Health and Safety Toolkit

Our Health and Safety Statement

The University of Portsmouth Students’ Union (the Union) is committed to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees and students, so far as is reasonably practicable, through the development of a positive Health and Safety culture.

The Union is committed to safeguarding the health and safety of contractors, other visitors and the general public who may be affected by the Union’s activities, so far as is reasonably practicable.

The Union considers that good health and safety performance is a fundamental prerequisite if the Union’s strategic aims are to be effectively realised.

In order to achieve this, the Union aims to:

  • Develop and promote a positive health and safety culture
  • Comply with all relevant legislation
  • Resource adequately health and safety provision
  • Ensure risk assessments are undertaken and risks are controlled adequately
  • Prevent injury and ill health of all persons affected by the activities of the Union
  • Adopt and promote best practice in all aspects of health and safety at work
  • Monitor and review the effectiveness of the Union’s arrangements and make improvements as required

Primary responsibility for ensuring the safety of any activity rests with those line managers who arrange and direct the work. Safety, including personal security, is therefore an important issue that needs to be considered at all levels of management. All individual members of staff, visitors and students must also pay appropriate regard to their health and safety responsibilities.

Legal compliance is a substantial undertaking. It demands the integration of health and safety management into all planning activities. This commitment should be visible from senior management down to the individual employee. The support and co-operation of all staff and students is essential to achieve legal compliance.

Management of risk is the key to achieving the Union’s health and safety objectives. The process of risk assessment will be used to ensure that this is done in an efficient, systematic and cost effective manner. This should ensure that resources are targeted towards those areas and activities where the greatest risk exists.

The Union’s primary Health and Safety objectives are:

  • To increase the number of near miss and minor injury forms being completed to ensure appropriate reporting, and increased awareness and opportunity for better controls of safety risks
  • To ensure all staff and student groups are trained in all the health and safety courses relevant to their role
  • To reduce the levels of work related sickness to nil

Important downloads

The details below are the arrangements and procedures in place to support a positive health and safety culture at the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union. The Union expects all staff, students and visitors to abide by these arrangements.

As a voluntary organisation the Union is not required to comply with the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority however recognise that the Union has a core of high risk adventurous activities including climbing, trekking and watersports amongst its repertoire. The safety of these groups are to be managed through the utilisation of professional adventurous activities centres and services supported by thorough risk assessments and best practice guidelines available through the following resources:

As a general rule bikes should not be brought into University or Union Buildings. If bikes are brought into the workplace then the departmental manager is required to rule as to whether this is acceptable and ensure that no fire escapes and walkways are blocked.

Further Guidance:

The British Institute of Sports Coaches (BISC) code of ethics and conduct for sports coaches must be followed by all Union activities coaches.

Coaches must ensure that all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure a safe working environment. This means that the work done should be kept in practice with the standards required by the National Governing Body. For example in sports such as gymnastics the National Governing Body will require that all coaches adhere to certain safety standards when an individual is undertaking a particular aspect of the sport.

Coaches also have a duty to protect children from harm and abuse.

Coaches shall only practice in those elements of sport for which their training and competence is recognised by the appropriate National Governing Body.

The National Occupational Standards for Coaching, Teaching and Instructing along with the approved National Governing Body coaching awards provide the framework for establishing competence at the different levels of coaching practice.

Coaches must not smoke or drink while coaching. They must not do anything which may affect their competence to coach and which would compromise the safety of the individual performer or athlete.

Coordinators must collate the following information from all coaches prior at the beginning of each term:

  • Coaching certificate
  • First Aid certificate
  • Professional Indemnity & Liability Insurance
  • Self Employed Disclaimer

Further Guidance:

All building contractors must be approved by the University of Portsmouth Estates department and comply with their guidelines. Contractors for the provision of other services must supply suitable copies of their risk assessment, method statement and insurances prior to starting work.

Further Guidance:

Substances hazardous to health are present in many products used on a daily basis at work, for example bleach, cooking oil, paint, etc. Some examples of the effects of hazardous substances include:

  • Skin irritation, dermatitis or even skin cancer from frequent contact with oils
  • Asthma from sensitivity to substances contained in paints or adhesives
  • Being overcome by toxic fumes
  • Poisoning by drinking toxic liquids accidentally
  • Cancer from exposure to carcinogenic substances at work
  • Infection from bacteria and other micro-organisms

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) provide a legal framework to protect people against health risks from hazardous substances used at work. Hazardous substances that have been brought into the Union will normally include a warning label and information about safety precautions that should be taken when using the substance. The Safety Data Sheet for such products should be obtained from the supplier of the substance, by the manager of the area in which the substance is being used, and the guidance on the sheet should be followed.

Department Managers must identify the presence of substances covered by COSHH. As mentioned above, most will already be clearly labelled. Once identified, the risk associated with the use of the product must be assessed and any necessary precautions identified and implemented. The appropriate manager must monitor the implementation of any precautions.

All chemicals must be kept in locked cupboards or rooms.

Any pressurised gas canisters used by the Union must be stored in the outside container.

Consideration should be given to printer toner which in some cases may be classed as a hazardous substance if inhaled.

Further Guidance:

It is important that reports on all incidents of crime or suspect persons in buildings are made to the University Security Control Room and your line manager as soon as possible. It should be understood that although security will take a report of crime from an aggrieved person, it is important that the person also reports the matter to the police. This is necessary for insurance purposes.

