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Health and Safety: staffing and responsibilities

Who to contact

Depending on your query you should contact the appropriate person from those listed below:

College Health and Safety Officer (CHSO)

The College Health and Safety Officer (also the College Fire Officer), reports to the Secretary and Clerk to the Governors for general safety matters throughout Birkbeck. The interim CHSO is Keith Ryan. The CHSO is assisted in his role by:

College Radiation Protection Adviser (currently also Keith Ryan)
College Biological Safety Adviser (Dr Sanjib Bhakta)
College Laser Safety Officer (Dr Jim Pitts)
College GM Safety Adviser (Dr Salvador Tomas)
College Chemical Hazards Officer (Dr Salvador Tomas)

The role of the CHSO and the advisory officers are set out in the College Statement of Safety Policy.

College Safety Committees

The membership and terms of reference of the College Health and Safety Committee, the GM Safety sub-Committee and the Radiation Protection sub-committee are set out on the College Committees web page

Management of Health and Safety within the department

Head of Department

Professor Gabriel Waksman is responsible to the Executive Dean of the School of Science for all matters of health and safety within the Department of Biological Sciences. These responsibilities are set out in the College Statement of Safety Policy and include appointing departmental safety coordinators, DSE assessors and fire marshals and also arranging for safety to be a standing agenda item at department meetings.

Area Safety Coordinators

  • Area safety coordinators are in general charge of safety within areas of their schools or departments. They advise their heads of school or department on safety matters and act as liaison officers in the exchange of information between their schools/departments etc and the Health and Safety Officer. The responsibilities of area safety coordinators are set out in the College Statement of Safety Policy.

    Area safety coordinators in Biological Sciences are:

    Chemistry (6th floor) Dr Salvador Tomas
    Biology and Microbiology (3rd floor)
    Mrs Marie Maugueret-Minerve, ISMB Microbiology Research Laboratories
    Crystallography (basement and ground floor extension)
    Dr Jim Pitts

Laboratory Managers and Academic Line Managers

Radiation Protection Supervisor

  • Each department where ionising radiation is used has a Radiation Protection Supervisor (RPS) appointed by the College to oversee the safe use of ionising radiation within their department. The Departmental RPS is Dr Jim Pitts.

Departmental GM Safety Officers

  • The duties of Departmental GM Safety Officers are laid down by the HSE and are set out in the College’s Code of Practice for work in GM Laboratories. The duties include ensuring that local rules are drawn up and followed for the safety of users of personnel. The Department has one GM Safety Officer:
    Dr Salvador Tomas

    Work with certain types of biological organisms can require licensing or other permissions. If you are in any doubt, then please contact Dr Sanjib Bhakta in the first instance. Type of biological materials that should be disclosed prior to the commencement of any work include:

    • human or animal tissues and bodily fluids
    • pathogens of humans, livestock, agricultural crops, and other indigenous wildlife species: whether plant or animal.
    Such materials may include:
    • viruses
    • bacteria
    • fungi
    • toxins

    This list is not meant to be exhaustive (e.g prions do not come under these headings). Please be certain to contact Jane Nicklin in the first instance for non-GM matters, and Salvador Tomas for GM matters (e.g. recombinant materials of any kind).

    Please also refer to the GM project and GM worker amendments page.

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessors

  • Each area of the College has one or more a DSE assessors appointed by the Head of the school/department/area and trained by the College Health and Safety Officer. DSE assessors ensure that the legal requirement for carrying out risk assessment of DSE workstations is implemented within their areas. The DSE assessor in Biological Sciences is Dave Houldershaw.

Zone Fire Marshals

  • Zone Fire Marshals and their deputies are appointed by heads of department and trained by the Collge Health and Safety Officer. They have duties within defined areas of the College that include monitoring fire safety compliance within their zone and sweeping the zone if the fire alarm sounds to ensure everyone has left. The College Health and Safety Officer maintains a list of all zone fire marshals within Biological Sciences.

Responsibilities of individual staff, students and visitors

All employees have a legal responsibility to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their acts and/or omissions and to co-operate with their employer with regard to health and safety matters i.e. the arrangements for health and safety set out in this document and its associated codes of practice; all students and visitors are placed under the same obligations when on Birkbeck’s premises.