Statement of Health and Safety Organisation

As the Head of the Mathematical Institute, I am responsible for ensuring compliance with University Health and Safety Policy in the Mathematical Institute. My responsibilities are set out in the Annexe and I have delegated some of these responsibilities to others as set out below.


Every employee with a supervisory role is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of staff, students, and other persons within their area of responsibility; and of anyone else (e.g. contractors and other visitors) who might be affected by their work activities.

As it is my duty to ensure adherence to the University's Health and Safety Policy, I instruct every employee with a supervisory role and the Departmental Safety Officer to report to me any breach of the Policy.

All those with executive responsibility should notify me and the Departmental Safety Officer (Dr Keith Gillow) of any planned, new or newly identified significant hazards in their areas and also of those control measures needed to avert any risks involved.

Throughout the Mathematical Institute, the Head of Administration (Dr Jocasta Gardner) is responsible for making arrangements for visitors. In the case of contractors visiting the building, OUES FM provide a managed service to oversee such works and thus take responsibility for confirming the necessary risk assessments have been made and that the department is made aware of such activities as necessary to fullfill departmental obligations and responsibilities.

The Department occupies the majority of the space in the Andrew Wiles Building. Some non-maths areas of the building support and provide ROQ or university site wide OUES, OUSS and IT Services facilities and services. OUES and OUSS also occupy a few offices within/off maths areas of the building.

AreaResponsibility of
Teaching, meeting, library & office spaces, circulation spaces and terraces, WCs & kitchenettes, observatory, internal cycle store, maths stores and service roomsMaths
Catering kitchen, FM offices & store rooms, basement car park, energy centre, workshop, plant rooms, roof areasOUES
IT Services ROQ MDX roomIT Services & OUES
Security Control roomOUES
DLO Workshops and storesOUES

The departmental and OUES staff work closely together and provide relevant cover for short periods of absence to ensure safety matters are always covered. OUES provide some FM services to the Department which include advising on safety and actioning changes and works in maths areas for the Department including oversight of such contractors visiting the building.


I have appointed those listed below to advise me on matters of health and safety within the Department and building. If any member of the Department does not take their advice, they should inform me. If they discover danger that requires immediate action, they are authorised to take the necessary action and inform me subsequently.

I have appointed Dr Keith Gillow as Departmental Safety Officer. Aileen Peverell is the ROQ Senior FM Manager and the safety officer appointed by OUES for relevant areas. They are responsible for

  • advising me on the measures needed to carry out the work of the Department without risks to health and safety (including matters relating to fire precautions, fire prevention and electrical safety in compliance with University Health and Safety Policy)
  • co-ordinating any safety advice given in the Department by specialist advisors and the University Safety Officer
  • monitoring health and safety within the Department and reporting any breaches of the Health and Safety Policy to me
  • informing me and the Director of the University Safety Office if any significant new hazards are to be introduced to the Department

Departmental Health & Safety Committee

In addition to the above arrangements I have set up a Departmental Health & Safety Committee. The departmental members of the committee are the Head of the Mathematical Institute, Head of Administration, DSO, Director of IT & Physical Resources,  Observatory Director,  ECR Representative, Student Representative, and HR Officer. The OUES members of the committee are the Facilities & Services Manager (Maths) and ROQ Senior FM Manager.

The committee serves as a forum for celebrating successes, learning from things that go wrong, raising concerns about safety, and setting clear departmental policies around safety compliance (e.g. what will happen if an individual breaches safety rules). In particular the committee will review building accident statistics and trends, examine inspection reports, consider relevant reports or complaints, review safe working procedures, provide guidance and and facilitate safety training, and plan safety inspections and publicity. 

Committee business includes the impact of research on physical and mental health where work becomes particularly demanding, e.g. intensive hours during a major experiment, working overseas in a country where protected characteristics are not protected. More routine health issues are managed by HR. None of the above removes the responsibility of all individuals for the safety of themselves and those around them, or the responsibilities of the employer.

Copies of the agendas, papers and minutes are forwarded to the MPLS Safety Committee, which will share them with the University Safety Office. The nature of the committee is advisory and its deliberations do not remove the day-to-day responsibility for health and safety from the Head of Department [see University Policy Statement S2/01].

The committee meets at least annual, typically in Hilary term. There is also a building operations group which contains many of the members of this committee and meets quarterly to ensure close coordination of various building matters including safety.


First Aid: see first aid page.

Accident and incident reporting: In the event an accident does occur this should be recorded in the online incident reporting and investigation system (IRIS) and the Departmental Safety Officer (@email) informed.

Display Screen Equipment Assessments: see DSE page. Members of the IT Team perform the DSEA.


University Policy Statement S2/04 sets out the arrangements for dealing with trade unions and their appointed safety representatives. Employees who wish to consult their safety representatives should contact the senior safety representative of the appropriate trade union.


