Safety monitors


Safety monitors

The provision of a safe working environment for everyone within the Department of Biology relies on effective Health and Safety management. As part of the ongoing process of improving safety standards, the Department of Biology has appointed Safety monitors (PDF , 134kb) for specific areas throughout the Department. These individuals take responsibility for monitoring safety standards within their own designated area, as well as taking action in emergency situations such as a fire or accident.

The role is not intended occupy a significant amount of time each week or be prescriptive. Fulfilment of responsibilities will be largely up to the individual to manage and integrate within their main activities. Guidance, training and advice will be provided where required. 

The role

The role of Safety Monitors

It is recognised that the specific role will vary depending on the designated area within the Department. The role can be divided into the following categories:

Area Managers (e.g. TF Laboratory Manager or Workshop Manager)

These individuals already have ultimate responsibility for managing and monitoring safety standards within their own specific area.  For these individuals there will be little or no change to their current responsibilities.

Monitors assisting Area Managers / Academic Supervisors

Some areas within the Department of Biology require appointed individuals to take day to day responsibility for checking that high standards of safety are maintained in designated areas. These areas include laboratory facilities used by an individual group, or shared laboratory facilities (including the traditional 'research corridor' that may be used for some laboratory activities).

Safety Monitors will assist Area Managers / Academic Supervisors in the maintenance of a safe working environment for all individuals in the area they cover. However, it is emphasised that the Area Managers / Academic Supervisors will continue to accept full responsibility for all aspects of safety management in their area.


Reporting structure

Safety monitors will report to:



Monitoring safety standards and provisions does not require specialist knowledge and experience in health and safety. What is required is the ability to recognise and record unsafe situations and practices in their working environment. This will be aided by a checklist of items to consider when monitoring. Individuals will be given appropriate guidance on what the role entails and how to go about it. Specific training will be provided where identified and required.


Safety Monitor responsibilities

A number of generic responsibilities for Safety Monitors will exist for all areas within the Department. However, some differences will arise if the appointed person manages the area and therefore has ultimate responsibility for that area.

The following sets out the general responsibilities for appointed Safety Monitors:

  • Routine monitoring of all aspects of safety using the Safety Monitor checklist (MS Word , 24kb)for guidance. Monitoring should include, where relevant:
    • availability and condition of safety equipment and emergency kits, including for example:
      • safety glasses / safety gloves
      • spillage kits
    • checking that the maintenance of equipment e.g. safety cabinets and fume hoods is up to date
    • presence and suitability of safety signs and notices
    • presence and condition of fire and first aid provisions
    • presence and suitability of waste disposal provisions
    • presence and suitability of safety procedures and codes of practice
    • basic electrical safety
    A record of all issues arising from the routine monitoring should be kept.
  • Completion of the Pre-Inspection Checklist (Safety Monitors) (MS Word , 24kb) before the annual departmental general safety inspection of the area covered by the Safety Monitor
  • Liaise with the Departmental Inspection Team
  • Alert the Area Manager / Academic Supervisor of any safety issues relevant to that area, who will take responsibility for:
    • deciding what action to be taken
    • deciding who is responsible for the action
    • setting a deadline for completion of the action
  • Review and follow up action list to check that issues have been resolved- inform the Departmental Safety Advisor (DSA) (David Nelson) for assistance if necessary
  • Report any specific safety issues requiring the attention of the DSA
  • Report any general safety or laboratory issues to Infrastructure Team
  • Under exceptional circumstances, the authority to request the immediate cessation of any unsafe practice which may come to light
  • Assist Infrastructure Team co-ordinate fume cupboard maintenance where appropriate
  • Assist Infrastructure Team in ensuring general notices and signs are updated and maintained
  • Respond to equipment alarms and report these to Infrastructure Team
  • Contact a trained first aider and / or emergency services in the event of an accident if required
  • Any other duty as deemed appropriate by the DSA (safety issues) or Infrastructure Team (general laboratory or non-laboratory issues)
  • Should attend the departmental Safety Committee meeting