Health and Safety

Anonymous Member Feedback 

We are grateful to our members for their raising of issues through the anonymous feedback channels. These have helped us address concerns around a variety of areas in our meetings and in negotiations. There were several similar generic H&S queries within the anonymous feedback which we thought would be useful to address in this email to all UCU members. If you would like more information, please email us


Covid related items  

The University advice on covid is that if you do feel unwell with symptoms of respiratory illness, stay at home for at least five days. Carry on working if you can, but if not then you can report sickness in the normal way. There is no longer a separate survey for staff to complete for coronavirus. Students are still expected to report using the online survey. This should be reiterated throughout the term. Ask your Head of School to send out this message at the start of term and you can reinforce this message yourselves in your lectures, tutorials and lab classes.  

University covid related advice can be found here.  

Vulnerable workers: the government removed additional controls in place for vulnerable workers back in April 2022. However, if you are concerned you should raise these issues with your line manager, to see what additional controls can be put in place (such as working from home when possible, wearing a face covering, doing teaching in well-ventilated rooms or opening windows and doors to assist with this). If you are still concerned you could refer yourself or ask your line manager to refer you to Occupational Health ( They can assess your needs and create an individual report specific to your needs. You could also speak with your own doctors who may be able to offer a medical note to assist.  


Building issues 

You should raise building issues on the Estate helpdesk or by ringing 0161 275 2424. If not addressed, raise with your line manager or local safety advisor or building manager. If these still are not addressed, you should ask for these issues to be raised at your local Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) committee so it can be discussed, and actions can be tracked in a timely manner. You can also raise these concerns with your Head of School. If the building issues are causing work related ill-health (apart from work-related stress) you can fill out an accident/incident/ill health notification form and send to  

All offices spaces should be inspected, ideally yearly, you can do this using the Safety Services office self-inspection form. This should be sent to your line manager and local safety advisor; if issues raised are not addressed in a timely manner, raise as above. Once you have followed the above process and have not had an effective response, you can raise these concerns with the union who could come and inspect the office.  

It is up to offices occupants to clean their own work area: cleaners’ clean corridors and toilets. If the area is particularly dirty and requires a one off deep clean this can be requested through House Services. Each building has their own House Services team; a note with local contacts is usually on display in the toilets of the building. If you cannot find this, contact email who should be able to direct you to your local House Services team. If you are experiencing ill-health conditions from building conditions you should report this using the accident notification form mentioned above.  


IT Services  

If you have PC issues you should raise these with IT; it is very hard to ring IT and for someone to answer so it is better to self-report using the support portal. Requests for new PC’s can also be done this way.  


Work-related stress  

You cannot report work-related stress via the Safety Services accident reporting system, which is frustrating. There is no information in the stress arrangements (which are many years out of date) on how to do this. UMUCU has been raising concerns about the lack of a clear reporting system and outdated stress arrangements for over 18 months now, but it has still not been addressed.  

Initially, you should raise your concerns with your line manager; it would also be useful to inform your Head of School and local safety advisor and request these concerns are minuted in your local HSW committee. To address your individual work-related stress issues, you should refer yourself or ask your line manager to refer you to occupational health, Occupational Health (; they can assess your needs and create an individual report specific to your needs. This should include an individual stress-related risk assessment to be performed by your line manager and a work plan.  You could also speak with your own doctors who may be able to offer a medical note to assist.  


Display Screen Equipment (DSE)  

You should complete the DSE self-assessment if you use a computer for more than one hour a day. 

The University has arrangements in place for inspecting workstations to assess any potential health and safety risks to users. A DSE user is defined as an employee who habitually uses display screen equipment as a significant part of their normal work, typically defined as more than one hour per day. 

All DSE users are required to complete a DSE self-assessment either: 

Online forms are automatically sent to your DSE assessor. Paper based forms will need to be sent to your local DSE assessor or local safety advisor.   

Where issues exist following completion of the assessment, the DSE Assessor will arrange to meet with individuals, where a full DSE assessment may be necessary. If problems are still occurring after a full DSE assessment, then the DSE assessor or user should refer the individual/themselves to Occupational Health ( 

Guidance on how to set up your workstation correctly can be found on this link from Safety Services. 

DSE assessments should occur at least every 2 years. However, if there is a change in circumstances like moving office, new equipment is provided or the staff member experiences musculoskeletal pain, a new DSE self-assessment should be completed. 

If working from home, a DSE self-assessment should also take place for this scenario. If the home assessment identifies issues, you should make as many reasonable adjustments as you can to your home set-up, and please raise any concerns you have with your line manager. If these aren’t addressed, please contact your local safety advisor.  

You are entitled to small equipment purchases to assist with working from home; contact your local administration or your local safety advisor for more details. We know that colleagues don’t always have the right equipment to do this. The University allows each member of staff to purchase small equipment items up to the value of £50, like footrests, keyboards, a mouse etc. You must gain approval from the School/Department before making any purchases. 


Free eye tests 

Free eyesight tests are available during term time only from the Teaching Clinic in University Vision Services based in Carys Bannister Building Tel. 0161 306 3860.  

If an eyesight test is requested by a DSE user, you are required to have a sight test at a registered optician of your choice (or use University vision service). In order to claim back the cost of eyesight test, staff need to obtain a receipt from their optician and claim this back through the University’s expenses system. 

If the optician advises that spectacles are required specifically for DSE use, staff should get this in writing and claim this back through the expenses system (subject to a maximum amount; currently £85). Line managers will need to see evidence from the optician before approving the claim through expenses.   

Please note: At the present time the regulations state that bifocal and varifocal spectacles are not normally recommended for DSE work. 


Prescription safety glasses 

If prescription safety glasses are required for regular work in a laboratory or workshop, the Department must provide these free of charge. 

Prescription safety glasses can be obtained from the vision centre in Carys Bannister Building, number 88 on the campus map. Either call in at reception or ring 0161 306 3860 to book an appointment. These take approximately 2 hours as the examination and fitting; is used for teaching purposes. 

At your appointment you will receive an eye test followed by a fitting for your safety spectacles and a form for payment of your prescription safety glasses. Bring or scan and send this form to your local safety advisor, they will arrange payment free of charge. The vison centre will then contact you once your prescription glasses are ready. 


Who is your local safety advisor? 

Each area at the University has their own. If you are unsure email your University Safety Co-ordinator or Faculty and Directorate Safety Contact to find out.  

Safety Services contacts – Contact us (The University of Manchester) 

Faculty and Directorate Safety Contacts – Faculty & Directorate Safety Contacts (The University of Manchester) 


Got a H&S query?