It is essential that enough information on the crime and suspect is passed to the Control Room Operator when reporting.

  • Location of incident
  • Brief description of incident
  • Description of offender
  • Time of incident
  • Names of persons involved

This will ensure that the most effective use can be made of the University security resources in manpower and CCTV.

If the incident was within one of the following spaces, the Students’ Union owned CCTV may have captured the incident and should be reviewed by the line manager and Head of Operations within 3 working days of the incident:

  • Union shop and reception
  • Advice Centre and sabbatical office
  • Student opportunities centre

Further Guidance:

The University has fifteen Public Access Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) distributed around the campus. An automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a device which enables the general public to attempt to restart a heart after a cardiac arrest. They are designed to be simple to operate as the device has a computer programme which will read the heart rhythm and will only discharge (automatically) if it is correct to use a shock in that set of circumstances.

The nearest AED devices are located at the Spinnaker Sports Centre an Dentistry building

*Further Guidance:***

Health and safety legislation should not prevent disabled people finding or staying in employment and should not be used as a false excuse to justify discriminating against disabled workers. The Union is committed to appropriately assessing the risks associated with any disability and where reasonably practical make the appropriate adjustments to accommodate the needs of the individual.

Further Guidance:

Legislation covering the use of display screen equipment was introduced in 1993, namely the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. The aim of the Regulations is to ensure that employers and employees take appropriate action to control risks associated with the use of such equipment, the most familiar of which is the personal computer.

Workplace Assessment
All Union staff will undertake a DSE and workplace assessment as part of their induction and whenever their workstation is updated or changed

Eye tests for users
The Union recognises that much of our work requires the habitual use of display screen equipment and offers Students’ Union staff:

  • Payment for up to one eye test per year per staff member
  • £60 contribution towards the cost of basic spectacles where required for display screen equipment use only

Reporting of ill health problems relating to use of DSE

It is very important that you report any signs of ill health connected with your work as promptly as possible so that action can be taken to prevent the effects becoming serious or permanent. Copies of the Work-Related ill-health Report Form are available from Department Managers. Indicators of possible problems are:

  • Back pain
  • Pins and needles or numbness in the hands or arms
  • Persistent aches and pain in the hands, arms or shoulders
  • Tired eyes or headaches
  • Focusing difficulties or over sensitivity to light.

Your Line Manager will undertake remedial action, including at least a review of your working practices and a re-assessment of your workstation.

Further Guidance:

This section covers the driving of motor cars, minibuses and vans owned, hired or driven on Students’ Union business.

It is a fundamental principle that no driver is to drive when incapable of driving safely due to reasons of fatigue, illness or effects of alcohol and other substances. Before embarking upon any journey, drivers must always check the condition of the vehicle to ensure that it is roadworthy and ensure that sufficient breaks are factored into the journey; allowing for traffic congestion and weather conditions.

Students’ Union Vehicles

The Union owns a number of minibuses, which are predominantly for the use of the Union’s student-led groups. The use of the vehicles is tightly controlled in order to assure the safety of the drivers, passengers and anyone else who may be affected by their use.

The Student Activities Manager is responsible for the operation of the Union’s minibuses and for assuring that they are used safely and in compliance with both this policy and the Union’s transport policy.

Driving licences issued after 1 January 1997 do not allow the holder to drive minibuses unless certain requirements are met. The holder may drive a minibus with up to 16 seats if he/she:

  • Has passed the Union’s driving assessment
  • Drives on behalf of a non commercial body for social purposes
  • Is aged 21 or over
  • Has held a car (category B) licence for at least 2 years
  • Is providing their service on a voluntary basis (i.e. s/he does not receive any payment or reward for doing so other than out of pocket expenses)
  • The minibus maximum weight is not more than 3.5 tonnes excluding any specialist equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers
  • Only drives the minibus in the UK
  • Does not tow a trailer
  • Is driving a vehicle which has a valid Small Bus Permit displayed.

The Union is obliged to hold and display a Small Bus Permit in each minibus.

Drivers must ensure that:

  • The pre-journey checklist and log book is completed before the vehicle is driven
  • Passengers wear seatbelts
  • The maximum number of passengers is not exceeded
  • Passengers do not move around the vehicle whilst it is moving
  • All legislation regarding driving, minibuses and vehicles is adhered to
  • Any fault or damage to the vehicle is reported to the Students’ Union as soon as possible
  • Any accident involving another party is reported to the Students’ Union immediately.

Staff travelling on work-related business are encouraged to use public transport where practicable. If it is necessary or cheaper to travel by car, the driver must adhere to all appropriate legislation and if travelling a long distance, should take breaks at least every 2 hours.

Staff are not insured to drive Students’ Union vehicles on personal business or their own personal vehicles on Students’ Union business unless this can be provided through their own insurer.

Any driver who is convicted of a motoring offence must inform the Students’ Union immediately of this offence. This applies to all motoring offences whether committed on Students’ Union business or not. You are not permitted to drive for the Students’ Union unless all motoring offences are declared.

The use of a hand held mobile phone whilst driving is illegal. The same is true even whilst stationary at waiting at traffic signals or in traffic queues. Handheld mobile phones should therefore only be used when a vehicle is parked and the engine switched off.

No vehicle owned or insured through the Students’ Union may be taken overseas unless by prior arrangement with the Student Activities Manager.

