University of Bath

Manage health and safety in your department

How as a head of department you can ensure your team stays safe and well in the workplace.

Department Heads 

Departmental Heads have key health and safety responsibilities for the people and activities under their control.  A simple ticklist has been developed to help Departmental Heads to fulfil these responsibilities.


University policies for a range of different Health & Safety activities have been developed together with relevant guidance, checklists, templates and self-help training whenever possible. 


Departments are required to develop local arrangements to demonstrate how they will manage the risks from their work activities and comply with University policy.  Such arrangements are often in the form of a Handbook.  All departmental handbooks, safety statements and other related documentation must reflect the core Health and Safety Policy of the University, and the advice and guidance provided by the University Health, Safety & Environment Service. 

To assist in this goal, reduce duplication and improve consistency across the University, two Handbook templates have been produced.  The Handbooks can be used for staff or students or both.  The templates include elements which can be adapted to individual Departments and thus incorporate additional local rules or arrangements.  It also includes a sign off sheet at the end of Handbook if you wish to use it.  If you would like to provide constructive feedback on the templates then please contact the University Health, Safety & Environment Service.

Law poster

A copy of the HSE's Health & Safety law poster must be available for the use and information of all employees.  The poster can be purchased by Departments from the HSE's website or a copy of the electronic leaflet can be accessed in pdf form either as an easy read version, large print version or talking version.

Professional support and advice

The University Health, Safety & Environment Service has both a strategic and operational role across all areas of the University's work activities, where these have a potential impact on health, safety and wellbeing.  This means that the service is available and applicable to staff, students and contractors. 

The Head of Service is the “competent person” appointed by the University under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.  Their role is to provide specialist advice to the University on all aspects of occupational safety and health and to put in place systems to monitor the health and safety performance of the University.  Should the need arise they have the authority to take emergency mitigating action on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor in order to remedy a situation which poses a serious risk to safety or health. 

The Head of Service leads a team of professional Health & Safety Advisers who provide:

  • Advice and guidance on all health and safety matters

  • Interpret and disseminate relevant legislation through policy and guidance

  • Deliver training to enable health and safety responsibilities to be met

  • Manage a system for the control and use of radioactive substances and hazardous waste

  • Investigate and report on accidents and incidents to prevent reoccurrence

  • Coordinate and manage an Occupational Health service

  • Manage an on-going programme of audits and inspections to help ensure legal compliance and improve health and safety practice

  • Liaise with the Health & Safety Executive, the Environment Agency, Police, Fire & Rescue Service and other regulatory authorities on matters of health and safety