Health and safety policy

1. General statement of health and safety policy

The University Library considers the health and safety of its staff and its users to be of the utmost importance, and is committed to a continual improvement in standards of health and safety.

The policy of all the site libraries of the University Library is to provide and maintain safe and healthy working conditions, equipment and systems of work for all its users. To this end all activities are assessed and systems and procedures put into place and appropriate information is provided where necessary. Responsibility is also accepted for the health and safety of all who may be affected by the department's activities, including Visitors and Contractors.

The Library aims for continual improvement in the management and conduct of health and safety to ensure compliance with University Policy and legislation will be retained centrally and displayed on notice boards in all areas where staff are located.  Contractors and visitors will be provided with safety information in the form of a leaflet available from receiption.

The policy will be kept up to date to take account of changes in departmental activities. To ensure this, policies and operations will be reviewed continually by the Departmental Safety Committee (DSC). Staff will be notified of any changes and additions, and these will be confirmed in the Annual Health and Safety Report. In line with University policy, specific arrangements for health and safety in University Libraries are managed by the Departmental Safety Officers.

The policy and procedures are available to all library users.

Librarian's signature: M.L. Brown

2. Personal responsibilities and commitment

Ultimate responsibility for health and safety in University Libraries lies with the Librarian. The line of responsibility follows normal managerial lines in the department, as indicated below. Those responsible for work are responsible for its safe conduct.

Staff with devolved management responsibility are responsible for implementing University, and library policies within their area of responsibility.  Those responsible for work are responsible for its safe conduct.  They are expected to lead by example and in particular to ensure that adequate assessments of risks are undertaken, that the work activities they control are properly planned and resourced, and that the personnel involved are adequately instructed, trained and supervised.  To assist in this, they are required to make use of the assistance and advice available from specialist advisers, and themselves to attend training in health and safety matters.  They are expected to identify occupational health needs related to the activities under their control.  They must monitor that those they supervise are working in accordance with risk assessments and are using necessary control measures.  Should an accident or other incident occur to staff or students under their control, they should investigate the causes, take necessary remedial action, and issue appropriate reports to their line manager and to the Health and Safety Office. *

It is vital that individuals recognise and acknowledge their own health and safety responsibilities. Health and safety is an integral part of University activity and is enshrined in law.

To assist the Librarian in discharging his responsibility for health and safety,  the following health and safety duties have been delegated:

Health and Safety duties
Duty Person Responsible
Health and Safety training DSO
Accident reporting and investigation DSO
Risk assessments All managers
Site libraries Head of library or designated deputy
Organising planned inspections DSO
Providing first aid DSO *
Nominated first aiders First aiders *
Nominated fire marshalls All staff *
Electrical inspection and testing R & D *
Estates and buildings co-ordination R & D *
Purchasing Admin assistant, Development & Planning

3. The organisation for carrying out the policy

How the libraries formulate, govern and manage their policies within the University is outlined below. 

3a Governance


The Librarian for the six site libraries of the University Library is responsible for ensuring that the Library Policy is implemented, and reviewed and updated to reflect changes and additions.
They must ensure that all members of staff and users are aware of the policy and the actions contained therein.
A report and action plan, written to guidance notes produced by the Safety Office, must be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor through the Head of Professional Services each year.
The Librarian appoints a Departmental Safety Officer (DSO) at Hartley Library with responsibility for day-to-day health and safety matters at that site. At Avenue Campus, Winchester School of Art (WSA), National Oceanographic Library (NOL) and Health Sciences Library (HSL) the site librarian or their appointed deputy is responsible for day-to-day health and safety matters. The DSO at Hartley is responsible for the production of the 'Annual Libraries Health and Safety report', which is sent to the Vice-Chancellor.

3b Policy Formulation

Departmental Safety Committee

The Library Departmental Safety Committee (DSC) is chaired by the Librarian and attended by all library Departmental Safety Officers, representatives from all staff groups and the Area Safety Adviser (ASA).
Formal list of membership.

This Committee discusses safety issues, receives reports and endorses both the Safety Policy and the Annual Reports. It advises on the preparation and revision of papers relating to health and safety and training in safety procedures. The Committee also monitors the provision of health and safety communications, publicity and the supply of 'first aiders'. *

(Minutes of the Departmental Safety Committee are displayed for all staff on the Library server) 

DSC reports to the Library Staff Meeting, sets up working groups for discussion on single issues and actions ASA where appropriate. Via the Annual Report, it can action the main University Safety and Occupational Health Group.

3c Managerial responsibilities

All heads of sections and managers are expected to undergo appropriate training in health and safety issues, particularly with regard to the staff they manage.

Additionally, all Heads of Schools and Managers must receive appropriate training in the health and safety aspects of their duties. This applies particularly in relation to risk assessments and inspections of the workplace. Those who work with display screen equipment and who carry out manual handling tasks should receive basic training in the health and safety aspects of such work and attend re-training within three years.

For a flow-chart detailing the managerial responsibilities in the Libraries see Appendix 1.

All staff and users have a responsibility to:

  • Read any information on safety that is provided on the web, by paper copy or on notice boards
  • Ensure they never attempt to operate unfamiliar equipment, or undertake tasks which may be unsafe.
  • Know the procedure to adopt in the event of a fire and familiarise themselves with the fire exits.
  • Report anything hazardous to a member of library staff
  • Ensure all accidents and incidents are reported to a member of library staff.
  • Take care of their own health and safety as well as others who may be affected by their work.
  • All members of the library have a responsibility to co-operate with their colleagues to achieve a healthy and safe workplace, and to take reasonable care of themselves and others. They are required to work in accordance with this policy, and site specific policies, in accordance with the assessments made of activities and the procedures or control measures.

3d Support and Advisory Services

Departmental Safety Officer

Departmental Safety Officer (DSO) is appointed in response to a job description by the Librarian. The DSO is appointed primarily to co-ordinate safety related activities and to facilitate their effective and efficient implementation. DSO must liaise with both the Librarian and the Area Safety Officer (ASA).

A full job description is available in Appendix 2 [under review]

University Health & Safety Office

The library, via its DSOs, uses the University Health and Safety Office * to advise and assist in all matters of safety, including fire equipment checks and additional supplies. DSOs use their ASA for advice on all issues of safety, for reporting accidents and incidents and for training and retraining of staff.

4. Auditing and Monitoring

Audits are conducted by the University Health & Safety Office to review performance
of all areas of the University, including the libraries, as part of the University's Strategic
Performance Review (SPR) programme. It is the responsibility of the library, through
the librarian and DSO, to respond to and act on the comments and suggestions made by SPR.

Monitoring is carried out by the Libraries' own internal inspection programme.

Risk assessments, procedures and guidelines are produced at local level.

Appendix 1: flow chart of levels of managerial responsibility



Departmental Safety Officer


Admin/Sec Group Deputy Librarian Head of Faculty Services


Heads of Services


Managerial Services


Library Support Staff and Users

Appendix 2: Job description Departmental Safety Officer (Hartley Library)

 (word) [under review]

Individual arrangements at the National Oceanographic Library, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.