Further guidance:

  • Download the Union’s transport policy

Drug and/or alcohol misuse can cause serious health problems and drug or alcohol abusers can be a hazard to themselves and others in the workplace.

The use of non-prescription drugs and/or alcohol whilst an employee is at work and “on-duty” is not permitted. An employee found to be consuming alcohol or taking non-prescription drugs whilst at work could face disciplinary action under the Union’s disciplinary procedures.

Employees and volunteers should make themselves aware of the length of time that alcohol and/or drugs remain in a person’s blood stream after consumption, and ensure that they are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they come into work.

Further Guidance:

Electricity can kill or severely injure people and cause damage to property. However, you can take simple precautions when working with or near electricity and electrical equipment to significantly reduce the risk of injury to you, your workers and others around you.

The risk of serious injury from electrical accidents is greater than from most other types of accidents. Electric shock causes the majority of electrical accidents, but many others result in burns from arcing or fire. Shock from a voltage as low as 50 volts A.C. or 120 D.C. is potentially lethal.

When using electrical equipment, employees and volunteers must:

  • Comply with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Take care not to overload circuits
  • Avoid the use of wall-mounted adapters because of the danger of damage to wall sockets caused by the weight of a “tree” of adapter(s) and plugs. If an adapter is required, a fused and switched strip adapter should be obtained
  • Prevent trailing cables from becoming a hazard; they should be tucked away or lifted above walkways but, if a cable lying across a walkway is unavoidable, the trip hazard should be reduced by the use of a cable cover.
  • Take care to avoid obstructing any air grill or fan outlet
  • Switch off all equipment at the appliance itself and at the wall socket at the end of the working day (unless designed to be left on permanently).

All electrical equipment will be tested in line with the University’s PAT Testing Policy and procedures.

Employees should also conduct a visual check of any electrical equipment that they are using. The check should be for damaged cables, sockets, wiring etc. For office equipment such as computers, faxes, etc. visual checks should be conducted weekly; for more hazardous equipment such as catering equipment the checks should be conducted daily.

The procedures above apply equally to personal electrical equipment that an employee brings into work, for example a stereo.

Further Guidance:

Emergency evacuation procedures are distributed throughout the Students’ Union building at every break-glass emergency point. Staff and visitors are required to familiarise themselves with the identified processes on these pages.

The Union Building fire alarm will be tested weekly on a Thursday morning

Large scale events and activities that change the evacuation procedures in any way will need their own evacuation processes and these need to be made clear to all visitors, attendees and stewards. The University of Portsmouth Health and Safety office are able to provide specialist guidance for this.

The evacuation point for the Students’ Union is Ravelin Park between the Library and Ravelin new car park.

Further Guidance:

In order to ensure that any situation requiring the attendance of emergency services is properly managed and the correct information is passed on all calls must be placed through the University’s Security lodge by dialing ext 3333 or 02392 84 3333 from a mobile.

Running an Event can be a difficult and complex task which can be influenced by a multitude of factors. Whether it’s a small scale or a major event, the process followed to plan and manage the event will directly influence how well the H&S issues are managed and ultimately how successful it will be.

Appropriate planning & management of an event is a Legal Requirement and in cases of serious incidents it could have major consequences for the Event Organisers and partners.

Having the right team with the relevant skills will be essential to the successful delivery of the Event – the Students’ Union employs a specialist Events coordinator to support staff with their event planning and production.

All Union Events

To ensure the health and safety of attendees to any such events the Students’ Union will:

  • Ensure that an adequate risk assessment is in place
  • Ensure that any external contractors provide details of their public liability insurance and risk assessments for any activities and/or equipment they bring on site
  • Ensure that an emergency evacuation plan is in place for the event
  • Ensure that all necessary Students’ Union and/or University staff are involved in planning meetings regarding the event
  • Ensure that an appropriate number of trained staff are available at the event, i.e. first aid, security, fire marshall etc. These functions can be performed by Union staff, or by external sourced providers.

Outdoor Events

Outdoor events are an important part of University life and they deserve special consideration as normal control measures may not always be sufficient. An Outdoor Event Management Plan must be completed in consultation with the events coordinator and sent to for agreement.

External Speakers
The number of external speakers that groups are inviting onto campus has increased over the past few years and we must comply with new legal duties and guidance under the PREVENT agenda to ensure our students and the public are safeguarded against any potential issues.

Working with the University Health and Safety Office, Security Team and local Police force the Union has developed the following process for external speakers brought onto campus by students:

  • Provisional speaker lists must be sent to the Health and Safety Coordinator prior to the beginning of each semester using the request form downloadable below
  • The speaker list is distributed to an approval panel for agreement
  • Once the speaker list is agreed the group is given the go ahead by the Health and Safety Coordinator

External speakers also include NGB’s, political speakers, activist and extremist views, religious and cultural spokespeople, speakers from outside companies offering opportunities and academics discuss topics regarding research and study.

In all instances of events management we recommend discussing your needs with the Union’s events coordinator.

Further Guidance:

The primary purpose of fire safety procedures (as with fire safety legislation) is the protection of people. Protection of property will normally follow on from such procedures, but is of secondary importance.

A key aspect of fire safety is the completion of fire risk assessments. These are completed by the University Health and Safety Department for buildings and are to be reviewed on an annual basis. If you require a fire risk assessment for an event you are running then you must contact the University Health and Safety Office.

