Safety Organisation

We have established a five-level safety management system so that a consistent approach to planning, taking action, monitoring and reviewing takes place at all levels.

  1. Council
  2. Safety Executive Group (SEG) supported by the Safety Network
  3. Divisions
  4. Departments
  5. Teams
Diagram showing the 5-level health and safety system

The Safety Executive Group (SEG) is responsible for providing active and visible leadership for the University’s safety management system and safety culture. It reports directly to Council and is supported by:

These three groups work closely together to provide leadership, strategic oversight and direction. SEG has approved several Guidance Notes, which have been formally adopted into Health & Safety Policy.

View the SEG Guidance Notes


SEG has two co-chairs – Gill Aitken, The Registrar, and Martin Maiden, Professor of Molecular Epidemiology, Biology. Watch Martin’s vlogs on the values of the EveryDaySafe programme.

Its membership also includes senior leaders of the University’s safety, assurance and finance functions, divisional registrars and academic representatives.

Five themes

SEG’s remit covers five themes:

  • People
  • Research
  • Education
  • Implementation of policies
  • Estate and environment

Its membership will also include senior leaders in these areas and it will work in partnership with related committees that have an interest in safety-related matters.

You can see more details in the diagram below and on the University’s governance website.

The Safety Network is an extensive community of practice comprising professional safety advisers and other safety role-holders. Its purpose is to provide advice and support to all areas of the University.

This is an example of the Communities of Practice at Oxford model that the People and Organisational Development team are developing as part of the Professional Services Together initiative launched by the Registrar in March 2022.

It is co-ordinated by the Safety Office with key roles for the area and divisional safety officers, and the Estates Services compliance team.

Members of the Network are kept informed and engaged by the Safety Network Newsletter, which is distributed every six weeks. Email if you would like to join the mailing list. The Safety Network Conference, which first ran in March 2024, also provides an opportunity for safety colleagues to meet, share experiences and gain information and support.

As outlined in SEG GN03 (Guide to the Safety Network), a Divisional Safety Partnership group sits at the heart of the Safety Network. Consisting of around 50 members, these are either full-time safety officers or individuals who regularly undertake safety-related activities as part of their wider role.

Members of this group are expected to contribute more than others in the Network, given their competency and time spent on safety-related matters. The group meets in-person on a regular basis to discuss and engage with ongoing Network projects.

A significant amount of the work undertaken by the Network is conducted by the Divisional Safety Partnership, principally because of their safety competence or influence over the University’s safety management. The Network is structured to achieve the best possible outcome, by engaging the right person at the right time.

The Consultative Committee for Health & Safety (CCHS) has four important priorities:

  • Consultation – managing processes for obtaining feedback on proposed changes to the health and safety arrangements for trade unions and other stakeholders
  • Communications – considering communications issues and ensuring that communications support for the safety management system is relevant and effective
  • Culture – similarly considering how to influence and achieve an improved safety culture across the University
  • Open channel – supporting the SEG by providing feedback on any of these issues

You can find more information about CCHS on the University’s governance website.

Divisions, departments and teams (and units) are levels 3-5 of the safety management system. Each level will operate slightly differently but there will be nominated leads and management structures responsible for appropriate levels of safety management. For example:

  • Division – divisional health and safety plan
  • Department – local priorities
  • Team/unit – risk assessments

There will be two important flows of information between them – and between the divisions and the SEG:

  • Decisions being made by SEG that impact on departments and need action
  • Assurance reporting from departments (including teams and units) – that means information about whether risk controls are in place, effective and being used. An example of this would be slips, trips and falls