All Departmental employees, students and all other persons entering onto the Department's premises or who are involved in departmental activities are responsible for exercising care in relation to themselves and others who may be affected by their actions. Those in immediate charge of visitors and contractors should ensure that the visitors adhere to the requirements of University Health and Safety Policy.

Individuals must

a) Make sure that their work is carried out in the approved way and in accordance with University Safety Policy.

b) Protect themselves and others by properly using any safety equipment or devices.

c) Protect themselves by properly wearing any personal protective equipment that is required.

d) Obey all instructions emanating from the Head of Department in respect of health and safety.

e) Warn me and the Departmental Safety Officer of any significant new hazards to be introduced or newly identified significant risks found in present procedures.

f) Ensure that their visitors, including contractors, have a named contact with the Department with whom to liaise (in general the named academic host of a visitor is expected to be responsible).

g) Attend training where managers identify it as necessary for health and safety.

h) Register and attend for health surveillance with the Occupational Health Service when required by University Safety Policy.

i) Report all fires, incidents and accidents immediately to the Departmental Safety Officer [Dr K. A. Gillow].

j) Familiarise themselves with the location of fire fighting equipment, alarm points and escape routes, and with the associated fire alarm and evacuation procedures.

Individuals should

a) Report any conditions, or defects in equipment or procedures, that they believe might present a risk to their health and safety (or that of others) so that suitable remedial action can be taken.

b) Offer any advice and suggestions that they think may improve health and safety.

c) Note that University Policy Statements are available on the web at

Note the university has a specific policy on the safety of young people and children who come on to university premises. Whilst the building is a particularly low risk environment, even for such individuals, further relevant safety information relating to children in the department is available.

Where an individual has a disability or issue that may mean they are unable to respond to an alarm and evacuate the building without assistance then a personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) will be created. Whilst the department will aim to identify such people, individuals should inform the department if they expect to need such a plan and assistance.


The following areas/activities have been identified as significant/specific risks in this building:

  • Plant rooms and energy centre: no one is allowed access to these spaces without prior authorisation from appropriate FM or OUES staff.
  • Sedum 'green' roof and other roof areas: no one is allowed access to these spaces without prior authorisation from appropriate FM or OUES staff. There is a specific risk assessment for the roof areas (initially produced by OUES FM).
  • Car lifts: in the event of a car lift failure whilst a vehicle is in the lift keep the vehicle engine switched off.
  • Teaching & meeting rooms, and communal spaces: whilst these rooms are in general low risk, at times the people in them may be less familiar with building safety so extra awareness may be appropriate (also see the events entry below). Furthermore it is important to adhere to the defined capacities and approved layouts of the room (the default room layouts being fixed in the meeting and lecture theatre spaces and only rarely changed, and only by FM staff, in the other teaching and communal spaces).
  • Events: There is general risk assessment info for events in the building which builds upon the   building risk assessment (initially produced by OUES FM) which is also suitable for typical events held in the building. Where an event is not typical a specific risk assessment/review is required.
  • Observatory: within the building is a small observatory for conducting mathematical experiments. These might involve table top experiments such as drying gels, dynamics of small glass and steel beads, fluids, robots etc. Toxic/dangerous materials are generally not involved. On occasion small amounts of flamable liquid may be used (e.g. 500ml bottle of ethanol). In such cases these are stored in a flammable liquid storage cupboard and there is an associated COSHH assessment.  Low power class 1 commodity lasers may be used in some experiments. Access to the observatory is strictly controlled and only granted after appropriate safety instruction from the observatory leaders and safety coordinator Dominic Vella and Alain Goriely. User are required to attend a weekly meeting to discuss and coordinate usage, pick up on any issues and ensure the space remains tidy. Regular failure to attend these meetings results in the withdrawal of access. Where lone working occurs the individual notifies others as appropriate and leaves the door ajar if possible.
  • Lone working: The building is accessible to members 24x7. Whilst a very low risk office based environment there is inevitably a higher risk when working outside of core hours. Awareness of the risks of lone working is discussed as part of the safety induction to the department.
  • Fire: The risk of fire is low as covered in the fire risk assessment .

A first response plan and emergency call out list are held by the department, OUSS and OUES.

Prof. J. Sparks

Head of Department, Mathematical Institute

January 2024


It is my responsibility, as the Head of the Mathematical Institute, directly, or through written delegation

1) To ensure adherence to the University's Health and Safety Policy and in particular to ensure that sufficient resources are made available for this.

2) To plan, organize, control, monitor and review the arrangements for health and safety including the arrangements for students, contractors and other visitors,, and to strive for continuous improvements in performance.

3) To carry out general and specific risk assessments as required by health and safety legislation and University Safety Policy.

4) To ensure that all work procedures under my control are, as far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.

5) To ensure that training and instruction have been given in all relevant procedures including emergency procedures.

6) To keep records of all cases of ill health, accidents, hazardous incidents and fires, to report them to the University Safety Office, and to ensure any serious or potentially serious accidents, incidents or fires are reported without delay.

7) To inform the University Safety Office before any significant hazards are introduced or when significant hazards are newly identified.

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