All Union buildings, offices and physical areas are covered by a fire alarm system which is maintained by the University Estates Department who conduct regular testing of all fire alarms on campus.

Fire points are linked to a fire alarm and allow the manual activation of the fire alarm system in the event of a fire or suspected fire. Fire points must be maintained in working order, free of obstruction and clearly visible. The location of all current fire alarm activation points is listed in the current Health and Safety Manual.

Fire exits must be clearly signed and should be free of obstruction at all times. Managers and Coordinators must ensure that all staff and students under their responsibility are aware of the nearest fire exits.

Fire extinguishers are located in all buildings, as per the map in the current Health and Safety Manual. These are maintained by the University Health and Safety Department.

The Students’ Union will ensure that there are an appropriate number of staff within each area trained in the most up to date Fire Marshall procedures. In the event of a fire evacuation, fire marshalls will wear a high visibility jacket and clear each area of the building of staff and students, directing them to the assigned assembly point.

The Students’ Union recognises that good housekeeping and sensible fire precautions will reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring. Common causes of fires include electrical equipment that is faulty or misused, smoking materials, accumulation of combustible rubbish and carelessness. Everyone should be encouraged to bring hazards to the attention of their manager.

The wedging open of fire doors is illegal and dangerous and must be avoided. Specialist devices can be purchased by the Union to prop doors open where required.

Further Guidance:

Under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, the Union is required to ensure that there is adequate first aid provision on its premises. The regulations refer only to provision for employees, however the Union is committed to ensuring adequate provision for the large number of visitors to all areas of the Union.

Each building or area of the Union will contain at least one first aid box, placed in a clearly identified and accessible location. The manager responsible for the area in which a first aid box is located is responsible for periodically (at least quarterly) checking the contents of each first aid box.

Each vehicle owned or leased by the Union will also contain a first aid kit.

The Students’ Union will ensure that an adequate number of staff are first aid trained in order to provide cover during normal working hours and is committed to ensuring that there is at least one first aider present in each area within normal working hours. A list of trained first aiders is displayed in each area of the building. The health and safety coordinator can advise on the appropriate number of first aiders for your activity.

Where a Union first aider is not available (for example outside of core working hours) the University security team provide this first aid provision and are contactable on ext 3333 or 02392 84 3333. All security vehicles carry AED devices.

All accidents and near misses, of whatever severity, must be reported, either by the injured person, his/her supervisor or the first aider, via the standard Union or University Accident Report Form (HS1).

Further Guidance:

Whilst the Students’ Union does not operate any commercial food outlets, we recognise that food safety still plays an important aspect in the health and wellbeing of our staff and students. The Students’ Union is committed to providing onsite basic food hygiene awareness training to all staff and students who wish to undertake it.


All communal areas where food is prepared or stored for staff’s own personal use will be featured on a regular cleaning schedule. It is expected that all staff will participate in this cleaning schedule for the wellbeing of every staff member. The communal sharing of food is conducted at their own risk and is not considered a workplace activity.


The Students’ Union also recognises that, from time to time, student groups may want to arrange food sales as a part of fundraising activities and does not want to prevent such events from taking place.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides guidance on food sales for charitable causes which must be followed by all groups arranging food sales as part of their activities.

Further guidance:

The University of Portsmouth Students’ Union is committed to providing flexible working conditions for its staff, wherever this is practical. Allowing staff to work from home from time to time is one of the means of meeting this commitment. This section deals with the Health and Safety implications of staff working from home and the Union’s obligations under Health and Safety legislation.

Staff working from home (home-workers) are protected by legislation, specifically the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The key point of the legislation is that University of Portsmouth Students’ Union is responsible for the Health and Safety of its staff, whilst they are working from home on Union business, during their working hours. As such, the contents of the Union’s Health and Safety Policy apply equally to a staff member working on Union premises, as to a staff member working from home.

Normally, home-workers will be using a computer to carry out similar tasks to those conducted on Union premises. Before a staff member is allowed to work from home, the staff member should conduct a risk assessment. The risk assessment will be conducted by the staff member in their home and will specifically examine their work station and assess any risks associated with using the work-station.

Health and Safety legislation requires employees to inform their employer about anything related to work that has caused, or had the potential to cause, harm to them or others. The reporting and investigation procedure is in place so that accidents or work-related ill-health problems can be recorded and that any action required is put into place to prevent recurrence.

The Union has produced an accident, incident, near miss and dangerous occurrences flow chart to support staff in identifying the correct reporting process – this can be downloaded from the links below.

Accidents are defined as “unplanned and uncontrolled events that led to injury to persons, property damage or some other loss”.

All accidents to employees, however minor, should be recorded on a HS1 Form. This is a requirement under social security legislation. As a result of a workplace injury an employee may need to claim for benefits in the future, and the relevant checks will be made to confirm that the accident occurred at work.

Near Misses
Near misses are defined as “unplanned and uncontrolled events that could have led to injury to persons, property damage or some other loss”.
This term does not include actual dangerous occurrences which are to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive. These should also be reported to the Health and Safety Coordinator on the HS1 form. The investigation of near-misses is an important step in accident prevention.

Work Related Ill Health
Work-related ill-health is defined as “any illness, disability, or other physical problem which reduces, either temporarily or permanently, the functioning of an individual and which has been caused, in whole or part, by the working conditions of that individual”.

