The Health and Safety Group is a committee supported by the Union Health and Safety Coordinator and the Employability and HR Team. The group aims to provide a professional advisory service on health and safety matters to the management, staff and students of the Students' Union in order to build a safe, secure environment, which assists the Students' Union to meet its legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
On this page you can find a wide range of health, safety and security information and advice on many topics, mostly provided by the Health and Safety Group. If you need to know more please contact the Health and Safety Group or speak to your line manager.
Accidents occuring in Students' Union venues or during Union-led activities (both on and off campus) must be reported to the Students' Union within 5 working days.
Accidents on campus but not related to the Students' Union must be reported to the University Health and Safety Unit. If you are uncertain whether an incident should be reported to the Students' Union or the University, simply report the incident to the Students' Union.
The British Institute of Sports Coaches (BISC) code of ethics and conduct for sports coaches must be followed by all coaches employed by or providing services on behalf of Staffordshire University Students’ Union.
Coaches must ensure that all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure a safe working environment, which includes the responsibility that coaching activities should be kept in practice with the standards required by the National Governing Body. For example, in sports such as gymnastics the National Governing Body will require that all coaches adhere to certain safety standards when an individual is undertaking a particular aspect of the sport.
As with every Students’ Union and University staff member, coaches also have a duty to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm and abuse.
Coaches shall only practice in those elements of sport for which their training and competence is recognised by the appropriate National Governing Body.
The National Occupational Standards for Coaching, Teaching and Instructing along with the approved National Governing Body coaching awards provide the framework for establishing competence at the different levels of coaching practice.
Coaches must not smoke or drink while coaching. They must not do anything which may affect their competence to coach and which would compromise the safety of the individual performer or athlete, this may include the consumption of certain prescription medications.
The Staffordshire University Sports Development Team will maintain up to date records for all coaches, including the following information:
All building contractors must be approved by the Staffordshire University Campus Life Team and Health and Safety Unit and will comply with University guidelines and regulations when operating on campus. Contractors for the provision of other services must supply suitable copies of their risk assessment, method statement and insurances prior to starting work.
University guidance on contractors
HSE guidance on contractors
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health
Substances hazardous to health are present in many products used on a daily basis at work, for example bleach, cooking oil, paint, etc. Some examples of the effects of hazardous substances include:
Skin irritation, dermatitis or even skin cancer from frequent contact with oils
Asthma from sensitivity to substances contained in paints or adhesives
Being overcome by toxic fumes
Poisoning by drinking toxic liquids accidentally
Cancer from exposure to carcinogenic substances at work
Infection from bacteria and other micro-organisms
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) provide a legal framework to protect people against health risks from hazardous substances used at work. Hazardous substances that have been brought into the Union will normally include a warning label and information about safety precautions that should be taken when using the substance. The Safety Data Sheet for such products should be obtained from the supplier of the substance, the responsibility for which is that of the manager of the area in which the product will be used, and the guidance on the sheet should be followed by any staff member coming into contact with the substance.
Department Managers must identify the presence of substances covered by COSHH and due consideration must be given to the risks associated with a product during its procurement. Once identified, the risk associated with the use of the product must be assessed and any necessary precautions identified and implemented. The appropriate manager must monitor the implementation of any precautions and remove the product from use if necessary.
All chemicals must be kept in locked cupboards or rooms, away from public access. Consideration should be given to printer toner which in some cases may be classed as a hazardous substance if inhaled.
HSE guidance on COSHH
It is important that reports on all incidents of crime or suspect persons in buildings are made to the University Campus Control Room and to a Students’ Union manager as soon as possible. It should be understood that although Campus Life will take a report of crime from an aggrieved person, it is important that the person also reports the matter to the police. This is necessary for insurance purposes.
It is essential that enough information on the crime and suspect is passed to the University Campus Control Room Operator when reporting.
Location of incident
Brief description of incident
Description of offender
Time of incident
Names of persons involved
This will ensure that the most effective use can be made of the University security resources in manpower and CCTV.
