Health and Safety Policy


Approved by Council on 22 March 2007 (subject to minor amendments approved by the Chair), and introduced from 1 April 2007. Further minor amendments were approved by Council on 13 March 2008 and 29 November 2012 and are incorporated in the text below.

This is to be read in conjunction with the General Regulation for Health and Safety

Quick links to sections of the Health and Safety Policy:

Statement of Policy

It is the policy of the Council of Goldsmiths College to provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to health.

The aims of this policy are:

  • The elimination of hazards and reduction of risks to prevent harm to College staff, students and others affected by College operations;
  • compliance with relevant legislation and with good practice in the higher education sector;
  • support for the College mission and strategic aims;
  • integration of health and safety with other management planning, strategies and responsibilities.

This policy applies to all employees, students, premises and activities under the control of the College, including staff and students travelling off-campus in the UK or overseas on College business.

This policy will be reviewed annually by the College Health and Safety Committee, which will submit a report with recommendations to Council.

Management Organisation for Health and Safety

Council, as the governing body of the College, has ultimate responsibility for the health and safety (including fire safety) of employees, students and others affected by College operations.

Council delegates operational responsibility and authority for the implementation of Health and Safety Policy to the Warden as Chief Executive Officer of the College.

The College Registrar and Secretary has delegated responsibility for operations and central administration, including health and safety.

Heads of Department are responsible for the management of health and safety within their department, in compliance with College policies.

The Head of Health and Safety reports to the College Registrar and Secretary on policy matters, and is responsible for advising senior managers and other staff on policy and day to day health and safety matters, monitoring compliance with legislative standards and policy and reporting to the College Health and Safety Committee.

Departmental Health and Safety Coordinators are appointed by Heads of Department to assist in coordinating and monitoring the safe operation of their department.

All College staff and students are responsible for taking reasonable care that they: do not endanger themselves or others; do not deliberately damage or misuse anything provided for their health and safety; do follow health and safety instructions, regulations and policies; do report faults or dangers; and do report accidents and cooperate in any investigation to find causes and prevent a recurrence.

Arrangements for Health and Safety

Monitoring the implementation and effectiveness of the policy

This is the remit of the College Health and Safety Committee, who will do this by means of annual reports received from Heads of Department; reports from the Head of Health and Safety; inspection reports from union representatives; accident statistics etc. The Health and Safety Committee reports annually to Council, including recommendations for action if necessary.

Risk assessments

Risk assessments should be integrated into planning of all activities, projects, fieldtrips and events involving staff, students or contractors. Significant risks and precautions must be recorded on college risk assessment forms. Planners, organisers and supervisors must ensure that all involved are informed about the risks and precautions to be taken.

Workplace inspections

Heads of Department, with their health and safety coordinators, shall inspect departmental areas annually, using college inspection checklists. Heads must record significant hazards identified and remedial actions taken.


To support the implementation of the Health and Safety Policy, training will be provided for senior managers, Heads of Department, staff and students as required. Additional training needs will be identified by risk assessments, audits and individual appraisals. Training will be organised by the Head of Health and Safety with the Staff Development office.

Induction information for all new staff includes the Health and Safety Policy and a health and safety checklist to be completed by the new staff member with their line manager.

Managers and supervisors must ensure that staff and students receive adequate training in safe work methods, especially before using hazardous machinery, chemicals or equipment. Training should be recorded and signed for by the trainee.  


The main consultative forum is the College Health and Safety Committee, composed of equal numbers of management and union representatives and meeting three times per year.

At department level, health and safety issues shall be discussed with staff and students on appropriate committees identified by the Head of Department.


Information about health and safety is made available to staff and students using the college website and electronic networks, newsletters and email. Requests for information in alternative formats should be made to Internal Communications.


Before purchasing equipment, chemicals or materials, departments should consider any risks to health or the environment and make arrangements for safe use, storage and disposal. When selecting equipment, the safety and cost of maintenance and repair should be considered and equipment must comply with relevant standards (check with supplier and health and safety staff). Departments should request and keep suppliers' datasheets, instructions for use, manuals etc. and include these in departmental information and in training for users.