Further guidance:

The Students’ Union is covered by a variety of insurances. The list of policies is detailed below and the certification for each is downloadable by click on the policy title:

Essential personal accident insurance applies to the following student groups only: American Football, Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Cheerleading, Cricket, Cycling, Dance, Dodgeball, Equestrian, Fencing, Football Mens, Football Womens, Golf, Gym & Tramp, Hockey, Karate, Kayak, Kickboxing, Lacrosse, Netball, Octopush, Pole Dancing, Rowing, Rugby Mens, Rugby Womens, Sailing, Ski & Snowboard, Softball, Squash, Surfing, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tchoukball, Tennis, Ten Pin Bowling, Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball, Wakeboarding, Windsurfing, Aikido, Airsoft, Belly dancing, Brazillian Jujitsu, Breakdance, Circus Skills, Classical Ballet, First Aid, Skate & Slackline, Skydive, UPMCC (Mountaineering), UPSAC (Sub Aqua), Water Polo, Womens American Football, Karting, Motorcycle, Paintball, Quidditch, Reenactment, NERF. All other student groups hold basic personal accident insurance

Ladders are the Union’s main resource for accessing items at height and therefore require special attention to ensure their suitability for purpose. Every ladder, step ladder or podium must be given an identification mark, which should be recorded on the ladder register located in the events store by the department manager responsible for that item of equipment.

A defective ladder, stepladder or podium must be taken out of use immediately and the ladder tag removed exposing the ‘out of use’ tag.

Points to look for when inspecting a ladder

  • Loose or missing rungs or steps
  • Makeshift repairs
  • Loose or bent bolts, nails, rivets, screws or other metal parts
  • Cracked, split, very worn or broken stiles, braces steps or rungs
  • Slivers on stiles, rungs or steps
  • Damaged or worn non-slip bases or hinged feed
  • Twisted or distorted stiles
  • Identification mark illegible

Points to look for when inspecting a podium

  • Loose hinges
  • Wobbly
  • Defective hinge spreaders
  • Worn or broken cords

Points to look for when inspecting a stepladder

  • Wobbly, loose or bent hinge spreaders
  • Stop on hinge spreader broken
  • Broken, split or worn steps
  • Loose hinges
  • Worn, broken or missing cords

Points to look for when inspecting an extension ladder

  • Loose, broken or missing extension locks
  • Defective locks which do not seat properly
  • Rusted or corroded metal parts
  • Worn or broken cords

There are areas within the Union where staff may be required to work in isolation. In the majority of cases this will be without significant risk (e.g. persons working alone in offices where appropriate safety precautions are in place).

However, there will be occasions when this is not so. Working alone can introduce or accentuate hazards (e.g. lack of assistance if needed, inadequate provision of first aid, sudden illness, violence from others, emergencies, failure of services and supplies, etc.).

Lone working is intended to cover all work proposed to be undertaken alone where the risk to the lone worker may be increased either by the work itself, or by the lack of on-hand support should something go wrong.

Managers shall ensure that all lone working activities are formally identified and appropriate risk assessments undertaken, which identify the risk to lone workers and the control measures necessary to minimise risks, as far as reasonably practicable.

Further Guidance

Manual handling includes lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, supporting, carrying and moving loads by hand or by bodily force and could result in work related musculoskeletal injuries. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 require that hazardous manual handling be avoided whenever it is reasonably practicable to do so. Where not possible, the regulations require a process of risk assessment and the introduction of measures to reduce the risk of injury to the lowest practicable level.

In order to reduce the risk of injury from manual handling, line managers must identify manual handling operations that present a risk of injury and establish the best control measures to avoid injury. Managers shall also ensure that staff are not pressurised by supervisors or systems of work into undertaking operations (by weight and/or rate of work) that are beyond their safe capability and provide suitable information, training and supervision for all employees and volunteers engaged in manual handling tasks.

In order to reduce the risk of injury from manual handling, staff must use any mechanical aids that have been provided for their use and for which they have been trained; reporting any faults with mechanical aids to their manager. Staff should also inform their manager if they are unable to undertake their normal manual handling duties because of injury, illness or any other condition, avoid undertaking any manual handling operation that they believe is beyond their capability.

Further Guidance:

Some workplace hazards can affect pregnancy at a very early stage or even before conception, so the Students’ Union considers the health of women of childbearing age from the outset. The employee however is responsible for notifying the Union of the pregnancy in order that the review risk assessment can be made.

Risk Assessment
When the Union is notified that an employee is pregnant the manager will review the risk assessment for the specific work activities involved and identify any changes that are necessary to protect the health of the prospective mother and unborn baby and identify any further actions are needed.

The Union will involve prospective mothers in the process and continue to review the assessment as the pregnancy progresses to see if any further adjustments are necessary.

Examples of increased risk might involve:

  • lifting or carrying heavy loads
  • standing or sitting for long periods
  • exposure to toxic substances
  • long working hours

Further Guidance:

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (Noise Regulations 2005) require employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work. The regulations do not apply to low-level noise that is a nuisance but causes no risk of hearing damage.

The Union’s activities are unlikely to put staff hearing at risk, with the possible exception of event activities from the sound generated by PA systems. Those who are at risk, or feel they may be at risk should consult the HSE flowchart for noise risks detailed below.

At a minimum there should be a 1 metre exclusion zone around all PA systems – ideally 3 metres.

