Skip to main content

General Information

Information and advice to employees

The University has a duty under the law to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, your health, safety and welfare at work.

The University must consult you or your safety representative on matters relating to your health and safety at work, including:

  • any change which may substantially affect your health and safety at work, eg in procedures, equipment or ways of working;
  • the University’s arrangements for getting competent people to help it satisfy health and safety laws;
  • the information you have to be given on the likely risks and dangers arising from your work, measures to reduce or get rid of these risks and what you should do if you have to deal with a risk or danger;
  • the planning of health and safety; and
  • the health and safety consequences of introducing new technology.

In general, the University’s duties include:

  • making the workplace safe and without risks to health;
  • ensuring plant and machinery are safe and that safe systems are set and followed;
  • ensuring articles and substances are moved, stored and used safely;
  • providing adequate welfare facilities;
  • giving you the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary for your health and safety.

In particular, the University must:

  • assess the risks to your health and safety;
  • make arrangements for implementing the health and safety measures identified as being necessary by the assessment;
  • record the significant findings of the risk assessment and the arrangements for health and safety measures;
  • draw up a health and safety policy statement, including the health and safety organisation and arrangements in force, and bring it to your attention;
  • appoint someone competent to assist with health and safety responsibilities, and consult you or your safety representative about this appointment;
  • co-operate on health and safety with other employees sharing the same workplace;
  • set up emergency procedures;
  • provide adequate first-aid facilities;
  • make sure that the workplace satisfies health, safety and welfare requirements, eg for ventilation, temperature, lighting, and sanitary, washing and rest facilities;
  • make sure that the work equipment is suitable for its intended use, so far as health and safety is concerned, and that it is properly maintained and used;
  • prevent or adequately control exposure to substances which may damage your health;
  • take precautions against danger from flammable or explosive hazards, electrical equipment, noise and radiation;
  • avoid hazardous manual handling operations, and where they cannot be avoided, reduce the risk of injury;
  • provide health surveillance as appropriate;
  • provide free any protective clothing or equipment, where the risks are not adequately controlled by other means;
  • ensure that appropriate safety signs are provided and maintained;
  • report certain injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences to the appropriate health and safety enforcing authority.

As an employee you have legal duties too. They include:

  • taking reasonable care for your own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by what you do or do not do;
  • co-operating with the University on health and safety;
  • correctly using work items provided by the University, including personal protective equipment, in accordance with training or instructions; and
  • not interfering with or misusing anything provided for your health, safety or welfare.

If you think there is a health and safety problem in your workplace you should first discuss it with you supervisor, line manager, Local Safety Advisor or member of the Local Safety Committee. You may also wish to discuss it with your safety representative, if there is one.  Information on Safety Representatives at Queen’s can be found on their website -

http://www.qub.ac.uk/safety-reps

You, the University and your safety representative can get information on health and safety in confidence by calling the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) on 028 9024 3249, or from their website http://www.hseni.gov.uk  A number of publications are freely available from HSENI at 83 Ladas Drive, Belfast BT6 9FR.

If you think you are being exposed to risks or that legal duties are not being carried out, and you have pointed this out without getting a satisfactory answer, you can contact the HSENI.  Health and safety inspectors can give advice on how to comply with the law.  They also have powers to enforce it.  HSENI’s Employment Medical Advisory Service can give advice on health at work. The University can provide the contact details.

You can obtain further information on health and safety related issues from this website or by telephoning 4613.