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Personal Safety

Personal Safety


  • No-one is safe in a laboratory that contains a careless worker
  • If your colleagues are careless - explain the dangers to them
  • If this doesn’t help - have no hesitation in consulting the Safety Officer

It is the responsibility of every employee to act in a manner which is safe for themselves and those around them, including the wider environment which might be affected by their action or inaction.

It is a legal requirement that all accidents, no matter how minor, are reported and recorded. In the university this is achieved through the online reporting system AssessNET, the report will then be sent to the Department Safety Officer (DSO), Barney Leeke, who will decide on the next course of action and complete any additional records. The complete report will then go to the Health & Safety Division and be discussed (anonymously) at Departmental Safety Committee meetings each term.

In addition it is helpful to report incidents and near misses, as what misses you today may strike someone else tomorrow.

Working out of Hours (WooH)

For the purpose of safety, working hours are deemed to be 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-1pm on Saturdays. If you work outside of these hours you must sign one of the books at the front or rear doors of the building to record your presence. If you work between 10pm-6am then you must complete a WooH Risk Assessment and hand a copy to the DSO. Nobody may work on or with anything hazardous out of hours. Working alone significantly increases the risk so ensure you do not stay long after the last person has left.

Computer Working

Working for long periods of time at a computer can result in ill health due to poor posture, take regular and frequent breaks and manage your work so that you don’t have to sit at your terminal all day. The Health & Safety Executive has provided a booklet outlining the risks and how to minimise these and more information is available from the Health & Safety Division website. If you feel you are suffering from the effects of VDU use then do speak to the DSO or Occupational Health for advice.


The department is accessible twenty-four hours a day via swipe card, this does not mean you should be working at all hours (see above), but it does mean that, especially during winter, you might be leaving the department in the dark. Take precautions at night as, though Cambridge is generally quite safe, some attacks do occur. Let someone know you are leaving and when you are expected home, call security if you see anyone suspicious around the department and do not let strangers in, even if they sound like they have a plausible reason.


The university provides many training courses related to health and safety, usually at no cost to the department. To see what courses are available and to make a booking go to their website.