Workplace Health and Safety Committee

Workplace Health and Safety Committee reports to University Executive Board.

Terms of reference

Objectives and outcomes

The purpose of the Workplace Health and Safety Committee (WHSC) is to act primarily as an advisory committee, with specific recommendatory and decision-making powers in relation to Health and Safety Policy, procedures and guidance. The Committee reports to the University Executive Board (UEB), focusing on Workplace Health, and Safety of staff and students across the University, and is a forum for University-wide workplace health and safety issues across its academic faculties, schools, departments, centres and institutions, professional services departments and subsidiary companies.

The aim of the WHSC is to:

  1. Promote the continuous development and improvement in workplace health and safety across all our work activities and premises of the university for the benefit of staff, students, visitors and contractors

  2. Provide assurance to UEB that consultation on workplace health and safety arrangements in place are effective

  3. Provide a forum for tripartite consultation with staff, trade union representatives. To meet the requirements of the Safety Committees and Safety Representatives Regulations (1977) and the Health and Safety (consultation with Employees) Regulations (1996). 

Remit

The remit of the Committee under the following core, agenda-aligned headings, is:

(a) Strategic Development, Planning, and Performance Monitoring to recommend to UEB any resourcing needs: items for consideration and/or decision

  1. To align workplace health and safety to the University Strategy 2023
  2. To oversee and enable consultation of the following:
    • To monitor Workplace Health and safety performance throughout the University, to ensure legislative compliance and performance against health and safety (K)PIs and review investigations of significant failures and associated remedial actions
    • To be consulted on and monitoring appropriate KPIs
    • To be consulted on the provision of workplace health, and safety training and communications and evaluation of their effectiveness
    • To engage with the development of institution-wide health & safety initiatives
    • To have a role in subcommittees/ task and finish groups and their effectiveness
    • Appropriate consultation and engagement with staff (including Trade Unions) and students on Health and Safety matters.
    • Engendering a culture of shared interest
    • To share best practice across the university and to celebrate success on Health and Safety across the University.

(b) Policy and Regulatory Matters

  1. To be consulted on the revision and implementation of the University’s Health and Safety and Policy Statement and Arrangements as part of its recommendation for UEB approval
  2. To recommend the University-wide Health and Safety Policy to UEB and onward to Council for approval
  3. To approve health and safety policy within its remit , and delegate authority to the Director of Health and Safety to approve Health and Safety procedures/guidelines/codes of practice
  4. To recommend for UEB endorsement an Annual report by the Director of Health and Safety that will provide an opinion, and assurance to UEB, Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) and Council that the University is satisfying its legal, regulatory and consultative responsibilities, and adequacy of the health and safety management arrangements
  5. To receive items of significance from such specialist groups and sector associations that have a role in Health and Safety
  6. To take into consideration equality, diversity and inclusion implications when implementing Health and Safety Policy and UK Regulatory requirements.

Authority

The WHSC is principally a consultative body, with specific recommendatory and decision-making powers. It may also make recommendations and/or refer items upwards to UEB and other University committees for advice or decision as appropriate. To consider any matters within the Committee’s remit which are referred by other Committees and to discuss any health and safety issue that is placed on the agenda, via the Chair, by any member of the University community.

WHSC has no direct budgetary control, or financial decision-making authority.

Contact us

Chair: Dr Joss Ivory

For agenda and papers: Philip Evans
Senior Governance and Assurance Officer

philip.evans@york.ac.uk
+44 (0)1904 324031

Reporting to University Executive Board (UEB)

WHSC is a management sub-committee/group of UEB and reports directly to it: 

  • Annually via the Health and Safety Policy and Annual Assurance report that outlines position and progress in all areas of health and safety that fall under the University’s Health and Safety statutory and regulatory obligations, along with an update on progress relating to the University’s Health and Safety Strategy
  • Quarterly via standardised performance and progress reports, although in effect this is three times per year when the Annual Assurance report replaces the relevant quarterly report
  • Ad hoc where urgent matters arise through relevant reporting mechanisms. 

Reporting to the committee 

Workplace Health and Safety Committee will establish sub-committees/ task and finish groups, as appropriate, to progress specific activities related to areas of its remit.

There are a number of sub-groups/committees of HSWC representing all areas of Workplace Health and Safety which provide regular reports to the committee, in the form of updates drawn from minutes of their recent meetings and are also empowered to submit other reports and/or proposals for endorsement or approval, which may arise in the course of its business. 

These sub-groups are as follows: 

  • Biological Agents Safety Committee
  • Ionising Radiation Safety Group 
  • Laser Safety Group
  • Faculty H&S committees 

Four additional sub-groups

  • Estate related H&S statutory compliance 
  • Fire Safety
  • Occupational /Workplace Health and Wellbeing
  • Health and Safety Development and Training

The above groups/committees are empowered to establish their own sub-committees or boards on a standing or task-and-finish basis.

