The Health and Safety Departments' main objective is "well-being", in the broadest sense of the word.
Transpose legislation into practical guidelines; give advice based on risk analyses; make tours with the occupational physician, the environment coordinator and the biosafety coordinator; supervise facilities that use ionising radiation; give advice about the design of buildings and laboratories; make recommendations concerning ergonomics; etc. This list reflects just a handful of the tasks carried out by employees from the Health and Safety Department.
We also map out emergency procedures and safety regulations, investigate occupational accidents and incidents (and near misses), train evacuation managers, ensure that our colleagues can help themselves by training them to use small fire extinguishers and to give first aid, and much more. We hope that nothing ever does go wrong but our aim is to be properly prepared.
In addition, we also focus on in-service training for personnel. Our relaxed Lunch&Learn meetings provide opportunities to learn about a whole range of useful safety issues.
A healthy mind in a healthy body
The Health and Safety Department also organises the periodical calls for medical checks and the annual flu vaccination sessions. The medical aspect is taken care of by the external Health and Safety Department, which has allocated two GPs to our university.
Of course, psychosocial issues also need our attention. This includes stress at work, conflicts in the workplace, inappropriate behaviour... anything which creates an obstacle to a good working atmosphere. Here, we also rely on the expertise of advisors from the external Health and Safety Department. Eleven confidential mediators have been appointed at the university to support the prevention advisor.
How the department works
Every campus has a campus advisor who monitors activities and is a point of contact for all the departments and offices, and for individual employees themselves.
Each campus's day-to-day activities are discussed by the campus working groups. Every month, representatives from the faculties and from Central Services come together to discuss any events which could influence the health and safety of employees, and formulate proposals for improvement.
The Prevention and Protection at Work committee is the official consulting body responsible for reporting on these activities on a monthly basis.
Occupational safety and well-being are everyone's responsibility!
If we all stick to the rules about responsible working methods, the chances are that the number of incidents can be reduced significantly. Prevention is better than cure!