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Managing Health and Safety

Managing Health and Safety

Guidelines and Information for Managers

The information and support documents provided below are to guide and assist Managers within the University on implementing a Safety Management System and steps that can be taken to ensure workplace safety.

Managers and persons who purport to act in any such capacity carry significant responsibilities under the  Safety, Health and Welfare At Work Act 2005, as set out in Regulation 80(1).

A Manager is anyone who controls or directs the activities of others in the workplace. This includes Vice Presidents, College Principals, Heads of Schools, Managers of Facilities, Managers of Institutes or Research Centres, Principal Investigators and Heads of Units. These persons are responsible for ensuring or making arrangements to ensure that the activities undertaken within their areas of responsibility are carried out in a safe manner without undue risk to the health and safety of University employees, students or any third parties.

Consequently, there is a significant legal liability placed upon all managers and persons who act as managers by directing the work of others to ensure that all operations under their control are carried out safely. Such persons may consult with the University SIRC Office at any time in order to seek the guidance of the management of workplace safety.

Such persons should ensure that they have in place a Safety Management System appropriate to the risks and complexity to be found within their areas of control. Guidance on implementing such a system can be found in the UCD guidance document Health and Safety Management - A Guide for Managers. Further information on this is set out below.

The purpose of the Health and Safety Management - A Guide for Managers document is to provide guidance for Managers in designing and implementing a Safety Management System for areas under their control. This is in order to assist them in complying with health and safety legislation and their duties under the University Management Team (UMT) approved University Policy on Health and Safety Management and the University Parent Safety Statement.

This document sets out a step by step guide for Managers to assist them in developing a Safety Management System.

The SIRC Office is available at all times to provide guidance and advice to Managers within the University on implementing a Safety Management System and steps that can be taken to ensure workplace safety. If any doubt exists with respect to a matter of workplace safety, then Managers are strongly encouraged to contact the SIRC Office for advice.

The University College Dublin Policy on Health and Safety Management which is endorsed by the University Management Team affirms the University’s commitment to providing a safe place of work for all of its employees and to providing a safe environment for students in which to carry out their studies and associated activities. The University is also committed to ensuring that, in so far as is reasonably practicable, its actions and activities do not have a negative impact on the safety of any third parties.

This document also describes the University’s Functional Area Safety Assessment Programme which is used as a tool to monitor and manage safety across the university. This takes the format of an annual online self-assessment questionnaire to be completed by the Head of a Functional Area. The results will generate a workplan and actions for both the Functional Area and the SIRC Office in supporting the area.

Under current health and safety legislation (Section 20 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (No. 10 of 2005)), all workplaces are required to have in place a Safety Statement and accompanying risk assessments. A Safety Statement is a written document that outlines how the health and safety of all persons in the workplace will be safeguarded.

The University Parent Safety Statement document, prepared and maintained by the SIRC Office, details how the University plans to manage safety in the workplace. Inter Alia it contains information on the duties and responsibilities of key functionaries, employee safety representation, safety committees, safety statements, risk assessment, accident investigation, emergency planning and safety training. The provisions as laid down in the University Parent Safety Statement are applicable across the University.

To accompany the University Parent Safety Statement, the University SIRC Office has also developed a number of Safety Statements on a College and High-Level Administrative Function basis which give details of how safety is managed within that college or Administrative area. These must be consulted in conjunction with the University Policy on Health and Safety Management.

In situations where Schools within a single College have similar risks then they may use the College Safety Statement as the basis for their safety management. Similarly, administrative function Units may use the High-Level Administrative Function Safety Statement to cover their operations. Advice on this approach can be obtained from the SIRC Office.

Where appropriate, Schools, Units and any other groups may produce Local Area Safety Statements which provide information on how safety is managed at a local level. In particular, they should contain safety information on specific hazards that are to be found in their designated areas and also the control measures that must be taken to reduce the risks from these hazards. To assist in this regard, the SIRC Office has produced a Local Area Safety Statement Template.

All University Colleges, Schools, Facilities and Units must have in place a Local Area Safety Statement where the risks therein are not adequately managed by a College or High-Level Administrative Function Safety Statement. Advice on this can be obtained from the SIRC Office.

The contents of all Safety Statements must be brought to the attention of all employees (including part time workers and temporary contract workers) whose assigned duties are covered by the safety statement upon commencement of employment, following any modification to the document, and at least annually thereafter. The contents of the safety statement must also be brought to the attention of non-University employees or students who may be exposed to the risks that the safety statement outlines.

A safety committee acts as a conduit between staff and Managers, and acts as a liaison with the SIRC Office on matters of Health and Safety. Where deemed appropriate Managers may establish a Local Area Safety Committee, that would form part of a Safety Management System. 

In some instances it may be advisable to have sub committees dealing with specific areas / operations within a College or School. Examples of where sub committees may be necessary are where specialist laboratories are in use or where Colleges or Schools operate facilities remote to their main location, e.g. field stations.

To aid in the dissemination of safety information and to act as a conduit between the University and its employees, the University has established a number of Local Area Safety Committees.

The committee should have assigned duties, membership, and terms of reference at inception. The recommended formation of a safety committee and duties are outlined in Appendix 2 of Health and Safety Management – A guide for Managers and in the UCD Safety Committee Guidance document.

Employees at a place of work are entitled to select from among their number Employee Safety Representatives, who may make representations on the employees’ behalf to the University on matters of health and safety. The University considers any person who sits on a Local Area Safety Committee to be an Employee Safety Representative.

Colleagues can find out further information on this role by contacting the SIRC Office or by consulting the HSA Guidelines on Safety Representation and Consultation.

Contact Information

The SIRC Office is available at all times to provide guidance and advice to Managers on all matters concerning health and safety management. 

To contact the office email sirc@ucd.ie or phone 01-716 8770 / 8771 / 8768.

In addition to the provision of advice, the SIRC Office has developed a large and varied library of documents designed to assist Managers and all staff in UCD in achieving best practice and statutory compliance in workplace health and safety.

These documents are discussed further below and all are accessible through the SIRC Office Intranet site.

Contact UCD SIRC Office

University SIRC Office, Roebuck Castle, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8768 | E: sirc@ucd.ie