Health and safety induction training

1.  Introduction

University departments, units and institutions (hereafter referred to simply as ‘departments’) are responsible for providing each new employee, visiting worker or student with appropriate induction training on health and safety. Induction training should be provided as soon as practicable after the individual starts work, ideally on commencement, and certainly within a month of arriving in the department.

New employees and visiting workers are required to attend any induction training that has been arranged for them and their supervisor or manager must ensure that they do attend. University Policy Statement (UPS) S1/09 discusses supervisors’ responsibilities in more detail.

2.  Training syllabus

The extent of any induction training will vary according to the work being undertaken and any specific operational requirements of a particular department, but the following should be considered to be the core of any training programme.

(a)  the University’s Health and Safety Policy

New members of staff and visiting workers should be provided with information on the organisation and arrangements for managing health and safety in the University. The University’s Health and Safety Policy consists of several parts, and the inductee should be aware of all the elements.

(i)  General statement of University Policy - a copy of the general statement is usually issued to all employees as part of their contract of employment. A current copy of the general statement (this is reviewed annually) should be included in the ‘Red Book’ (see also (2a(iii)).

(ii)  Departmental Statements of Safety Organisation - the Departmental Statement of Safety Organisation contains the detailed arrangements for safety management within any particular department, identifying those key individuals who have executive and/or advisory responsibility for health and safety. It also documents the composition of the various safety committees with respect to general, biological and radiological matters and names the Trade Union Representatives, where they are appointed.

An up to date, written copy of the Departmental Statement of Safety Organisation should be provided to the inductee.

(iii)  University Policy Statements - the University's detailed safety requirements on specific topics are contained in University Policy Statements. Policy Statements are issued by the Health and Safety Management Committee and are endorsed by Council. A full list of Policy Statements may be found on the Safety Office website at:

In addition, hard copies of Policy Statements are issued to departments and should be made available for reference. Historically the collective documents have been known as the ‘Red Book’. Inductees should be made aware of the location of the Red Book and where to access the information on the Safety Office website. Departments must review copies of the Red Book periodically to ensure that the Policy Statements are kept up to date.

(iv)  Departmental Local Rules operational constraints will dictate how each department implements the University’s safety policies and therefore local rules may further delineate the way that work must be conducted. Inductees must be provided with a written copy of any relevant departmental rules.

The following specific departmental arrangements should also be discussed during the induction training.

(b)  Accident, incident and near miss reporting, such as:

(i)  the location of the accident/incident report forms

(ii)  the name of the person responsible for forwarding completed accident forms to the Safety Office.

(c)  Arrangements for obtaining first aid, to include:

(i)   the names of first aiders, with their contact information

(ii)  the location of first aid boxes

(iii)  any specific arrangements for obtaining first aid out of hours.

(d)  Departmental fire precautions and procedures, such as:

(i)  the various means of escape and fire exits

(ii)  the location of fire assembly points

(iii)  the fire alarm and arrangements for fire alarm testing

(iv)  the location of fire extinguishers and other fire fighting equipment

(v)  arrangements for training in the use of fire fighting equipment.

(e)  Arrangements for Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment, for example:

(i)  whether DSE ‘user’ assessments are undertaken via the University’s on-line training and the self assessment programme, or assessment by nominated departmental assessors

(ii)  the name(s) of DSE assessor(s)

(iii)  information relating to the correct set up of DSE equipment and workstations

(iv)  the importance of taking breaks

(v)  departmental eye testing arrangements

(vi)  departmental procedures for referral to the Occupational Health Service.

(f)  Departmental arrangements for out of hours working, to include:

(i)  access and security matters, e.g. signing in/out procedures, if applicable

(ii)  restricted activities/areas

(iii)  specific arrangements for summoning assistance out of hours.

(g)  Manual handling activities, to identify:

(i)  high-risk lifting or handling tasks

(ii)  the name(s) of the departmental manual handling assessor(s)

(iii)  the importance of correct lifting procedures

(iv)  the proper use of any handling/lifting aids and the necessity for defect reporting.

(h)  Specific risks

Other high-risk areas of the department (e.g. containment laboratories, radiation ‘hot rooms’, workshops) or activities (e.g. laser use, use of machinery) should be brought to the attention of the new worker. Where appropriate to their needs the basic induction training should highlight the hazards associated with these areas/activities and include any prerequisites for:

(i)  authorised access to restricted areas and any specific registration requirements (e.g. for radionuclide use, pathogens or genetically modified materials, health surveillance, lasers, etc)

(ii)  risk assessment (i.e. that requirements stipulated in existing assessments must be implemented, and new activities must be risk assessed in advance of the work starting)

(iii)  compliance with local rules

(iv)  hazardous waste disposal and ‘housekeeping’.

Supervisors are then responsible for ensuring that additional, specific, on-the-job training is delivered, as necessary, on an ongoing basis and that the requirements of (h) (i) - (iv) are met.

Much of the information contained in sections (b) – (h), above, is documented in the Departmental Statement of Safety Organisation. However, it is insufficient for the purposes of safety induction to simply provide the inductee with a copy of the statement. The induction training must be reinforced verbally.

Some departments may arrange for central induction sessions to be held periodically. These may be delivered by departmental or area safety officers, or perhaps some other person, but the inductee’s supervisor/manager must ensure that the scope of such departmentally provided induction is appropriate to the needs of the individual being inducted. Where there may be a significant gap between the arrival of the employee/visiting worker/student and the next induction session, the supervisor/manager must ensure that alternative and timely induction training is provided.

Wherever possible the inductee should be introduced to the Departmental Safety Officer.

3.  Documentation

The name of the inductee and the person carrying out the induction should be recorded and dated. A brief resume of the scope of the training provided should also be documented. These records should be kept in the department (e.g. a note could be made on the individual’s personnel files).

4.  Arrangements for contractors

Any person who has arranged for a contractor to work in their department, must act as the contractor’s ‘departmental coordinator’. They must ensure appropriate arrangements are made to provide the contractor with an appropriate safety induction, covering at least the relevant departmental fire and first aid arrangements, and any relevant University safety policies applicable to their work while on University premises. The departmental coordinator must ensure that appropriate risk assessments have been made, prior to the work starting, and that adequate safety information is communicated to the contractor. Further specific requirements related to the control of contractors on University premises are covered in University Policy Statement S6/08.

5.  Arrangements for short-term visitors

The University welcomes visitors and in doing so assumes responsibilities for managing their safety while on its premises. In the case of short-term visitors the duration of their visit may obviously preclude formal safety induction training. However, in such cases the visitor’s departmental host is expected to manage them during their stay and include them in any departmental emergency arrangements.


March 2010