Health & Safety Department


The audit programme is intended to examine the systems that are in place to effectively manage health and safety in University work areas.

Partnership audit programme

This programme is carried out in partnership with agencies external to the University who can bring their knowledge and experience from other sectors and from other higher education institutions. This is intended to promote best practice, using own knowledge to compare with other similar institutions, and then to make suitable recommendations based on this experience. It is intended to reach all areas of the University’s work activities.

Introduction to work area

The programme will consist of a detailed examination of the management system that is in place to effectively manage health and safety at School or equivalent level, and below.  Each audit involves an introduction to the work area, followed by a discussion, of around one hour, with the relevant personnel who have responsibilities for safety management in the work area (Head of School/Area, School Safety Adviser, Director of Professional Services, etc.). The Auditor bases these discussions around a standard question set to ensure consistency across all areas of the University.

Sampling tour

The audit visit then moves on to an examination of safety systems in practice, with the auditor being guided on a sampling tour of representative areas of the School/Area, to give them a picture of the School’s activities.  The Auditor is accompanied by a member of Health and Safety Department Staff throughout each visit.

Report and suggested remedial actions

Following the Health and Safety Management Audit, a report indicating how the work area is judged to be performing in will be produced by the auditor. This, together with guidance from the Health and Safety Department advising on how to implement any recommendations, if required, will be forwarded to each Head of School/work area. As the programme progresses the University Safety, Health and Wellbeing Committee will be updated with the information which has been collected.

This programme has now been in place for over twenty years in the University of Edinburgh and has played an important part in raising the profile of health and safety in work areas, improving safety culture, and improving health, safety and wellbeing standards within the University.

Full schedule of audits

Full schedule of audits

To Do / FAQs on preparing for the Health and Safety Audit

The aim of the audit is to ensure that all Colleges, Deaneries, Schools and departments within the University of Edinburgh are all conducting their health and safety systems in harmony with each other and the University of Edinburgh’s corporate Health & Safety department’s policy. Please find below a list of the documents and records that the auditor will review during a health and safety audit. The auditor is well acquainted with the content of the University of Edinburgh’s corporate Health and Safety department’s website and how health and safety works within the university as a whole. Therefore, during an area’s audit, the auditor will drill down to see how each work area uses the content of the website within its own health and safety system. Prior to your audit, the auditor will remotely monitor each work area’s website for relevant information. There is no need to send the auditor anything prior to the audit.

Audit Stage 1 – Document review and planning Stage1

To Do / FAQs on preparing for the Health and Safety Audit

Topic audits

We also regularly undertake topic audits, such as management of liquid nitrogen, which will be organised in a similar way as above. Currently there are no topic audits planned.

Inspections and surveys

Auditing is a management process to ensure the University has suitable systems in place to comply with health and safety regulations. This is entirely separate from local inspections and surveys which schools and department should arrange on a regular basis to check that local policies, processes etc. are adhered to. Template checklists are available for local areas to amend to suit their own areas.