UCL Department of Geography


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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Study  /  Undergraduate  /  Current Students  /  Health and Safety

Health and Safety

General Policy

The Departmental Safety Officer is Eileen Cheng (Room B16 North-West Wing).  She is assisted in Bedford Way by Nick Mann.

In accordance with UCL policy the Department takes all reasonably practicable steps to promote the safety, health and welfare of all staff, students and members of the public on College premises.

The Head of Department is responsible for safety in connection with work done in the Department and in its name.  The Departmental Safety Officers are appointed to advise the Head of Department of the standards of safety in the Department and to indicate areas where action needs to be taken. The Department has a detailed policy statement which describes safety procedures for different parts of the building (e.g. laboratories) and lists the responsibilities of staff with respect to specific hazards (e.g. fire, accidents in the Department and on fieldwork).

The policy statement is available on the Department’s web site.

All work within the Department and in the field must have a risk assessment associated with it.  Members of the Department including students will, for certain aspects of work, be asked to read and sign these. In signing a risk assessment form you are agreeing to abide by the control measures set out within the document. Make sure you have read and fully understood the document before signing.

Fire Precautions

In the interest of safety all staff and students the Department of Geography are asked to follow this procedure.

When the fire alarm bells sound:

  1. Close all windows and doors.
  2. If it does not interfere with experiments in progress:
    (a)  stop all machinery;
    (b)  switch off electrical supplies to equipment; and
    (c)  turn off gas supplies and gas cylinders.
  3. DO NOT use the lifts
  4. Leave the premises by the nearest fire exit or staircase that is free from smoke.
  5. On leaving the premises at Bedford Way, assemble in WOBURN SQUARE BEYOND THE REAR      ACCESS. Do not stand in the roadway or obstruct exits. Staff and students in the North-West Wing should follow the same steps as those listed above in the event of a fire.  On leaving the premises assemble in the front quad. Do not obstruct the front entrance or stand too close to the building.

On each floor Fire Wardens have been appointed, their main duties are:­

  1. to ensure as far as possible, taking due regard of their own safety, that all personnel under their control leave the building speedily and safely;
  2. to report to the Lead Fire Evacuation Marshal at the assembly point when they leave the building.

Do not attempt to re-enter the buildings until you are instructed to do so.

Staff and students should, in their own interest, make themselves familiar with all fire exits, and should not rely on Fire Wardens being present.


At the beginning of each lecture course or when a lecture is held in a new area or room, staff should give the following information to students:-

  • details of the Fire Action Notices; this provides important information such as assembly point
  • the importance of fire doors and other basic fire-prevention measures; i.e that fire doors should not be wedged open and not to tamper with fire extinguishers e.g. whilst waiting to go into lectures
  • the importance of reporting to the assembly area;
  • not to use lifts when the alarm is sounding
  • the available exit routes and the operation of exit devices

A list of current Fire Wardens in the Geography Department is available online on the Geography website.

First Aid

Eileen Cheng (Room B16, NWW) is responsible for the First Aid facilities in the Department. These include:

  1. First Aid Boxes. The Department boxes are kept in the following locations:
    26 Bedford Way
    : LG13 (Oxenham Room) and G01 (Attendant’s Office in the Foyer).
    North-West Wing: Basement lab area and the reception foyer (with the attendant)
  2. Field Work First Aid Boxes. It is the duty of the Field Work course leaders to request First Aid kits from Eileen Cheng and to ensure that kits are fully stocked whilst on fieldwork.


Many staff hold a first aid certificate.  In the event of an accident, contact Eileen Cheng on ext. 30551 or Nick Mann on ext. 25537.

Accident reports must be filled in online using the RiskNet system. All accidents must be reported to the Departmental Safety Officer. In the event of an emergency, phone 222 (UCL emergency number).

Fieldwork Safety

All members of the Department whether working alone or in groups, in the countryside or in urban areas, must follow the fieldwork regulations as listed here.  Staff leading field classes are required to bring these regulations to the attention of students at the beginning of each field class, or before individual field assignments. It is especially important that academic staff ensure that students observe the provisions regarding personal safety.  Before undertaking fieldwork you will be required to complete a risk assessment.

Staff are instructed by the Department to refuse to allow badly equipped students on all or parts of their field courses as appropriate.

Whether in town or country:

  • All students and staff should ensure that routes, dates, times and activities to be carried out are notified in advance either to the member of staff in charge or to an appropriate Departmental officer or colleague.
  • Do not remain out after dark.
  • Always carry your UCL identity card with you.
  • Be aware of the location of the nearest point of help in case of emergency.  Ensure that at least one member of the group has a fully charged mobile phone.
  • Make sure you know where to rendezvous at the end of each assignment and do not be late.
  • If you experience a problem in the field, report it immediately to a member of staff to ensure that other students are not put at risk.
  • You must ensure that you are dressed appropriately for the type of fieldwork and the weather conditions

A comprehensive assessment of the risks must be carried out before leaving for field work and all staff and students taking part will be asked to read and sign the forms. Full information on assessing and minimising risk in fieldwork is contained on the departmental safety web pages.


Smoking is not permitted anywhere in Department Buildings or on the landings outside the main entrances.


UCL buildings are accessible using ID cards. Make sure you keep your student ID with you at all times to enter the Department and other buildings.

If you see anyone acting suspicious, please contact the Security Office on 020 7679 7111 extension 37111. The emergency number on an internal phone is 222.