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Previous reviews found areas for improvement but they were always assigned to health and safety officers. This time is very different. There is a clear focus on leadership from senior managers and especially from academics in departments.  There will also be a key role for divisions in ensuring that change happens, by providing clear direction and acting on health and safety assurance reports from their departments. We are also looking to improve access to competent professional advice, and making our guidance easier to understand, and our training more impactful.

We still have some work to do to help people understand what we mean by improving our health and safety culture and we expect to have to work hard to engage them. Engagement will be a key performance indicator for the success of the initiative.  We will be actively tracking it and using feedback to improve the quality and accessibility of future events.  

We haven't set precise targets because cultural change is a process of continuous improvement. That doesn't mean that rapid progress won't be made, but rather that the destination will always be ahead of us as contexts for health and safety are always changing. The hope is that we can be more confident in our processes and culture within two years.

We are also looking at developing a standard assurance report from divisions to the Safety Executive Group and from there onto Council. This will tell us whether necessary actions are being taken and how we are progressing towards an improved safety culture.  We'll also be exploring the use of periodic pulse surveys and carefully evaluating our communications and engagement activities. The possibility of conducting a further review is not on our agenda at the moment but we'll keep it under consideration. 

The most useful thing that everyone can do now is to help bring health and safety onto the agenda where they work by starting and continuing the conversation - in team meetings, with colleagues, in 1-1s with supervisors and managers. Talk about your concerns, needs and ideas - and ask for answers from your safety advisers. At the same time, make sure you are aware of what information is available to you locally and who to ask for help and advice. Be more aware of safety risks in your environment, identify the actions that you can take,  and report anything you see or experience. You can also help us to help you by sending your comments, ideas, concerns and queries to the EveryDaySafe team at

The Safety Executive Group includes leaders, at pro-vice-chancellor and director level, of many different aspects of the University - including HR, finance, education and research - so is ideally placed to understand where H&S sits amongst other University priorities.  

Yes and in fact we are already integrated under the People theme that the Safety Executive Group is responsible for. For example, work-related stress is an area of shared interest that we will be working on with the Wellbeing project team.

We have been having some early conversations about our interface with OUH.  Determining how we work with partners, such as OUH, who are employers in their own right, will be one of the aspects of health and safety policy being considered by the Safety Executive Group.

Yes they were, and will be integral to EveryDaySafe through the new Safety Network.  The insurance team will be a core member of the Network, and all other relevant departments, committees and groups, including legal, will be Network members. 

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Yes, more resource will be needed, and some has already been put in place in the Safety Office. However, the requirements for additional resources will not be large, because a greater part of the work is about understanding what is needed, where resources are currently patchy, and where expertise is already available. Existing resources will be used differently – more efficiently – and legitimate opportunities will be identified to halt less useful activities. We will also save time currently wasted in dealing with safety issues that could have been avoided.

We will be putting a whole range of support measures in place.  For a start, more training to support their development as part of the creation of a competency framework. We are also developing a comprehensive Safety Network, which they will both be part of and can derive support from. Importantly we will be consulting DSOs on what support they need - for example to better understand the impact of the wide variety of day-job contexts (from DSOs who are also HAFs (Heads of Administration and Finance) down to more junior roles) so that we can provide bespoke training and support. The Safety Executive Group will also be looking at the time commitment needed to fulfil the DSO role so that departments can be better informed about how to resource it in their specific context. Finally, it's important to stress that moving towards action-oriented safety means that action needs to be taken by all of us - not just by safety officers - but by people who do the work and their managers and supervisors.

The EveryDaySafe programme will develop a wider and more easily accessible set of risk assessment proformas, as part of a review of safety policies, guidance, information and tools.  This will improve consistency across the University and reduce unnecessary duplication of effort within departments, something the H&S Review identified. There are already some templates available on the Safety Office website on topics such as fire, manual handling, laser safety etc. Of course, departmental, area and divisional safety officers are always available to help, so do contact them.

Yes, the changes that we’re making as part of the EveryDaySafe programme will impact on all University activities by researchers and students, wherever they take place. That includes fieldwork, both in the UK and overseas, including at our overseas sites.

Yes, the online assessment platform for desk assessments will be revised to incorporate the best current advice about hybrid working.

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Fundamentally, EveryDaySafe is about ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of us all whilst at work, which should be of interest to everyone. It’s not about form-filling, it’s about becoming a good safety citizen as part of the University community. As far as office-working is concerned, yes common sense is certainly needed but people can naturally become complacent or assume risks are being addressed by someone else instead. For instance, it can be unsafe to move around in a cluttered office with boxes and backpacks on the floor. This is the sort of thing that we need to be more conscious of and take an action-oriented approach to.

The Health & Safety Review did indeed show that our safety culture is poor. This is why EveryDaySafe encompasses  two parallel change imperatives - not only bringing in a new health and safety management system, but a radical culture change programme.  We are working with change experts across the University, talking to leaders in divisions and departments, and will keep asking and listening to our staff about what they think will enable us to make culture change a reality.

There will be a variety of ways of ensuring people engage and help create a new health and safety culture. Punitive measures might be called for, but encouragement and empowerment are more effective in changing mind-sets. It's important we reflect on what we learnt from the pandemic – that we can be flexible, agile and considerate regarding different attitudes to risk. 

We realise that individual legal responsibility is not as well understood as it should be. We will be taking steps to improve awareness of this, along with the other benefits of compliance, and continually developing the support that's available through the Safety Network.

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Putting good and appropriate training in place is a priority. Many health and safety training programmes are already mandatory, in labs for example, and they have to be adopted quickly when regulations change. However, we want to avoid a situation where training is a box-ticking exercise - there have to be clear benefits. Training policy will be based on a  competency framework and needs analysis and will make clear which training is mandatory as opposed to recommended. 

Yes we recognise this is a key issue because training is so vital. We also have a challenge to make training really good, targeted and proportionate. Training programmes have to be giving people things and that's especially important at the point of induction. We will be ensure that training is effective - content that is accessible to all staff, timing that can fit round operational constraints and busy workloads, and where necessary bespoke training for particular groups. In particular the new training strategy will explore blended learning - a balance between online and face-to-face. Importantly, a more sophisticated training policy will be based on an analysis of training needs and ensure that we evaluate training outcomes better. We hope to start working on this before the end of 2022 through our new Safety Network working closely with our colleagues in People & Organisation Development.

The aim is to make the process and systems for risk assessments as accessible as possible – for instance by dropping jargon and other barriers. The content does not require specialist knowledge and most people will have the competence to do it, but they also need to have the confidence that they are making good-quality decisions. There will be plenty of communications on all the new tools that are made available.

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No, but this is provided on the Consultative Committee for Health and Safety (CCHS) which interfaces directly with SEG. Membership of CCHS includes representatives from the trade unions, the SU, the safety community, post-graduate students and researchers. CCHS considers and comments on health and safety policy and training, as well as being responsible for consultation, communications and culture.

Yes this is vitally important.  The Consultative Committee for Health & Safety are responsible for consultation and engagement and will ensure that this meets the University's accessibility standards. 

SPOCs were certainly highly effective during Covid in dealing with a well-defined situation and set of procedures. For EveryDaySafe, which is a long-term, multi-faceted programme of culture change we will be building on the great safety network we already have. Every department has a safety officer and some have specialist safety officers to provide support on specific topics, such as fire safety. Both these are supported by area and divisional safety officers and the Safety Office. If necessary, we can bring in consultants to help with specific issues as well. The even more comprehensive Safety Network we are developing will operate as one of the University’s new Communities of Practice and we look forward to announcing more details later this year.

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.