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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Health & Safety


Health and Safety at Work Policy statement for those areas of Elvet Riverside 1 and Elvet Riverside 2 that are the responsibility of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures


The attainment of high health and safety standards in all areas of School activities is the prime responsibility of the Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. All staff have a responsibility to assist in this task.

Health and safety is considered to be an integral part of management function and everyone supervising the work of subordinates carries responsibility for the health and safety of those who respond to them.

All School employees have a personal responsibility to prevent injury to themselves and others and damage to equipment and buildings.The School recognises that everyone has a part to play in ensuring a safe and healthy working environment and safe working practices, and that the final level of responsibility is that of each and every individual person.High standards of health and safety require continued commitment and effort by everyone. The School will seek to achieve high standards by enlisting the full support and commitment of all employees through effective communication, consultation and training.

The Head of School has responsibility for all health and safety issues, except those allocated to the Estates and Buildings Department, in all parts of Elvet Riverside 1 and Elvet Riverside 2 in which the School of Modern Languages and Cultures is the only user.Additionally he/she also has a duty to co-operate in common issues and exercise reasonable care in other parts of the Elvet Riverside site.

Although the Head of School is responsible for health and safety in designated areas of Elvet Riverside 1 and 2, he/she is assisted in the day to day implementation of health and safety within these areas by a Departmental Safety Officer (DSO).The Head of School and DSO will seek assistance, advice and support from, co-operate with and liaise closely with the Director of Estates and Buildings and any other DSOs at the Durham University campus. It is the School’s policy in particular:

  • to provide and maintain systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health
  • to provide such information, instruction, training and supervision as are necessary to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of staff and students
  • to provide and maintain a working environment for staff and students that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risk to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work
  • to encourage staff to set a high standard of safety by personal example so far as is reasonably practicable, to regard students as employees for health and safety purposes
Within the space occupied by the School, overall responsibility for implementing health and safety policy rests with the Head of School, who together with the DSO is responsible for:
  • Carrying out health and safety policy on a day to day basis
  • Monitoring health and safety performance on a regular basis
  • Providing adequate information and publicity to support the health and safety programme
  • Ensuring that safety inspections are carried out as required by the Unviersity
  • Implementing the Health and Safety Policy Arrangements
  • Reporting to the Estates and Buildings Department and the University Health and Safety Office any matters as appropriate
  • Ensuring that meetings of the Health and Safety Committee (details below) are held at least once per academic year, with additional meetings should these be deemed necessary
The DSO is responsible for:
  • Familiarising him/herself with the health and safety policy
  • Ensuring that staff, where appropriate, are adequately trained and aware of any hazards in their workplace
  • Ensuring staff know what to do in the event of a fire or other emergency
  • Ensuring staff know the whereabouts of first aid facilities
Individual employees are responsible for:
  • Making themselves familiar with and conforming to health and safety procedures at all times
  • Conforming to all instructions given by those with responsibility for health and safety
  • Reporting all hazards, accidents, faults, defects, damage, etc. to the DSO
  • Taking a responsible attitude towards health and safety, to include having due care for themselves and others
The School Safety Committee consists of: the Head of School, the School Administrator (DSO) and three further members of academic staff.The group will meet at least once a year (more often if the need arises) to consider health and safety issues relating to its areas of responsibility, and will act as a means of co-ordination and communication on health and safety matters between the School’s departments.

The Safety Committee’s terms of reference are:

  1. to consider reports of accidents and other matters affecting health and safety
  2. to consider reports of safety inspections and make recommendations to improve standards


Section D1 – Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

  • All staff who use a PC/Mac supplied by the School are considered to be ‘users’ and must have these work stations assessed for health and safety
  • All such equipment will be detailed in a register kept in the School’s Health and Safety file
  • The DSO will identify these users by making arrangements for staff to be emailed with a request for information.Users will be provided with information on DSE and, after initial training and explanation by a Display Screen Assessor, will be asked to carry out self assessments which may identify actions to by taken.The DSO will receive the results of these assessments and will ensure that appropriate remedial measures are implemented.
  • The assessment of DSE will be carried out at a minimum of 3-yearly intervals and equipment will be re-assessed should changes occur or if any difficulties have been identified
  • The DSO will ensure that ‘users’ are provided with all information received from the Health and Safety Office on all aspects of health and safety relating to their workstations.

