The Pro-forma departmental statement of safety organisation

Pro-forma Departmental Statement of Safety Organisation (57kb)

The pro-forma is intended to reflect the needs of the larger and more complex departments. Smaller departments with simpler managerial structures may wish to compose a simpler document, but if departments choose not to use, or wish to modify, the pro-forma their statement must

a)  clearly define the department (or area) to which it applies
b)  clearly define those persons with executive authority to enforce the Health and Safety Policy and those with overall or specific advisory responsibilities to the head of department
c)  describe how staff in the department can contact their trade union safety representative
d)  be reviewed annually and updated when necessary
e)  be brought to the attention of all employees by the most effective means (e.g. at induction sessions; or by email distribution)
f)  be issued, signed and dated by the head of department/institution or chairman of the management committee as appropriate.

The statement should also identify any special risks in the department and their associated control measures.


This must clearly identify the department/institution and any dependent units. From time to time, departments may have safety responsibilities for those working away from the University. The extent of such responsibilities and the arrangements to cover them should be described.

Some departments may wish to have separate statements for dependent units, particularly if they are housed in separate buildings. In such cases the statements should cross-reference each other. Departments in multiple occupancy buildings may wish to draw up a common policy, which must then be signed by all the departmental heads involved. In all cases the lines of responsibility back to the heads of parent departments must be clearly defined.

Departments occupying non-University buildings, e.g. clinical departments embedded on hospital sites, must identify those aspects of safety that are the responsibility of other bodies, clearly defining areas of responsibility in which the departmental organisation for safety takes precedence and vice-versa.


Responsibility for safety in a department or institution is a managerial function. The head may decide not to delegate functions indicated in the pro-forma, or may add to or restrict them, but the degree of delegation must be indicated and the individual to whom the head is delegating duties must clearly understand both their nature and extent. Those individuals must be named and not referred to by title alone. The head must ensure that the individuals have the necessary authority to undertake the role and that they are given appropriate training.

Those in day-to-day charge of staff, students, and visitors are expected to control all associated safety matters.


It is not always essential for heads to appoint a departmental safety officer (DSO) and in small departments without significant risks this may create unnecessary work. However, in a large department or where complex processes are involved the head should be able to take advice from someone independent of executive responsibilities that can present an informed and unbiased view.

The head should not normally delegate executive responsibility to this person, for this is an advisory role, but sometimes they may necessarily have executive functions and these must be identified. The statement should distinguish between those who have an overall advisory function, outside of any areas for which they have executive responsibility, and those who are fulfilling a purely executive role.

The DSO should normally be responsible for co-ordinating any advice given by other specialist advisors.


The pro-forma’s reference to University Policy Statement S2/13 describes the arrangements for consulting with the recognised trade unions. Departments may wish to add information they hold about any local trade union safety representation.


The statement should include a brief indication of significant risks in the department and their location, together with any local written safety arrangements.