Health and Safety policy

The National Portrait Gallery is committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all staff, volunteers, interns, freelancers, partners, visitors and members of the public (note1). The Board of Trustees and the Director of the National Portrait Gallery recognise that legal requirements for safety set only a minimum standard and are committed to achieving best practice in safety wherever possible.

The Safety Policy is made available to all staff, including freelancers, volunteers and interns [1]. This policy has been approved by the Board of Trustees, signed by the Chairman and by the Director as the person with executive responsibility for health and safety. A copy of this policy is given to every new employee.

As recommended by the Health and Safety Executive, this policy is formed of three sections:

  • Part one is a summary statement of intent, which outlines the Gallery’s commitment to provide a successful health and safety management system.
  • Part two outlines the organisational arrangements required to implement the policy.
  • Part three outlines the detailed arrangements made by the Gallery to manage health and safety.

In addition there are detailed supporting documents, which can also be found on the All Staff ‘O’ drive at O:\Policies and Strategies\HealthAndSafety

This policy is reviewed annually at the Health and Safety Committee and was last reviewed by Trustees in July 2014.

Part 1: Safety Policy statement

‘Health, Safety and Welfare’ is of prime importance to the National Portrait Gallery and has equal status with other primary business objectives.  The National Portrait Gallery will seek to conduct its operations in such a way as to avoid harm to its employees, partners, visitors, members of the public and all others who may be affected directly or indirectly by its activities. It promotes the health and well being of employees through the Gallery occupational health service and in-house initiatives.

The National Portrait Gallery is committed to obtaining the highest practicable achievable standards of occupational health and safety in line with the Health and Safety Executives document ‘Managing for health and safety’ (HSG65 2013); and to comply with The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and all relevant statutory provisions.  In doing so, it is our aim to provide a safe workplace, in which risks are managed, so far as is reasonably practicable, and injuries are prevented.

The National Portrait Gallery objectives are to:
  • establish and maintain effective systems for managing health and safety to ensure that all risks are properly assessed and controlled.
  • provide and maintain effective emergency response procedures.

Note 1: Hereafter, the term Employee will be used to denote all staff, including freelancers, volunteers and interns, whether paid or unpaid and the term Partners to include contractors.

  • establish and maintain clear written standards and procedures to control the risk to health and safety and to ensure that these are adhered to.
  • ensure that all Gallery and contractor employees are competent.  Each employee will be given such information, supervision, instruction and training as is necessary to enable them to perform their tasks safely.
  • ensure that all Contractors apply health and safety standards fully compatible with our own.
  • maintain an effective system of consultation with Gallery employees and their representatives to enable issues of health and safety to be resolved.
  • ensure that all accidents are properly investigated and appropriate corrective actions are taken.
  • maintain an effective system for monitoring and reviewing health and safety.
  • appoint competent people to assist us in meeting our statutory duties including, where appropriate, specialists from outside the organisation.

Safety is everyone's responsibility and consequently forms an integral part of the duties of all employees.

It is essential that every employee works actively with us to enable all statutory duties to be complied with. The successful implementation of this policy requires total commitment from every member of the Gallery, regardless of position or of length of service.  Each individual has a legal obligation to take reasonable care for his or her own health and safety, and for the safety of other people who may be affected by his or her acts or omissions.

The organisation and outline arrangements for health and safety are set out in full in the policy document.  The policy is available in hard copy or on the Gallery’s computer network for all employees to access.

The Gallery’s Safety Policy will be regularly monitored to ensure that the objectives are achieved. It will be reviewed and, if necessary, revised in the light of legislative or organisational changes.

Sandy Nairne CBE
Director, National Portrait Gallery (July 2014)

Sir Wiliam Proby Bt CBE DL
Chairman, Board of Trustees, National Portrait Gallery (July 2014)

Part Two: Organisation

This section sets out the safety responsibilities of managers and staff at all levels throughout the Gallery. As per section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Director is responsible for the implementation of the Gallery’s  Safety Policy. All Heads of Department, managers and supervisors are responsible to the Director for safety within their areas through the management line. The Board of Trustees and the Director will ensure that, within the resources of the Gallery, appropriate provision is made to enable the Gallery to fulfil its safety obligations. All employees are required to co-operate and comply with the Safety Policy in addition to discharging their own individual responsibilities for safety.

Specific Responsibilities:

The Director

  • The Director has the overall responsibility to ensure that the Safety Policy is effectively applied.
  • In the execution of the duties placed upon him/her by safety legislation and the Safety Policy, the Director may delegate specific responsibilities for the performance of those duties to members of the Senior Management Team. Currently this is delegated to the Director of Estates and Operations as detailed below.
  • The Director will receive formal, written reports from the Director of Estates and Operations on Safety at the Gallery annually or more frequently if necessary. The Director will then report to the Trustees annually (or more frequently if necessary) to the board of Trustees, so that they may monitor and review the effectiveness of the safety policies and procedures.
  • The Director will ensure that the Gallery has appointed appropriate advisors (designated as competent persons under the Act) and that the Gallery has adequate systems in place to ensure health, safety and welfare at work.
  • So far as is reasonably practicable, the Director will ensure that all employees, partners and other visitors, fulfil their obligations in the implementation of the Safety Policy.
  • The Director requires that every member of staff will, at all times, comply with Health and Safety policy and procedures.
  • The Director will ensure that proper financial management systems are in place to ensure adequate provision is made for identified safety resources, including training.