Fire safety

Council and the College Warden are ultimately responsible for fire safety in respect of College premises and activities.

Fire risk assessments have been carried out for all buildings and will be kept up to date by the Fire Safety Adviser (to be appointed), who will also advise on building emergency plans.

The Head of Estates and Facilities has operational responsibility for the maintenance of fire detection and warning systems, fire fighting equipment and emergency lighting throughout the college and for ensuring that all college buildings are equipped with adequate means of escape and adequate means of access for emergency services in the event of fire. Records of fire alarm activations and system testing and maintenance are kept by the Estates and Facilities Department.

Heads of Department are responsible for ensuring that escape routes and exits in departmental areas are kept free of obstructions and that precautions are taken to eliminate or reduce risk of fire or explosion from activities carried out by departmental staff or students. Heads of Department are also responsible for nominating sufficient fire wardens to cover departmental areas.

All staff, students and contractors are responsible for ensuring that they: do not create an uncontrolled fire risk; do not obstruct fire exit routes or doors; do not damage or deliberately misuse anything provided for fire safety; and do report faults and fire hazards.

The Fire Safety Adviser is to be notified by the Disabilities Co-ordinator in Student Services and by the HR Equality and Diversity Adviser, of students, staff and visitors who are unable to descend the stairs quickly or who cannot hear audible fire alarms, for the purpose of assisting in the preparation of personal emergency evacuation plans for these individuals.   Refuge points will be identified in each building and these will be equipped with telephone communication to 24 hour staffed security point in Richard Hoggart Building. Where fire evacuation lifts are installed, appropriate staff will be trained to assist in the operation of these lifts when it is safe to do so in an emergency.

Training and information on fire safety arrangements will be provided for staff and students by the Fire Safety Adviser with the Training Unit. Fire safety awareness is also included in induction information for new staff and students. Fire drills will be arranged annually by the Fire Safety Adviser, assisted by security staff, and by Accommodation staff in Halls of Residence. Records of fire drills are kept by the Head of Health and Safety.

Reporting and investigation of accidents

Accidents must be reported on a college accident report form (available to download from the Health and Safety website). The injured/affected person completes and signs Part One of accident form. If they are unable to do this, a representative (e.g. colleague) can do this for them.

If first aid or hospital treatment is given, the First Aider completes Part Two of the form. This part should also be completed when first aid is offered but refused by the injured person. The injured person's manager, supervisor or tutor investigates the causes of the accident and reports on actions taken to prevent a recurrence, in Part Three of the form. In serious or complex accidents, they will be assisted by health and safety staff. The completed and signed form is sent by the investigator to the Head of Health and Safety, together with any supporting documentation e.g. relevant risk assessments or Departmental rules.

The Head of Health and Safety will notify the enforcing authority and College Insurance Officer, as necessary. The Head of Health and Safety will collate data on all reports of injuries, work-related ill health and dangerous occurrences, for reports to the College Health and Safety Committee.

The Head of Health and Safety must be notified immediately if there is an accident which causes a major injury, work-related illness or dangerous occurrence. For definitions, see last page of the accident report form.

If a staff member or student suffers an accident while at work away from the College premises or overseas, an accident report form should be completed as soon as possible. Contractors injured while working on College premises should complete a College accident report form as well as their own employer's accident book or form.

Most health and safety reporting involves personal data. Its collection, retention and disclosure is governed by the College's Data Protection Policy. (In particular, disclosures of personal data to third parties without the consent of the Data Subject, or to organisations and individuals outside the , can only be made by the Data Protection Officer or one of the other College officers specified in the management framework)

First aid

Heads of Department should ensure that there are sufficient trained First Aiders and Emergency First Aiders to cover areas and activities within their department. When planning activities, including one-off events, organisers and supervisors should consider level of risk and how requirements for first aid will be met. Any special or additional first aid arrangements are to be recorded along with other more routine precautions on college risk assessment forms.

'Emergency First Aider' means someone who has attended a one-day first aid training course within the past three years and who is able to take charge in case of injury/illness, until emergency services arrive.

'First Aider' means someone who has successfully completed a three-day First Aid at Work course and holds a current first aid certificate. Requalification training (two days) is needed every three years to keep certificates up to date.