Staff working within close proximity to loud noises are entitled to purchase protective hearing equipment and claim reimbursement for this equipment.

At least quarterly, ideally monthly, a Noise audit of each working environment will be completed by the Health and Safety Coordinator

Further guidance:

This section is concerned with work-related ill-health and staff sickness. Both of which need to be monitored, controlled and reduced where possible.

Work-related ill-health is usually caused by exposure to causal agents over some, often lengthy, period and not the consequence of a discrete event. Problems such as dermatitis and musculoskeletal disorders usually develop during exposure but others, particularly work-related cancers, affect individuals many years after exposure has ceased.

The Students’ Union takes occupational health seriously and is a mindful employer™. Further information on our Occupational Health commitments and staff responsibilities can be found in the Staff handbook.

Further Guidance:

The duties in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the regulations made under it apply to activities taking place on or off the Union’s premises (including Union trips) in Great Britain.

Any incident occurring overseas is outside HSE’s jurisdiction and HSE will not investigate or take action in relation to the actual circumstances of the incident itself. Whether criminal charges should arise from such incidents would be a matter for the relevant national authorities to consider and pursue. Some countries may allow family members and other parties to institute civil actions or private prosecutions following death or injury.

With all overseas travel activities managers must undertake:

  • Risk assessments for the activities
  • Training to ensure competence of staff
  • To cooperate and coordinate with other parties involved

For overseas travel provided by external providers Union coordinators and managers must undertake:

  • To receive, review and appropriately store risk assessments
  • To receive, review and appropriately store safety management plans
  • To receive, review and appropriately store insurance documentation
  • To receive and appropriately store emergency contact information for the provider
  • To advise travellers to purchase independent travel insurance suitable for the trip

Further Guidance:

The aim of a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan PEEP is to provide staff who cannot get themselves out of a building unaided with the necessary information to be able to manage their escape to a place of safety and to give departments the necessary information so as to ensure that the correct level of assistance is always available.

All staff who may be in need of a PEEP should first discuss this with their line manager who will liaise with the Health and Safety Coordinator and/or the University Health and Safety Department to ensure that this is put in place as quickly as possible.

Further Guidance:

The Union has duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at work. PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.

PPE should only be used as a last resort after considering and implementing other controls.

By law the Union is required to make PPE available for employees free of charge.

Further Guidance:

An integral part of Health and Safety management is conducting regular risk assessments, covering physical objects (e.g. buildings, sports equipment, etc.), people and tasks (e.g. trips, club training etc.) and events (Freshers’ Fayre, Grad Ball etc). The aim of risk assessments is to identify hazards, compile an action plan and control measures to minimise the risk of these hazards occurring and identify training needs for staff.

Risk assessments will be reviewed on at least an annual basis or more often if there are changes which will affect the risk assessment in any way, i.e. a change of venue for an activity. Responsibility for ensuring that all risk assessments are reviewed lies with the risk assessment assessor. In the case of student groups, the Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that all groups have up to date risk assessments for all of their activities.

Risk assessments need to be carried out by an assessor for all workplaces and hazardous activities and services, and then signed off by an authorising person as follows:

Student activities
Assessed by: Student group committee member
Authorised by: Trained student committee member or area coordinator

Union-led event/activity
Assessed by: Organising staff member
Authorised by: Line manager

Workplace risk assessments
Assessed by: Department manager
Authorised by: Line manager

Further Guidance:

The Union has no ambition to discourage activities involving children, rather support these activities and to offer assurances to both staff, students, volunteers and visitors that the Union seeks to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults.

The Union wishes to ensure that it maintains the highest possible standards to meet its social, moral and legal responsibilities in this area. The Union works in partnership with the University to refer all concerns on campus to the University Safeguarding Officer in relation to these matters – full details of the University’s policy can be found below.

Further Guidance:

It is highly unlikely you will ever experience a serious incident during your time at the Union however this document sets out 3 frameworks to work from in the event you do. This document should be read alongside the accident reporting framework.

A serious incident is defined as an incident that has occurred during a Union activity, which has resulted in one or more of the following;

  • Unexpected or avoidable death or severe harm of one or more students, staff or members of the public;
  • A never event – serious, largely preventable student or staff safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented by activity providers;
  • A scenario that prevents, or threatens to prevent, the organisation’s ability to continue to deliver its services, including data loss and property damage;
  • Allegations, or incidents, of physical abuse and sexual assault or abuse;
  • Loss of confidence in the service, adverse media coverage or public concern about our students, staff or organisation.

In the unlikely event you are involved in a serious incident, it is important you remain calm, follow the appropriate procedures and command structure, and record all actions taken as clearly as possible. If you are the person most senior at the incident and the process meets the criteria above you should take the Gold Command role. If the incident meets the criteria above, but you are not most senior or appropriately trained, immediately contact the person best suited to be Gold Command at that incident.

The serious incidents framework can be Serious Incident Framework downloaded here.

The Union is required under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone affected by their work including taking steps to control slip and trip risks.

Slip and trip accidents happen for a number of reasons, one or more of the following factors may play a part in any slip accident:

  • Cleaning
  • People
  • Flooring
  • Contamination
  • Environment
  • Footwear

The majority of trips are caused by obstructions in walkways. The rest are caused by uneven surfaces. To prevent tripping accidents staff must consider:

  • Walkways
  • Housekeeping
  • Design and maintenance

Further guidance:

Smoking can cause serious damage to health, either through active or passive smoking. University of Portsmouth Students’ Union recognises that some of its staff, customers and visitors will be smokers. However, the Union has an obligation to protect its staff, customers and visitors from the ill effects of passive smoking. Under the Health Act 2006, all workplaces and substantially enclosed public areas in England are smoke free by law.