Director of Estates and Operations

  • The Director of Estates and Operations will act for the Director on all matters concerning health and safety, including ensuring regular Health and Safety performance reports are taken to the Senior Management Team who will ensure that the resources made available by the Director are used in an efficient and cost effective manner. 
  • The Director of Estates and Operations will chair the Gallery’s Safety Committee and ensure that it meets quarterly according to its terms of reference.
  • The Director of Estates and Operations will ensure that the Gallery’s Health and Safety policy is regularly reviewed, and that internal documentation (section 3) is relevant and easily available.
  • The Director of Estates and Operations will ensure that relevant training in all aspects of health and safety, including fire evacuation, is available to all staff.
  • Using the resources of the appointed advisors, the Director of Estates and Operations will carry out investigations of serious accidents and dangerous occurrences, and ensure accident and incident records are maintained to monitor trends and statistics and any reports to the Health and Safety Executive are made..
  • The responsibilities of the Director of Estates and Operations include ensuring health and safety and fire precautions are taken into account in the design and use of buildings, plant and equipment. This includes facilitating inspections to identify any unsafe or unhealthy practices, equipment or premises.
  • The Director of Estates and Operations should ensure that the Gallery, through its competent persons, maintains contact with enforcing agencies and professional bodies.

Senior Management Team

  • Each member of the Senior Management Team is responsible to the Director for implementing the aims of the Health and Safety Policy within their areas of responsibility. They will ensure that effective procedures are in place locally and that these are monitored and are reviewed, including the regular undertaking and review of Risk assessments.
  • The Senior Management Team will receive reports and recommendations from the Health and Safety Committee on matters concerning health and safety policies and procedures, which will be approved subject to consultation.
  • Annually, members of Senior Management Team will ensure that they themselves, and all managers who report to them, understand and sign the annual Statement of Safety Compliance. Any training needs identified should be raised through the annual Performance Review process.


Each Manager [2] is responsible for health and safety within their area, including:
  • Ensuring that a safety programme is in place for their department/ section and to keep appropriate written records.

Note 2: Hereafter, the word Manager is used to denote any member of staff with Line Management responsibilities. 

  • The programme should include such arrangements as: risk assessments, routine inspections, control of Partners, and relevant training (induction, general and specialist), that risk assessments are reviewed annually and that office risk assessments are undertaken quarterly.
  • Monitor accident and incident reports relating to their areas of responsibility and take prompt and appropriate action thereon.
  • Report to their line manager at least annually on the progress of the health and safety activities within their area.
  • Ensure that the requirements of appropriate legislation, health and safety guidance and relevant procedures are observed.
  • Ensure that all employees with supervisory responsibilities for staff know and understand their responsibilities under the Health and Safety Policy.
  • Take appropriate immediate action to stop any unsafe or unhealthy practices or proce­dures within their delegated responsibility.
  • Work within all statutory regulations, and codes of practice applicable to the work activities and places of work under their control.
  • Ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that all equipment is safe to use. 
  • Ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that there is a safe means of access to, and egress from, the place of work.
  • Ensure that all safe working procedures and instructions applicable to the work activity and place of work are applied at all times.
  • Ensure that all new employees receive appropriate health and safety training (induction, general and specialist) for the safe performance of their duties.
  • Ensure that personal protective equipment is used for those activities and tasks where it is required.
  • Make such arrangements as are appropriate to assist trade union health and safety representatives to carry out their safety activities.
  • Compliance with the Gallery Safety Policy and local procedures is considered during annual staff performance reviews, at which safety training requirements will be discussed.   
  • Ensure any Partners carrying out work on Gallery premises under their control are issued with the relevant Gallery procedures and with Codes of Practice, as a minimum, seeking advice from the Gallery’s safety advisors, if needed.                           

All Employees of the National Portrait Gallery

All employees are required to understand and comply with the Health and Safety Policy.  In particular they are responsible for:
  • Co-operating with Gallery management so as to enable its responsibil­ities under the Health and Safety at Work Act to be carried out.
  • Ensuring that at all times full use is made of appropriate safety systems/devices and protective equipment as per the relevant risk assessment. 
  • Reporting to their line manager as a matter of urgency any unsafe or unhealthy systems of work, unsafe or unhealthy working conditions and damage to plant machinery or equipment.
  • Taking reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions whilst at work.
  • Ensuring that they, and persons under their supervision, use safe working practices.
  • Not intentionally or recklessly interfering with, or misusing, anything provided in the interests of safety, health, fire prevention or welfare by the Gallery.
  • At all times setting a good example for Partners, visitors, and members of the public to follow.
  • Staff receiving visitors are responsible for ensuring that persons using the facilities of the Gallery do not intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety, fire prevention and welfare.

Partners and Visitors (excluding members of the public visiting public areas)

  • All Partners and visitors are required to co-operate fully in achieving the aims and objectives of the Health and Safety Policy and to comply with their own individual responsibilities for health and safety.
  • All Partners and visitors are required to comply with the relevant Gallery Safety Procedures, legislation and Codes of Practice.

Part 3: Detailed arrangements

The Gallery has appointed the Fire and Safety Team from the Victoria & Albert Museum as its competent person with regard to health and safety assistance.  They can be contacted for advice by managers across the Gallery by e-mailing or phoning 020 7942 2300.  The diagram below shows the cascade tree that is to be followed when any issue about health and safety is reported. The issue is dealt with at the appropriate level required. A summary of significant issues is provided to committees at regular periods.

Health and Safety diagram

Every department is required to keep a hard copy of their risk assessments in a ring binder folder available for staff to view and to review/ update them annually, as well as placing them as a PDF on the O drive.

A number of forms and procedures are in place to assist in the management of health and safety. These can all be found on the All Staff (O) drive at:

O:\Policies and Strategies\HealthAndSafety