If the incident was within one of the following spaces, the Students’ Union owned CCTV may have captured the incident and should be reviewed by the line manager and General Manager within 3 working days of the incident:
Students’ Union Offices or Ember Lounge (SISULU Building)
LRV, Verve or Leek Road Shop
College Road Shop, Squeezebox or College Road Shop
The University has public access Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) distributed around the campus. An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is a device which enables the general public to attempt to restart a heart after a cardiac arrest. They are designed to be simple to operate as the device has a computer programme which will read the heart rhythm and will only discharge (automatically) if it is correct to use a shock in that set of circumstances and as such training is not required in advance of their use.
Training guidance from the Resuscitation Council (UK)
Health and safety legislation should not prevent disabled people finding or staying in employment and should not be used as a false excuse to justify discriminating against disabled workers. The Union is committed to appropriately assessing the risks associated with any disability and where reasonably practical make the appropriate adjustments to accommodate the needs of the individual.
HSE guidance on disability awareness
Display Screen Equipment
Legislation covering the use of display screen equipment was introduced in 1993, namely the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. The aim of the Regulations is to ensure that employers and employees take appropriate action to control risks associated with the use of such equipment, the most familiar of which is the personal computer.
Reporting of ill health problems relating to use of DSE
It is very important that you report any signs of ill health connected with your work as promptly as possible so that action can be taken to prevent the effects becoming serious or permanent. Indicators of possible problems are:
Pins and needles or numbness in the hands or arms
Persistent aches and pain in the hands, arms or shoulders
Tired eyes or headaches
Focusing difficulties or over sensitivity to light.
Your Line Manager will undertake remedial action, including at least a review of your working practices and a re-assessment of your workstation.
HSE guidance on display screen equipment
University guidance on display screen equipment
Driving at Work
Using your own vehicle
Students’ Union staff and Student-Group Leaders may find it easiest when travelling on Union-related business, to use a personally owned vehicle for travel, as this is generally a convenient and easily accessed travel option. In most circumstances, the Students’ Union will cover their fuel costs at 24p per mile, or at a pre-agreed cost for regular journeys.
Before any driver can use their personally owned vehicle for Union-related travel, they must be fully registered with the Students’ Union. This includes staff members travelling between sites or locations, though does not apply to staff commuting from home to a consistent base of work.
How to register a Driver
To register as a driver with the Students’ Union a person must be able to:
Present a valid photocard driving licence or, for individuals who have resided in the UK for less than two years, a valid international driving licence. For holders of a UK driving licence, the individual must be willing to permit the Students’ Union access to their online counterpart licence via the DVLA online website.
Be able to present a copy of a valid insurance certificate for the vehicle, including the detail of insured drivers and the dates of cover.
Give permission for the number plate to be searched through a DVLA database to identify the MOT and Tax status of the vehicle.
Assuming that the driver meets all of the above conditions, then all they need to do is complete a Private Vehicle Registration Pack (which includes a Driver Registration Form). The form can only be signed by the driver who is registering.
I’m a driver and choosing to drive friends to an event, do I need to register?
No. This is a personal arrangement between you and your friends and so you do not need to register with the Students’ Union. However, the Students’ Union cannot reimburse your travel costs for personal journeys.
I’m a Students’ Union staff member travelling to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital campus, do I need to register?
Yes. When travelling on behalf of the Students’ Union to a location of work that is not your contracted base of work, you are driving as part of your employment. As such, we have a duty to ensure the driver and vehicle you travel with are legal, roadworthy and safe. Staff will not be permitted to claim fuel costs without this registration in place and should not travel before completing the registration.
I’ve agreed to drive on behalf of my group, so I’ll be carrying passengers that are not necessarily my friends. Do I need to register?
Yes. You have very kindly agreed to offer your driving skills and vehicle to support your colleagues but as this has been advertised to people outside your circle of friends, it’s now an official activity. You can claim travel expenses from the Students’ Union too.
In the event of an accident, the individual driver and insurance policy holder for the vehicle will hold full responsibility for informing their insurance of the incident and funding the payment of any excess applicable to their policy.