In accordance with the Health Act 2006, and in line with the University of Portsmouth Smoking Policy, smoking will be prohibited:

  • within Union premised, whether offices or student social space
  • At entrances to Union premises
  • Within vehicles which are owned, operated or leased by the Students’ Union

Smoking is permitted at a reasonable distance (at least 5m) away from the building to ensure that tobacco smoke does not enter into the building by any means

The Union will ensure that “No Smoking” signs are displayed prominently in all areas except any which are designated as smoking areas.

Staff members who wish to take time out of the working day to smoke must ensure that the time they spend smoking is taken as a recognised break and is not detrimental to their working hours. Staff may consult the Union’s Flexible Working Policy regarding breaks and making up of lost work time, which should be done in agreement with their Line Manager.

Further Guidance:

Through our accident and incident reporting Union has recognised a trend in sports related injuries. As a control measure the Union has committed to the provision of specialist sports first aid and therapy support to games at Langstone Sports Village every Wednesday. The external provider is required to complete an HS1 form for every treatment they provide in undertaking their duties on behalf of the Students’ Union.

The Students’ Union is not responsible for the sports facilities which fall within the control of the University of Portsmouth or other Universities and facility providers beyond our reasonable control.

Typical sports injuries include:

  • Back pain
  • Bone injuries
  • Hamstring injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Heel pain
  • Joint inflammation
  • Knee pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Skin injuries

The risk of sports related injuries can be reduced by:

  • Taking time off to allow the body to recover from sporting activities
  • Wear the right protective gear that are properly fitted
  • Undertake conditioning exercises during practice to strengthen muscles
  • Stretch before and after games to increase flexibility
  • Reinforce the use of ‘proper technique’ throughout the season
  • Take adequate breaks during practice and games
  • Stop the activity if there is pain
  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise

Further guidance:

The provision of sporting, social, academic and religious activities through Union clubs and societies is a key function of University of Portsmouth Students’ Union. The Union is committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all members of Union clubs and societies. Inevitably, there are risks associated with sports clubs and societies. This section details how these risks will be identified and minimised.

Club/society officers will be expected to conduct risk assessments for their activities, equipment and any trips or group social activities that they organise. Assistance in managing the Health and Safety of their club/society will be provided by the Coordinators, with support from the Student Activities Manager and the Student Experience Manager.

The Union will provide training in Health and Safety for club/society officers. It is mandatory that at least one officer attend this training each year. Failure to attend will result in the club/society’s budget and/or activities being suspended.

Many clubs/societies organise trips away for their members, these may be mountaineering trips, visits to museums, sports tours abroad, trips to conferences, etc. These trips represent one of the main risks for clubs/societies and as such strict procedures are in place to identify and minimise such risks. Prior to any trip, the club/society must complete a Trip Registration Form, available from the Student Opportunities Centre, and a risk assessment.

Many clubs/societies possess equipment relevant to their particular activity; this may be rowing boats, sub aqua equipment, tennis balls, videos, books or electrical equipment. Equipment represents another risk for clubs/societies and as such, the following procedures must be adhered to:

  • All equipment must be purchased through the Union, in accordance with its financial procedures.
  • All equipment must be logged with the Coordinator for the activity area.
  • Where practicable, equipment must be stored in Union premises. If not possible, storage conditions must be discussed with the Coordinator for the activity area.
  • All electrical equipment must comply with the electrical safety guidance provided by the Union
  • All sports equipment must be thoroughly checked to ensure fitness for purpose, at least annually, by an officer of the club and the Coordinator for the activity area. The Coordinator must keep a written record of these checks.
  • All sports equipment should be checked for fitness for purpose each time it is used. In particular, equipment used for ‘dangerous’ sports such as mountaineering, sub aqua, parachuting, etc. must be thoroughly checked each time it is used and in line with national sport bodies recommendations.
  • An independent party must check specialist sports equipment, e.g. diving or climbing equipment, on an annual basis.
  • Any national Governing Body guidelines must be followed.

On an annual basis, each club/society will be required to complete a risk assessment form for their activity and for the space in which they will be conducting their activities. The completed risk assessment forms must be reviewed by the relevant Coordinator. Strategies to address any risks that have been identified must be developed and implemented.

Further Guidance:

Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure. It isn’t a disease, but if it is intense and goes on for some time, stress can lead to mental and physical ill health.

One in five of the UK workforce says that stress is the single biggest barrier to improved productivity. For an organisation, stress amongst its employees can lead to low staff morale, high staff turnover, poor timekeeping, higher levels of sickness absence, reduced levels of customer service and lower levels of productivity. Tackling stress at work is therefore a priority for the Union.