Section F2 – Fire Safety in Departments

  • The DSO has been identified as the person responsible for undertaking the day to day implementation of departmental fire procedures
  • The DSO will ensure that notices stating action to be taken in the event of fire are clearly displayed in all School rooms
  • All staff will, as far as possible, ensure that all escape routes and exit doors are kept clear
  • Practice fire evacuations from the Elvet Riverside buildings are carried out on a regular basis under the auspice of the University Health and Safety Office

Section F7 – Work Placements

  • Following receipt of the guidance published by the CVCP, UCEA/USHA and QAA, the School is in the process of preparing a separate policy on work placements in conjunction with the University Health and Safety Adviser

Section M1 – Manual Handling Operations

  • The DSO will take steps to identify those operations that require assessment for manual handling.Staff will be emailed at appropriate intervals with details of the regulations and principles of manual handling operations, together with a request to consider and report any activity within their responsibility that involves manual handling so that it can be assessed
  • The names of nominated School Manual Handling Assessors will be notified to the Health and Safety Office
  • All Assessors will attend training provided and authorised by the University Health and Safety Adviser
  • The assessment will be carried out by a trained assessor following the guidelines provided in section M1.The results of the assessment will be written down and communicated to the people carrying out the operation.A copy will be filed with the DSO.
  • Manual handling risk assessments will be completed for all ‘significant’ operations in the manner specified by the Health and Safety Office; a list of all manual handling activities identified as ‘significant’ will be prepared and kept up to date by the DSO

Section R1 – Reporting Accidents and Occupational Diseases

  • The DSO has been identified as the School’s ‘Reporting Officer’
  • All accidents are reported to either the DSO or Head of School
  • All accidents will be investigated to identify the basic causes and determine actions to prevent recurrence
  • All accidents and dangerous occurrences (whether causing injury or not), cases of occupational ill health, fires and false fire alarm activations, will be reported by the ‘Reporting Officer’ on the University’s Report Form IR1

Section 11 – Self Inspection of Premises

  • The DSO will arrange for a formal Health and Safety inspection of the School’s designated area to be carried out on an annual basis, if possible within the Michaelmas Term
  • An annual report of these inspections will be provided to the Health and Safety Policy Committee
  • The inspections will be based on the University’s approved check list
  • Following each inspection, a Summary Form will be completed and returned to the Health and Safety Office
  • The School will liase with the Estates and Buildings Department where Estates and Buildings services are required to correct any identified problems

First Aid

  • The School will display an up-to-date list of trained First Aiders located in the Elvet Riverside buildings
  • The School’s First Aid box is located in the School Administrators office; the School Administrator is also a trained First Aider
  • The contents of the First Aid box is maintained by the University Occupational Health Nurse who inspects the contents regularly


  • The DSO will encourage staff to be trained in health and safety where appropriate, such as general safety courses, manual handling, first aid and fire precautions

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, requires Durham University to publish a statement of policy with respect to the health and safety at work of members of Durham University, and to publicise the existing organisation and arrangements for carrying out that policy.The University Health and Safety Policy can be found at the Health and Safety Office web site.The Head of School endorses and supports this Policy as it applies to her areas of health and safety responsibility.The School will take advice on all aspects of health and safety from the University Health and Safety Adviser and as laid down in the University’s Health and Safety Manual, a copy of which is available to all staff in the School Administrator’s office.

The School’s Health and Safety Policy will be made publicly available to staff and students and will be kept under review and amended as necessary