Hiring a Vehicle
We are able to hire vehicles through our rental partners. Students are able to drive vehicles bearing a weight of up to 3 tonnes. The vehicles we offer include passenger vehicles offering 2 to 12 seats, including the driver, and vans. Larger vehicles may be available but under driver legislation, only persons with a category D present on their licence are able to drive these. To drive a rental vehicle on behalf of the Students’ Union you must meet our eligibility criteria and be registered as a driver on our Insurance Policy. To register as an additional driver on the Students’ Union Insurance Policy an individual must fulfil of the following criteria:
Terms and Conditions
Be able to present a valid photocard driving licence or, for individuals who have resided in the UK for less than two years, a valid international driving licence. Please note that some international licences are not accepted by our insurer;
Be at least 18 years of age;
Have held a driving licence for a minimum of twelve months;
And must not have been declined insurance at any point.
Some driving convictions, accidents and medical conditions may impact the ability of our insurer to offer insurance and the excess applicable in the event of an accident. In the event of an accident occurring, insured drivers are personally responsible for the cost of the excess. Assuming that the driver meets all of the above conditions, then all they need to do is complete an Insurance Application Pack. The form can only be signed by the driver who is registering.
Drugs and Alcohol
Drug and/or alcohol misuse can cause serious health problems and drug or alcohol abusers can be a hazard to themselves and others in the workplace. The abuse of non-prescription drugs and/or alcohol whilst an employee is at work and on-duty is strictly prohibited.
An employee found to be consuming alcohol or taking non-prescription drugs whilst at work could face disciplinary action under the Union’s disciplinary procedures. Employees and volunteers should make themselves aware of the length of time that alcohol and/or drugs remain in a person’s blood stream after consumption, and ensure that they are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they come into work.
HSE Guidance on alcohol and drugs
Electricity can kill or severely injure people and cause damage to property. However, you can take simple precautions when working with or near electricity and electrical equipment to significantly reduce the risk of injury to you, your workers and others around you. The risk of serious injury from electrical accidents is greater than from most other types of accidents. Electric shock causes the majority of electrical accidents, but many others result in burns from arcing or fire. Shock from a voltage as low as 50 volts A.C. or 120 D.C. is potentially lethal.
When using electrical equipment, employees and volunteers must:
Comply with the manufacturer’s instructions
Take care not to overload circuits
Avoid the use of wall-mounted adapters because of the danger of damage to wall sockets
caused by the weight of a ‘tree’ of adapter(s) and plugs. If an adapter is required, a fused and switched strip adapter should be obtained;
Prevent trailing cables from becoming a hazard; they should be tucked away or lifted above walkways but, if a cable lying across a walkway is unavoidable, the trip hazard should be reduced by the use of a cable cover.
Take care to avoid obstructing any air grill or fan outlet
Switch off all equipment at the appliance itself and at the wall socket at the end of the working day (unless designed to be left on permanently).
All electrical equipment will be tested in line with the University’s PAT Testing Policy and procedures. Employees should also conduct a visual check of any electrical equipment that they are using. The check should be for damaged cables, sockets, wiring etc. For office equipment such as computers, faxes, etc. visual checks should be conducted weekly; for more hazardous equipment such as catering equipment the checks should be conducted daily.
HSE electrical safety guidance
HSE Portable Appliance Testing guidance
Socket overload calculator
University PAT policy
Emergency evacuation procedures are distributed throughout the Students’ Union building at every break-glass emergency point. Staff and visitors are required to familiarise themselves with the identified processes on these pages. The Union Building fire alarm will be tested weekly on a Monday morning.
Students’ Union Emergency Evacuation Policy
Staffordshire University Emergency Evacuation Policy
In order to ensure that any situation requiring the attendance of emergency services is properly managed and the correct information is passed on to Campus Life staff, all 999 calls must be followed by an Emergency Call to the Campus Control Room on 4444.
The primary purpose of fire safety procedures (as with fire safety legislation) is the protection of people. Protection of property will normally follow on from such procedures, but is of secondary importance.
A key aspect of fire safety is the completion of fire risk assessments. These are completed by the University Health and Safety Unit for buildings and are to be reviewed on an annual basis. If you require a fire risk assessment for an event you are running then you must contact the Students’ Union Health and Safety Group.
All Union buildings, offices and physical areas are covered by a fire alarm system which is maintained by the University Campus Control Team who conduct regular testing of all fire alarms on campus. Fire points are linked to a fire alarm and allow the manual activation of the fire alarm system in the event of a fire or suspected fire. Fire points must be maintained in working order, free of obstruction and clearly visible.
Fire exits must be clearly signed and should be free of obstruction at all times. Managers and Coordinators must ensure that all staff and students under their responsibility are aware of the nearest fire exits. Fire extinguishers are located in all buildings, as per the map in the current Health and Safety Manual. These are maintained by the University Health and Safety Unit. The Students’ Union will ensure that there are an appropriate number of staff within each area trained in the most up to date Fire Marshall procedures.
The Students’ Union recognises that good housekeeping and sensible fire precautions will reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring. Common causes of fires include electrical equipment that is faulty or misused, smoking materials, accumulation of combustible rubbish and carelessness. Everyone should be encouraged to bring hazards to the attention of their manager. The wedging open of fire doors is illegal and dangerous and must be avoided. Specialist devices can be purchased by the Union to prop doors open where required.
HSE guidance on fire safety
University guidance on fire safety
Students' Union Fire Safety Policy
Under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, the Union is required to ensure that there is adequate first aid provision on its premises. The regulations refer only to provision for employees, however the Union is committed to ensuring adequate provision for the large number of visitors to all areas of the Union.
Each building or area of the Union will contain at least one first aid box, placed in a clearly identified and accessible location. The manager responsible for the area in which a first aid box is located is responsible for periodically (at least quarterly) checking the contents of each first aid box.
The Students’ Union will ensure that an adequate number of staff are first aid trained in order to provide cover during normal working hours and is committed to ensuring that there is at least one first aider present in each area within normal working hours.
The Health and Safety Coordinator can advise on the appropriate number of first aiders for your activity. Where a Union first aider is not available (for example outside of core working hours) the University Campus Life team can help locate first aiders and are contactable on ext 4444.
All accidents and near misses, of whatever severity, must be reported, either by the injured person, his/her supervisor or the first aider, via the Students’ Union Accident Report Form.
HSE guidance on First Aid at work
Students’ Union First Aid Policy
University First Aid Policy
Students’ Union First Aider List
The Students’ Union is committed to providing onsite basic food hygiene awareness training to all staff and students who wish to undertake it.
The Students’ Union also recognises that, from time to time, student groups may want to arrange food sales as a part of fundraising activities and does not want to prevent such events from taking place. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides guidance on food sales for charitable causes which must be followed by all groups arranging food sales as part of their activities.
Food Standards Agency guidance on catering hygiene
Health and Safety legislation requires employees to inform their employer about anything related to work that has caused, or had the potential to cause, harm to them or others. The reporting and investigation procedure is in place so that accidents or work-related ill-health problems can be recorded and that any action required is put into place to prevent recurrence.
Accidents are defined as “unplanned and uncontrolled events that led to injury to persons, property damage or some other loss”. All accidents to employees, however minor, should be recorded on an Accident Report Form. This is a requirement under social security legislation. As a result of a workplace injury an employee may need to claim for benefits in the future, and the relevant checks will be made to confirm that the accident occurred at work.
Near misses are defined as “unplanned and uncontrolled events that could have led to injury to persons, property damage or some other loss”. This term does not include actual dangerous occurrences which are to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive. These should also be reported to the Health and Safety Coordinator on the Accident Report form. The investigation of near-misses is an important step in accident prevention.
Work-related ill-health is defined as “any illness, disability, or other physical problem which reduces, either temporarily or permanently, the functioning of an individual and which has been caused, in whole or part, by the working conditions of that individual.”
Printable Students’ Union Accident Report Form
Online Students’ Union Accident Report Form
There are areas within the Union where staff may be required to work in isolation. In the majority of cases this will be without significant risk (e.g. persons working alone in offices where appropriate safety precautions are in place). However, there will be occasions when this is not so.
Working alone can introduce or accentuate hazards (e.g. lack of assistance if needed, inadequate provision of first aid, sudden illness, violence from others, emergencies, failure of services and supplies, etc.).
Lone working is intended to cover all work proposed to be undertaken alone where the risk to the lone worker may be increased either by the work itself, or by the lack of on-hand support should something go wrong. Managers shall ensure that all lone working activities are formally identified and appropriate risk assessments undertaken, which identify the risk to lone workers and the control measures necessary to minimise risks, as far as reasonably practicable.
Manual handling includes lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, supporting, carrying and moving loads by hand or by bodily force and could result in work related musculoskeletal injuries.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 require that hazardous manual handling be avoided whenever it is reasonably practicable to do so. Where not possible, the regulations require a process of risk assessment and the introduction of measures to reduce the risk of injury to the lowest practicable level. In order to reduce the risk of injury from manual handling, line managers must identify manual handling operations that present a risk of injury and establish the best control measures to avoid injury. Managers shall also ensure that staff are not pressurised by supervisors or systems of work into undertaking operations (by weight and/or rate of work) that are beyond their safe capability and provide suitable information, training and supervision for all employees and volunteers engaged in manual handling tasks.
In order to reduce the risk of injury from manual handling, staff must use any mechanical aids that have been provided for their use and for which they have been trained; reporting any faults with mechanical aids to their manager.
Staff should also inform their manager if they are unable to undertake their normal manual handling duties because of injury, illness or any other condition, avoid undertaking any manual handling operation that they believe is beyond their capability.
University Manual Handling Guide
New and Expectant Mothers
Some workplace hazards can affect pregnancy at a very early stage or even before conception, so the Students’ Union considers the health of women of childbearing age from the outset. The employee however is responsible for notifying the Union of the pregnancy in order that the review risk assessment can be made.
When the Union is notified that an employee is pregnant the manager will review the risk assessment for the specific work activities involved and identify any changes that are necessary to protect the health of the prospective mother and unborn baby and identify any further actions are needed.
The Union will involve prospective mothers in the process and continue to review the assessment as the pregnancy progresses to see if any further adjustments are necessary. Examples of increased risk might involve:
Lifting or carrying heavy loads
Standing or sitting for long periods
Exposure to toxic substances
Long working hours
HSE guidance for new and expectant mothers
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (Noise Regulations 2005) require employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work. The regulations do not apply to low-level noise that is a nuisance but causes no risk of hearing damage. The Union’s activities are unlikely to put staff hearing at risk, with the possible exception of event activities from the sound generated by PA systems.
HSE guidance on noise safety
HSE noise risk flow chart
Personal Emergency Evacuation Planning
The aim of a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan PEEP is to provide staff who cannot get themselves out of a building unaided with the necessary information to be able to manage their escape to a place of safety and to give departments the necessary information so as to ensure that the correct level of assistance is always available.
All staff who may be in need of a PEEP should first discuss this with their line manager who will liaise with the Health and Safety Coordinator and HR to ensure that this is put in place as quickly as possible.
Personal Protective Equipment
The Union has duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at work. PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. PPE should only be used as a last resort after considering and implementing other controls.
HSE guidance on PPE
An integral part of Health and Safety management is conducting regular risk assessments, covering physical objects (e.g. buildings, sports equipment), people and tasks (e.g. trips, club training) and events. The aim of risk assessments is to identify hazards, compile an action plan and control measures to minimise the risk of these hazards occurring and identify training needs for staff. Risk assessments will be reviewed on at least an annual basis or more often if there are changes which will affect the risk assessment in any way, i.e. a change of venue for an activity. Responsibility for ensuring that all risk assessments are reviewed lies with the risk assessment assessor. In the case of student groups, the Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that all groups have up to date risk assessments for all of their activities. Risk assessments need to be carried out by an assessor for all workplaces and hazardous activities and services, and then signed off by the Health and Safety Group.
Complete an office risk assessment
HSE guidance on risk
University guidance on risk
The Union wishes to ensure that it maintains the highest possible standards to meet its social, moral and legal responsibilities in this area. The Union works in partnership with the University to refer all concerns on campus to the University Safeguarding Officer in relation to these matters; full details of the University policy can be found below.
University Safeguarding Policy
Slips and Trips
The Union is required under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone affected by their work including taking steps to control slip and trip risks.
Slip and trip accidents happen for a number of reasons, one or more of the following factors may play a part in any slip accident:
The majority of trips are caused by obstructions in walkways. The rest are caused by uneven surfaces. To prevent tripping accidents staff must consider:
Design and maintenance
HSE guidance on slips and trips
Staffordshire University Students’ Union recognises that some of its staff, customers and visitors will be smokers. However, the Union has an obligation to protect its staff, customers and visitors from the ill effects of passive smoking.
Under the Health Act 2006, all workplaces and substantially enclosed public areas in England are smoke free by law. In accordance with the Health Act 2006, and in line with the Staffordshire University Smoking Policy, smoking will be prohibited:
within Union premised, whether offices or student social space
At entrances to Union premises
Within vehicles which are owned, operated or leased by the Students’ Union
Smoking is permitted at a reasonable distance (at least 5m) away from the building to ensure that tobacco smoke does not enter into the building nor affect those attempting to access the building. The Union will ensure that “No Smoking” signs are displayed prominently in all areas except any which are designated as smoking areas.
Staff members who wish to take time out of the working day to smoke must ensure that the time they spend smoking is taken as a recognised break and is not detrimental to their working hours. Staff may consult the Union’s Flexible Working Policy regarding breaks and making up of lost work time, which should be done in agreement with their Line Manager.
NHS stop smoking details
Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure. It is not a disease, but if it is intense and goes on for some time, stress can lead to mental and physical ill health. One in five of the UK workforce says that stress is the single biggest barrier to improved productivity. For an organisation, stress amongst its employees can lead to low staff morale, high staff turnover, poor timekeeping, higher levels of sickness absence, reduced levels of customer service and lower levels of productivity. Tackling stress at work is therefore a priority for the Union.
The Union is committed to eliminating the adverse affects of stress amongst its employees and will:
Work with staff to identify pressures at work that could cause high and long-lasting levels of stress
Work with staff to identify strategies to reduce pressure at work
Monitor and review strategies to reduce pressure
Involve staff in identifying long-term strategies to reduce pressure at work
The first step in eliminating stress is to identify stress amongst staff. Managers in particular must look out for symptoms of stress amongst their staff. Symptoms may include:
Changes in a person’s mood or behaviour, such as deteriorating relationships with colleagues, irritability, indecisiveness, absenteeism or reduced performance
Increased consumption of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and/or possibly illegal drugs
Complaints about their health, for example frequent headaches
Increased sickness absence from work
Deterioration in timekeeping
Reduced quality of work
Increased number of complaints from customers
Staff have a responsibility to inform their manager if they are suffering from pressure at work and/or work-related stress. Managers must treat this information as confidential, although they may need to discuss strategies to overcome the pressure/stress with their manager or the Senior Management Team. Staffordshire University Students’ Union is committed to facilitating a healthy work-life balance for its staff. As such, the Union has introduced a flexible working policy further details of this can be found in the staff handbook. The Union will provide stress management training where appropriate.
HSE guidance on stress
The law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least:
The temperature of the Union’s indoor workplaces is centrally controlled by the University and requests to adjust heating falling outside of the above stated temperatures must be made through the Staffordshire University Campus Life Helpdesk.
HSE guidance on workplace temperature
Working at Height
Work at any height can cause serious injury. Working at height is defined as “work in any place, including a place at or below ground level, or obtaining access to or egress from such a place, while at work, except a staircase where, if suitable measures were not taken, a person could fall a distance likely to cause personal injury.”
This means that anyone undertaking any work where they could fall is working at height and therefore the risks this poses must be taken into consideration and properly controlled as far as is reasonably practicable. Working from a ladder should carry a risk assessment that demonstrates the hazard of being at height is of minimal risk and that it is not for extended periods of time. For work at height which is not simple low risk work, it is advisable managers seek external contractors or enclosed working at height platforms to reduce the risk.
HSE guidance on working at height