The Union is committed to eliminating the adverse affects of stress amongst its employees and will:

  • Work with staff to identify pressures at work that could cause high and long-lasting levels of stress
  • Work with staff to identify strategies to reduce pressure at work
  • Monitor and review strategies to reduce pressure
  • Involve staff in identifying long-term strategies to reduce pressure at work

The first step in eliminating stress is to identify stress amongst staff. Managers in particular must look out for symptoms of stress amongst their staff. Symptoms include:

  • Changes in a person’s mood or behaviour, such as deteriorating relationships with colleagues, irritability, indecisiveness, absenteeism or reduced performance
  • Increased consumption of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and/or possibly illegal drugs
  • Complaints about their health, for example frequent headaches
  • Increased sickness absence from work
  • Deterioration in timekeeping
  • Reduced quality of work
  • Increased number of complaints from customers

Staff have a responsibility to inform their manager if they are suffering from pressure at work and/or work-related stress. Managers must treat this information as confidential, although they may need to discuss strategies to overcome the pressure/stress with their manager or the Senior Management Team.

University of Portsmouth Students’ Union is committed to facilitating a healthy work-life balance for its staff. As such, the Union has introduced a flexible working policy further details of this can be found in the staff handbook.

The Union will provide stress management training where appropriate.

Further guidance:

The Union is committed to its programme of training available to staff and this include all training related to Health and Safety. The Union has partnered with the University of Portsmouth to provide core training opportunities in relevant Health and Safety:

  • Display Screen Equipment Online Training
  • Fire Safety Training
  • Fire Marshall Training
  • Accident Reporting
  • Working at height
  • Risk Assessment

Where places are limited on these courses the Union has identified online courses with, including:

  • Level 2 Health and Safety Induction
  • Level 3 Health and Safety in the Workplace
  • Work at Height Training
  • Ladder Safety Training
  • Manual Handling Awareness
  • Risk Assessment
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • First Aid Training
  • Food Allergen Awareness Training
  • Cleaning in food premises training
  • Food labelling requirements training
  • COSHH training
  • Fire safety training
  • Fire warden training
  • Infection control and prevention training
  • Slips,trips and falls training
  • Managing health and safety training
  • Office health and safety training
  • Electrical safety training
  • DSE Awareness training
  • Noise Awareness training

The Union has also partnered with external training providers to provide:

  • NVQ Level 5 training in Health and Safety
  • NEBOSH General Certificate training in Health and Safety
  • Emergency First Aid at Work training

All training undertaken and qualifications gained during employment with the Students’ Union or at a previous employer (if still valid) must be entered on to the Union’s training register which is managed by the Health and Safety Coordinator.

Further guidance

The law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least:

  • 16°C or
  • 13°C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort

The temperature of the Union’s indoor workplaces is centrally controlled by the University – requests to adjust heating falling outside of the above stated temperatures must be made through the University of Portsmouth estates helpdesk.

Further guidance:

All workers are entitled to work in an environment where the risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Temporary and agency workers shall be treated by the Union as all other employees and shall carry the same responsibilities.

Further guidance:

The Union co-ordinates volunteering opportunities in the local community for University of Portsmouth students. Most volunteering opportunities are provided through another organisation, which acts as the ‘placement provider’ and as such has a responsibility to ensure the Health and Safety of volunteers whilst on their premises.

The Union will ensure that adequate Health and Safety management procedures are provided by the ‘placement provider’, including the completion of risk assessments, Health and Safety training for volunteers and record keeping.

All placement providers should ensure that volunteers are supervised during volunteering. Placement providers must also complete a consent form stating that they are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of the volunteers and for supervising their activities.

Where necessary, placement providers will organise Police Checks of volunteers to ensure their suitability to work with children and/or vulnerable adults.

Volunteers should normally not be on their own whilst volunteering and, where reasonably practical, should not travel to and/or from their placement provider on their own.

Work at any height can cause serious injury. Working at height is defined as “work in any place, including a place at or below ground level, or obtaining access to or egress from such a place, while at work, except a staircase where, if suitable measures were not taken, a person could fall a distance likely to cause personal injury”. This means that anyone undertaking any work where they could fall is working at height and therefore the risks this poses must be taken into consideration and properly controlled as far as is reasonably practicable.

Working from a ladder should carry a risk assessment that demonstrates the hazard of being at height is of minimal risk and that it is not for extended periods of time. For work at height which is not simple low risk work, it is advisable managers seek external contractors or enclosed working at height platforms to reduce the risk.

Working at height equipment
All working at height equipment must be suitable for the purpose for which it is being used and comply with the requirements detailed in Schedule 2 and 3 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Maintenance of working at height equipment
All equipment must be maintained and inspected regularly by a competent person. The equipment must be inspected regularly and inspections recorded locally by the department.

All staff and students who use working at height equipment must have received suitable and sufficient training to enable them to use the equipment safety, not endangering themselves or others.

Further guidance:

Workplace inspections are one of the primary methods of identifying and eliminating actual and potential hazards. These hazards can include problems with equipment, the workplace environment, the building, as well as with work practices. There are many different kinds of workplace inspections including daily “walkabout” inspections when you enter your office, “pre-use” inspections of equipment you are going to run, and “spot-checks” by your manager. Other inspections are more formal, and involve documenting the fact that inspections have been done on a regular basis as part of “due diligence”.

Formal workplace inspections tend to be carried out by senior management, the health and safety coordinator or the University health and safety office. Each operational manager is responsible for risk assessing their workplaces and regular spot-checks.

Inspection Frequency:

  • New equipment: On arrival and then quarterly
  • Workplace Inspections: Quarterly by managers, Annually by Health and Safety Coordinators
  • Workplace Risk Assessments: Annually by managers with SMT sign off

Further guidance: