. Forums can provide an opportunity to discuss any challenges that may be faced by members so that they can be solved together – this also avoids duplication of work. They also help improve communication between different areas and identify best practice models/ways of working that can be of benefit to all within the forum.
Who attends safety forums?
Forums can be attended by people who may not normally work together, but carry out similar tasks or face similar challenges. A safety forum can be grouped in many ways, for example, members could be from different departments from one faculty, or can be staff with similar roles across faculties e.g. Department Safety Officers (DSO).
Expert speakers and other staff members (e.g. Security/Estates/Fire Safety or Safety Services) are often invited to attend the forum to present or educate on a topic that would benefit the forum members, to provide new insights and help drive change. This can be done by way of presentations or panel discussions.
What are the benefits?
Forums bring together staff from all areas and services, regardless of line management structures. UCL is a large university and a forum can be a great way to avoid duplication of work between different departments and can stop siloed working.
Staff can build networks and collaborate to share knowledge, solve shared problems, and develop their practice area. Through speakers and discussions with each other, they can gain a better understanding of roles and responsibilities when it comes to safety, as well as the resources available to them. Working together in this way will enable improvement, foster a positive safety culture and create a deeper sense of community.
Forum members will also gain experiences and knowledge which will stretch skills that can contribute towards career progression. Members will also feel empowered when it comes to health and safety which will add greater value to the resources developed.
What topics could be included?
Forums are a space where the topic of discussion is led by the members themselves. At a safety forum, the topic will draw on health and safety matters that are relevant to the members, be it useful tips or a lesson learnt. For example, members may want to share a challenge they have experienced and how they faced it. This experience is likely to be common across the members due to the similarity in their roles and responsibilities e.g. if the forum is set up for DSOs.
Forums can also offer a space for learning. You could invite speakers who can provide guidance and advice on matters that are important for the members to be aware of or that can help improve and build their skills. Example topics can include:
- Discussing best practice on carrying out inspections
- Sharing lessons learnt from an accident investigation
- Discussing how to meet T100 requirements and sharing experiences
- Inviting a speaker to talk about fire safety within a lab
- Panel discussion on specific topics e.g. how to investigate an accident
- Opportunity for training e.g. spill kit training
How to set up a safety forum
- Create the aims and objectives of the forum and decide membership e.g. it could be staff from across a single faculty or staff in specific roles
- Decide who will be on the forum committee - agree the frequency, oversee the agenda and papers, noting down any actions and organising internal and external speakers
- When setting up a forum it may be useful to consult your Lead Safety Advisor for support and advice
Last updated: Saturday, February 26, 2022