First aiders and Emergency first aiders should also attend annual skills refresh sessions to keep their knowledge and skills up to date between requalification training.

Hazardous substances

Hazardous substances include: chemicals labelled toxic, harmful, corrosive or irritant; substantial quantities of airborne dust; and biological agents. Plans for work involving these substances must consider risks to health and the environment. These risks can be eliminated or reduced by substituting a safer substance, using smaller amounts, making sure the area is ventilated, wearing protective clothing, and following suppliers' instructions for use. Always check the labels and manufacturers' datasheets before use. Significant risks and precautions must be recorded on college risk assessment forms. Before work starts, planners, organisers and supervisors must ensure that all involved are informed about the risks and precautions to be taken.

Storage arrangements for flammable or explosive substances, including gases, must be secure and protect from flames, sparks and heat. Larger amounts must be stored safely outside the building (see supplier advice).

Manual handling

When planning any activities involving manual handling, the risk of injury must be considered and precautions taken to eliminate or reduce the risk. Significant risks and precautions must be recorded on college risk assessment forms. Planners, organisers and supervisors must ensure that all involved are informed about the risks and precautions to be taken. Any trolleys, barrows, hoists or lifts etc provided to assist handling should be regularly inspected and maintained.

Staff and students must use manual handling equipment provided, follow safety instructions and report faulty equipment or other hazards.

Line mangers, in liaison with Human Resources Department and with occupational health advice, should ensure that new recruits and existing employees are capable of undertaking the manual handling operations required of them. Employees should inform their manager of any physical conditions, including injury or pregnancy that might reasonably be considered to affect their ability to undertake manual handling operations safely.

Display Screen Equipment Workstations

‘Display screen equipment workstaion’ includes computer screen, PC, Mac and laptop, pointer device, printer, telephone, desk, chair, and working environment (lighting, space, temperature and noise).

‘Display screen equipment users’ are Goldsmiths employees who: use display screen equipment regularly and continuously for more than one hour at a time; depend on this equipment to do their work; have to transfer information quickly to or from the screen; apply high levels of attention or concentration; and need to have received special training or skills to use the equipment.

On-line guidance and an interactive assessment checklist is available to staff using display screen equipment.  Staff suffering from a medical condition that may be related to computer use, can ask their line manager for a refferal to Occupational Health.  Line managers should contact their department business partnere in HR, who will arrange for a workstation assessment to be carried out by the Occupational Health Nurse Advisor.

Staff who are DSE users are entitled to eyesight tests and basic specticles for DSE use, at no charge to themselves.  A DSE user requesting an eyetest will be issued with a pre-paid voucher5 by the HR Department and asked to make an appointment with a convenient SpecSavers branch, where the voucher is exchanged for an eyetest, and basic specticles for DSE if needed.  DSE users are entitled to free eyetests at intervals recommended by the optician or if suffering from headaches or sight problems that may be related to DSE work.


Contractors working on Goldsmiths' premises are responsible for the health and safety of themselves, their employees and sub-contractors and for maintaining a safe working environment. By law, they must also co-operate with others working on site and follow safe methods of work.

Goldsmiths, as the client, also has responsibilities to appoint suitably competent contractors for the work; to provide information to contractors about hazards that could affect the work e.g. asbestos or fragile roofs; jointly to assess the risks and agree health and safety arrangements with the contractor; and to keep everyone including other building users informed of progress and in particular, health and safety related issues.

Contrtactors will be requested to provide appropriate method statements and risk assessments before work starts on campus. A representative of the Originating Department (that is, the Department appointing the contractor to do the work) and the contractor will jointly complete the Contractors Arrangements for Health and Safety form downloadable from the College website before work starts. The aim is to anticipate and minimise health and safety risks and disruption to normal activities in the work area.


Goldsmiths supports the College's academic and business objectives by creating an environment that provides welcoming, safe and attractive amenities and encourages all students, staff, visitors and members of the local community to benefit fully from the College's facilities.

The College seeks to develop an open and welcoming character, while recognising its responsibilities for providing a safe environment for all who work and study at Goldsmiths.