Action-oriented safety

We want to evolve from a passive culture in which we ask people to follow instructions, to one that is action-oriented. That means all of us feeling confident and competent to take action to keep ourselves and others safe.

It means being a good safety citizen. Watch Professor Martin Maiden, co-chair of the Safety Executive Group, explaining why a sense of community is at the heart of the EveryDaySafe programme.

EveryDaySafe - Professor Martin Maiden vlog (subtitled)


We anticipate that some change can happen relatively quickly, but the breadth and depth of lasting change is likely to take at least three years. 

Find out more below:

Vision, mission and values

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To establish and maintain a communal safety culture that reflects the University’s world-wide reputation for teaching and research and its democratic and inclusive values.

To provide the leadership, training, and resources required to create and sustain a community of good safety citizens who are action-oriented and committed to individual and collective responsibility that keeps themselves and those around them safe and legally compliant.


Good safety citizens recognise that safety is critical to the success of their team and the wider University


Good safety citizens accept their individual and collective responsibilities for keeping themselves and others safe


Good safety citizens continuously consider the safety implications of their behaviour and take appropriate action to ensure a safe working environment


Good safety citizens are committed to continual learning to maintain safety and legal compliance


Good safety citizens provide active and visible safety leadership and regularly consult their colleagues to ensure continuous improvement

Progress so far

Creating new structures of safety organisation

Since Council approved the recommendations of the Health & Safety Review, we have been focusing on changes to how health and safety is structured and organised. These are critical because they provide leadership at the highest level and enable further change to happen.

Along with divisions, departments and teams (and units), these groups form a new five-level safety management system.

Find out more about how we are organising safety management

Working with divisions

We have been working closely with and consulting divisions about their role in the new health and safety management system. Importantly, divisions are represented at a senior level on the new Safety Executive Group (SEG) and Area and Divisional Safety Officers are key members of the new Safety Network.

Look out for more information here and from your division.


Some of the changes we want to make will not need additional resources. However, we are continually reviewing the need for more people, systems and IT support to deliver the EveryDaySafe programme, to create a new health and safety management system, and to ensure we can achieve an improvement in our safety culture.

We are still finalising plans and will provide more information when we can. Our resource needs will be regularly reviewed by the Safety Executive Group (SEG) and this was a key recommendation of the Health and Safety Review.

Communications and engagement

More effective communication and engagement were also an important recommendation of the Health & Safety Review. One of our priorities has been to create a campaign brand  ̶  EveryDaySafe  ̶ that we will be using in all our communications and materials.

We have begun a comprehensive review of the Safety Office websiteWe listened to the feedback that staff gave us during the Health & Safety Review and will be relaunching the site with better navigation and signposting, presentation of policies, training courses, advice and information on safety.

In May 2022 we held an all-staff Open Forum event where we launched the EveryDaySafe brand and talked about our vision and mission, and some ideas about what our values might be. In October 2022, SEG co-chair Martin Maiden talked in his vlog about why a sense of community is at the heart of the EveryDaySafe programme. We've also updated our vision and mission, and defined the values that underpin what it means to be a good safety citizen.

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What happens next

Over the coming months we will complete the changes in safety organisation, progress our resourcing plans and continue to communicate and engage with staff. We will also be working on these priorities:

  • Safety culture - defining what an effective safety culture means for the University, how we can achieve a shift in culture to action-oriented safety, and how we will measure our improvement. We will be consulting widely with staff. Look out for more information about this
  • Competency framework - setting out the behaviours, attitudes and skills that people need to do their jobs effectively
  • Assurance reporting - introducing a new process during 2023
  • Plan-Do-Check-Act - this is already becoming a feature of all new policy and guidance and we will apply it to everything that we do throughout the health and safety management system
  • IT systems - to support and enable effective safety management

More information will be available here as we move forward.

Being a good safety citizen

Everyone has a role to play in creating an action-oriented safety culture by being a good safety citizen. 

Professional Services Conference – prize draw

We asked visitors to our stand at the Conference in September to get their teams talking about safety with these three questions:

  • How do you identify the safety risks in your work environment?
  • What actions should you take to address them?
  • Do you know where to get help and advice about safety?

We chose two winners from the entries. Read about what their teams thought about safety and the actions they took.

You can start being a good safety citizen too by:

Talking about safety

  • Starting conversations about health and safety by talking openly to your manager, colleagues and team members about your safety concerns, ideas and needs
  • If you are a manager or supervisor, encouraging discussion about health and safety in 1:1 and team meetings

Looking after your own safety... and the safety of others

  • Taking responsibility for your own health and safety by being more aware of risks in your own working environment and being sure to report anything you see or experience. This includes things that affect colleagues, students or visitors to the University
  • Thinking about what you could do to remove, avoid or reduce the risks you notice
  • Thinking about any support or training needs that would help you to be safer at work and raising these with your manager or supervisor
  • Making sure you are aware of the health and safety systems in place where you work, for instance how to report incidents
  • Knowing who is available to help and advise you in your department, such as your Departmental Safety Officer
Video voxpop

We invited people in different roles across the University to make a short selfie recording about what they do to look after their own safety on a day-to-day basis where they work. Take a look at what they said.


If you'd like to share your thoughts on safety in future voxpops contact the project team. We'd love to hear from you.

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What do we mean by...?

Here we explain some of the terms we talk about on these pages. If there are other things that you think we need to explain better, please contact us.

Assurance reporting

This is about making sure we know that our risk controls are in place, effective and being used. It helps us to make informed decisions and ensure we comply with our legal responsibilities. An example of this would be reporting of slips and trips.

Competency framework

Competencies are the behaviours, attitudes and skills that people need to do their job effectively.


A four-stage approach for continually improving processes and resolving problems. It involves systematically testing possible solutions, assessing the results, and implementing the ones that we can show work.

Safety Network

Led by the Safety Office, this will strengthen links with Area, Divisional and Departmental Safety Officers across the University. It will also create a wider community of practice comprising all staff with significant health and safety responsibilities, as well as other people who are able to influence or support the changes we will be making as a result of the Review.

Trust with Assurance

This is about recognising that Heads of Departments (or Chairs of Faculty Boards) are responsible for the effectiveness of their local health and safety arrangements. They need to assure themselves that the local implementation is successful, but in doing so they are supported by the wider expertise and experience across the University and Safety Network as a whole.