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Department of Engineering Health & Safety


Health, Safety and Welfare Policy Statement of Intent 

The Department of Engineering is committed to achieving the highest standards of education and research. With this comes the responsibility to uphold the health, safety and welfare of staff (permanent and temporary), students, visitors and others who may be affected by our activities. 

The Department will take all reasonable steps necessary to provide a healthy and safe environment for work and study. Compliance with all statutory obligations is the minimum standard. To fulfil this commitment, we will implement the health, safety and welfare (HSW) policies of the University of Cambridge and supplement them with local departmental policies and guidance as necessary. 

As the Head of Department (HoD), I have overall responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of all staff, students and others using, or working on behalf of, the Department. I am supported in this role by the Heads of Division, academic supervisors, line managers, the Departmental Safety Officer (DSO), the safety specialist officers (Biological, Laser and Radiation) and safety role holders among others. 

The Department expects the full commitment of its staff, students, visitors and others for putting this policy into practice. 

The formulation and review of Departmental health and safety policy, guidance and the monitoring of health and safety requirements, implementation and performance is the responsibility of the Departmental Safety Committee. 


Professor Colm Durkan 

Head of Department 

April 2024 


A printable version of this Policy Statement of Intent is available here

This policy supplements the University of Cambridge Health and Safety Policy


Organisation for Health, Safety and Welfare 

Academic Staff, including Principal Investigators, and Staff with Teaching Responsibilities 

Academic staff, including Principal Investigators and staff with teaching responsibilities, are responsible for assessing, taking account of, and addressing the risks associated with research proposals and teaching activities in line with university health and safety policies and requirements.  

Principal Investigators must ensure that risks are identified and assessed during the planning of research proposals; that the cost of implementing risk control measures are taken account of in the funding received; and that risks are kept under review throughout the project. They must also address in bid submissions whether there are health and safety issues that may impact on the University or Department, such that the University and Head of Department have the necessary information to make an informed decision when accepting funding. 

Academics who specify new practical work for undergraduate laboratory sessions are responsible for the risk assessment of the practical work and for the information and identification of key messages that need to be communicated to students.  

Academic staff, Principal Investigators and staff with teaching responsibilities must work cooperatively to ensure that all parties understand their respective responsibilities, and that they can reasonably fulfil those responsibilities. 


All Department of Engineering staff, students and those with visitor status have a responsibility to: 

  • take reasonable care for their own health, safety and welfare, and that of others who may be affected by their acts and omissions. 

  • use equipment, chemicals and protective devices safely. 

  • be aware of legal requirements and follow University and Departmental procedures relevant to their work. 

  • co-operate with their supervisors or line management to ensure a healthy and safe workplace. 

  • bring to the immediate attention of supervisors, line managers or the DSO any safety matters of concern. 

  • report all accidents, incidents and near misses, including damage to property or the environment and workplace hazards, to their manager/supervisor and the DSO as soon as practicable after an event. 

  • only undertake tasks for which appropriate authorisation and/or training has been given to carry out their research or other work safely. 


Department of Engineering supervisors and line managers have a responsibility to ensure that: 

  • they have the skills and knowledge to meet their health and safety responsibilities. 

  • they set a good personal example by co-operating with Departmental, University and legal requirements, and ensuring their staff and students do the same. 

  • training, information, instruction and supervision is provided to ensure that work undertaken complies with all legal requirements, and University or Departmental health and safety procedures. 

  • the safety of the individual is, at all times, paramount and no one in managerial or supervisory position is to permit any unsafe practice, operation or experiment. 

  • all hazards/risks in the workplace are identified and controlled. 

  • they consider and manage risks to people under their jurisdiction who work away from the Department (in the UK or abroad). 

  • suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) is supplied to staff, students and visitors if the hazard has not been controlled adequately by other means. 


Arrangements for Health and Safety 

The Departmental arrangements (procedures and systems) for health and safety management are detailed on the intranet safety pages:

Department members are required to read and follow the guidance relevant to their work and obtain advice from the Safety Team or topic specialists in case of issues. Please notify the DSO of any improvements needed to the published arrangements. 

Members of the Department, visitors and other stakeholders will be notified of significant changes to this policy and to the guidance. 

  • All incidents involving personal injury, material loss, equipment damage or unsafe acts will be reported to and investigated by line management and /or the Safety Office. 

  • Comprehensive Fire and Emergency Procedures are in place throughout the Department.  All areas of the Department will have designated Fire Wardens who will ensure the rapid and complete evacuation of the building in any emergency and monitor the condition of local escape routes and fire equipment.  The fire alarm systems within Departmental buildings are regularly tested and an evacuation drill is undertaken annually. 

  • The Department will provide an adequate number of suitably qualified First Aiders and sufficient first aid equipment and supplies, taking into account where specific hazards exist. 

  • Line management will ensure that all new staff (temporary, permanent, part or full-time) and those with visitor status undergo a Safety Induction Process that includes an explanation of the Departmental Health and Safety Policy, specific instructions such as fire precautions and evacuation procedures, the location of first aid facilities, and all safety arrangements that are relevant to the work of the new employee/visitor. 

  • The Department understands that specific safety training may be required for new and existing employees, particularly after a change in role or introduction of new procedures. 

  • Regular tours and inspections will be undertaken by the Safety Office, Local Safety Coordinators and other interested parties to monitor health and safety performance within the Department.  Relevant findings will be reported to the Safety Committee and the Head of Department. 

Safety Office Contact Details



Inglis Building

Trumpington Street

Cambridge CB2 1PZ


Gary Steele

Department Safety Officer (DSO)

Departmental Fire Safety Manager (DFSM)

Tel: 01223 (3)32740


Steve Wickens

Department Safety Coordinator

Tel: 01223 (7)61455