Project health and safety

As part of your project planning you will need to consider whether the implementation of your project could significantly increase or decrease the risk of:

  • staff, students or others being harmed
  • breaches of health and safety or fire safety legislation
  • the University’s reputation being damaged if a health and safety incident occurred.

Your Business Case should show that you have identified potential health and safety risks, and that your implementation plan and costings take account of the resources required to address the risk. For example, you may need resources for additional training, safety related equipment (and its ongoing maintenance) or you may need to devote time or get assistance in setting out your expectations to thirds parties or developing new procedures or processes. If your project will improve health and safety, demonstrating this using a risk assessment process will support your business case.


If the health and safety of employees could be affected by the project, you will need to consult the relevant employees in good time. This is a legal requirement. You can either do this directly or through the University’s Union appointed safety representatives. For further information on consultation please read the University guidance on consulting on health and safety or contact Workplace Wellbeing team).

Planning for health and safety

Think about:

  • how your proposals will affect staff, students or others
  • the impact the proposals could have on the physical environment
  • what could go wrong and how?

The information below will help you identify potential areas of risk and signposts to further guidance. You can also use the health and safety checklist (.docx).  Then you need to consider how you will manage the risk.

  • Plan: Identify what the health and safety impacts of your project are. Consult with relevant stakeholders. Identify the steps you need to take to manage additional risk.
  • Do: Assess the risks, in consultation with employees who are affected. Put in place physical controls, agreements, procedures and training to control the risk.
  • Check: Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of what you have put into place. If you are using a 3rd party such as a contractor, set and monitor health and safety performance measures to ensure they deliver on health and safety.
  • Act: Take action to address any concerns identified through monitoring.

Please contact the Health and Safety Advisory Service (01206 872944, email or in good time if you need help. You will also find guidance to help you on the University’s Staff Directory.

Examples of potential health and safety impacts


Working conditions

Will your proposals lead to changes in working conditions? For example:

  • will people need to be relocated, or will their hours of work change?
  • will people require training in new processes?
  • could your proposals adversely affect those with disabilities or specific needs?

Significant change to working conditions can be stressful. It is important that those affected are consulted and given the opportunity to air their concerns before.

Where employees are affected, it is recommended that you discuss your proposals with your People and Culture link advisor, who can advise on managing the change and consultation processes.

Increased numbers

Will your proposals lead to an increase in staff or student numbers?

  • Have you considered how the increase in numbers be accommodated?
  • Is there sufficient work/study space available?
  • Could the proposals affect support resources?

Impact on other teams

Could your proposals affect the work of other departments (e.g. staff involved with cleaning, portering, maintenance or security)?

You will need to discuss the potential impact with the manager responsible, and determine any additional resources they may need to support the proposal.


Are you proposing to contract other agencies to deliver work for you or the setting up of a partnership arrangement?

When contracting out work the University retains client responsibilities for health and safety. The University may also retain a high level of reputational risk. It may be necessary to carry out checks to ensure the agency has appropriate health and safety standards in place. You may also need to monitor the contract and set performance standards to ensure they continue to meet our health and safety requirements.

For both contractor and partnership arrangements you need to be clear on what the health and safety requirements are and who is responsible for meeting them. Responsibilities need to be formally set out and agreed by the parties involved.

Work placements

Are you proposing the placing of staff or students in other organisations?

When placing staff in another workplace the University retains responsibility for their health and safety, so must work with the other employer to ensure the employee’s health and safety.

When placing students with another employer or University reasonable checks will be necessary to ensure they are not placed in an environment where there are significant risks to their health and safety. Refer to the University’s guidance on student placements.

Children and young people

Will there be activities involving young people or children?

Young people and children can be at greater risk of harm because they may not recognise potential sources of danger or may behave in ways that put them at greater risk. There may also be aspects of the University’s physical environment that could put children at greater risk (e.g. falling or trapping risks for young children). They may also lack the physical, psychological or emotional capability or maturity to cope with certain demands.

Location and physical environment

Fire safety 

Will your proposals lead to changes in the structural layout of work/study/leisure space, increase room occupancy or introduce sources of ignition?

These changes may increase fire risk and so you must discuss your proposals with one of the Fire Safety Manager (

Work environment

Will you be proposing changes to the work environment, workstations or receptions or will you need additional space for storage or additional equipment?

Changes to work environments can affect workstation comfort, lighting and thermal conditions, an ergonomic assessment may be needed. Planning additional space requirements will also minimise risk of accidents due to overcrowding, manual handling or working at height.

Vehicle/pedestrian routes

Could your proposal affect pedestrian/vehicle movement?

Changes to vehicle/pedestrian routes or changes that lead to an increase in vehicle movement could increase risk of collisions. You may need to put additional protective measures in place to protect pedestrians or cyclists.

Overseas work/study

Will your proposal involve work or study overseas?

You will need to research the proposed overseas location. The University’s guidance on overseas travel health and safety will assist you. If it is intended that employees will be based overseas, it will be necessary to ensure their workplace is safe and as a minimum meets standards for health and safety and fire safety for the county where they will be located.

Equipment, substances and agents

  • Will you be introducing new equipment, or technology?
  • Will hazardous or flammable substances be used or will hazardous by-products be produced by processes. Will the proposal involve use of physical agents that can cause harm?
  • Are you considering new research areas that could introduce hazards of this kind?

You will need to ensure that equipment is fit for purpose. You will also need to consider the suitability of its location, ongoing maintenance and training needs. See guidance on buying work equipment.

If new technology will change the way people work, you will need to consider how this impacts on display screen equipment/computer workstation safety.

If the proposed changes increase risks through hazardous substances or agents you will need to ensure the risks are assessed and mitigated. For example a ventilation system may be needed. If you are considering projects involving radiation sources or biological agents, please discuss your proposals with the relevant specialist safety adviser.


Will your proposals change the way people work? Could it impact on the safety of others in the University?

If the proposed changes increase risks through hazardous work activities (eg. manual handling, lone working) you will need to ensure the risks are assessed and mitigated. The University’s health and safety guidance on activities may assist you with your risk assessment.

Will the changes impact on supervision levels?

If others are affected, you should consult the appropriate department/section. Consider how people may behave if they are not directly supervised. Aim to plan out risk rather than rely on people behaving safely.

Arrow symbol
Contact us
Strategic Projects Office