Meeting frequency

Workplace Health and Safety Committee will meet a minimum of three times per year.

Meeting modes

Meetings to be held either in-person, online or via a hybrid format, subject to agreement by members.

Membership

The Committee’s membership comprises the membership categories: ex officio and nominated representatives of academic faculties and professional support services and the student voice.

Other membership considerations

Membership will be periodically reviewed by the Committee itself on behalf of UEB, through approval by the Committee Chair.

Membership is otherwise coterminous with the individual’s appointment term. 

Gender balance and wider EDI considerations should be factored into the Committee’s reflection on its own size and composition. The membership will be:

  • Representative of the whole University, all staff categories across the community
  • Representatives who fulfil the Health and Safety Consultative Committee function under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • To embrace the principles of Tripartism (employers, employees and trade unions) 
  • To enable consensus and cooperation on Health and Safety.

Academic members are drawn from across the three academic faculties and between them have sufficient experience to be able to speak to health and safety management from a range of levels and experiences. In consultation with the Chair, members may authorise an appropriate colleague to represent them if they are unable to attend a meeting. Individual colleagues may be invited to attend in order to advise and inform on select items as and when the need arises.

Quorum

50% of members, or 50%+ 1 member where the number of members is not even.

Ex Officio members

  • Dr. Joss Ivory, Chief Operating Officer (Chair)
  • Koran Baldwin, Fire Safety Officer
  • Harvey Dowdy, Director of Technology, Estates and Facilities
  • Gary Malcolm, Occupational Health Advisor
  • Director of Human Resources or a member of the HR senior management team
    • Susan Kane, Assistant Director of HR (Head of People and Organisation Development (POD))
  • Monica Kanwar, Director of Health and Safety Services
  • Deans of Faculty
  • Chair of Biological Agents Safety Committee invited for individual item
    • Prof. Luke Alphey (alternative: David Nelson (University Biological Safety Officer))
  • Chair of Ionising Radiation Safety Group invited for individual item
    • Martyn Godwin 
  • Chair of Laser Safety Group invited for individual item
    • Martyn Godwin 

Students' Unions' representatives

  • Representative from YUSU
    • Geoff Ward, YUSU Health & Safety Development Co-ordinator
  • Representative from GSA
    • Mardan Nasier, President, GSA

One Head of School/Department/Professional Support from each Faculty Executive Board (one from each of the three faculties)

  • Academic member or Director of Heads of Operations from the Faculty Arts and Humanities (term 
    of office 3 years)
    • Wayne Keeting (Director of HoFOs - Arts & Humanities)
  • Academic member of staff from the Faculty of Sciences (term of office 3 years)
    • Dr James Fox, Biology, (until 31 July 2024)
  • Academic member of staff from the Faculty of Social Sciences (term of office 3 years)
    • Jamie Holiday (Director of HoFOs - Arts & Humanities)
  • Research / Ethics membership (term of office 3 years)
    • TBC
  • Technical Staff Representative (term of office 3 years)
    • Richard Hagan (Archaeology)
  • Student and Academic Services (term of office 3 years)
    • Tom Banham
  • DSports (term of office 3 years)
    • TBC

One trade union representative

  • Trade Union representative for UNISON (term of office 3 years)
    • Chris Fielding, Student and Academic Services (until 31 July 2025)
  • Trade Union representative for UNITE (term of office 3 years)  
    • Computer Science (until 31 July 2025)
  • Trade Union representative for UCU (term of office 3 years)
    • , Computer Science (until 31 July 2025)

In attendance

  • Representatives from the Health and Safety Services team as required
  • Geoff Brown, Head of Campus Safety
  • Philip Evans, Senior Governance and Assurance Officer (Secretary)
  • Ben Flowerdew, IPC - Teaching and Subject Area Lead for Science and Engineering
  • Nic Streatfield, Director of Student Life and Wellbeing
  • Richard Walker, DTEF - Assistant Director - Strategic Programmes
  • Roger Ward, Director of Estates and Capital Development
  • Lisa Woods, Director of Accommodation, Campus and Commercial Services

Meeting dates

2023-24

  • Thursday 28 September 2023, 10.00am - 12.00pm
  • Monday 26 February 2024, 2.30pm - 4.30pm
  • Tuesday 4 June 2024, 2.00pm - 4.00pm

2024-25

  • Tuesday 17 September 2024, 10.00am - 12.00pm
  • Wednesday 6 November 2024, 10.00am - 12.00pm
  • Tuesday 18 February 2025, 2.00pm - 4.00pm
  • Tuesday 3 June 2025, 2.00pm - 4.00pm 

Parent committee and related links

Contact us

Chair: Dr Joss Ivory

For agenda and papers: Philip Evans
Senior Governance and Assurance Officer

philip.evans@york.ac.uk
+44 (0)1904 324031