Safety Network Conference 2024

On this page you’ll find recordings of all the talks and the panel discussion, links to videos from both the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar which were shown during the welcome presentation, and reflections on the Conference from Co-chair of the Safety Executive Group Professor Martin Maiden. In the right-hand menu there are links to the outputs from the Conference workshops and a list of the information stands that were available, with links to websites if you’d like to know more.

We're also pleased to share delegate feedback on the Conference – thanks to everyone who provided comments and suggestions.

We were delighted to welcome two external speakers from the Universities of York and Cambridge who shared their insights and offered learnings and actions that delegates could take away with them. Here are their reflections on being a part of the event:

Monica Kanwar, Director of Health & Safety Services at York University – keynote speaker:

The level of engagement for your inaugural event is something that demonstrates the appetite for change, thank you for allowing me to be part of it. I am sure you will go from strength to strength - this represents a critical moment that you can harness and take forward.

Martin Vinnell, Director of Health, Safety & Regulated Services at Cambridge University: 

My sincere thanks to you for what was an astonishing achievement for your first conference. I learned a lot, there was a huge amount of positivity, and I am confident that the event will have raised energies for your journey.

For a flavour of the Conference, take a look through our montage of images (photo credit: Steven O'Gorman):


Safety Network Conference 2024: in pictures

Professor Martin Maiden, Co-chair of the University's Safety Executive Group, opened the University's inaugural Safety Network Conference. Here, he shares his key learnings and takeaways from 'what proved to be a hugely successful and thought-provoking event':


Martin Maiden Conference reflections

During the morning's welcome and introduction session, attendees were shown two video messages. The first was from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Irene Tracey, who emphasised the legal responsibilities and behaviours required of leaders and managers across the University to prioritise safety.

Her message is a reminder of the continuing imperative of following existing University Health and Safety Policy. She also reinforced the principle that those who create risks must manage them, as set out in the Higher Education Management Standard.


The Universities Safety and Health Association Management Standard: A Message From VC Irene Tracey

The Vice-Chancellor's comments above were echoed by the Registrar, who provided her own message to the Safety Network. In it, she detailed the support that's being put in place, including mandatory training for senior leaders and managers, and stressed the importance of speaking up - and the process for doing so - if you don't believe risks are being properly managed in your part of the University.


Welcome to the Safety Network Conference from Gill Aitken, Registrar

After the Conference, delegates were invited to leave their feedback on all aspects of the day's event. The responses received were overwhelmingly positive and confirmed that the key objectives for the event were met:

  • Getting people together
  • Making them feel valued
  • Engendering a sense of belonging and shared purpose
  • Sharing successes
  • Demonstrating support

Reflecting on the feedback, Professor Martin Maiden, Co-chair of the Safety Executive Group, said:

By any standards this is exceptionally good feedback. This is a real milestone in our journey. Onwards and upwards.

When asked 'How useful did you find the event overall', more than 90% of respondents answered either 'Quite useful' or 'Very useful':

Bar chart showing how delegates answered the question: 'How useful did you find the event overall?', with 29 answering Quite useful, 26 answering Very useful and 3 answering Not very useful


The below graph shows to what extent delegates agreed with a number of statements after attending the Conference. Attendees almost unanimously agreed or strongly agreed that they would attend a future Safety Network Conference and recommend attending the Conference to anyone interested in safety. Others particularly enjoyed meeting new people, learned something new and valuable and noted some action they would take as a result of attending:

Bar graph showing to what extent Conference delegates agree with certain statements


Regarding the general running of the event, guests were asked to rank the following four aspects from 1-5, with 5 being very good and 1 being very poor. Most delegates rated these categories either four or five, with the registration process, registration desk and event logistics ranking particularly well.

Bar chart showing how positive delegates felt about 4 specific aspects of the Conference


Respondents were also invited to leave comments to enable us to learn from this event and improve for future conferences. Below is a selection of responses:

What did you like most about the Conference?

  • Feeling part of a community, the sense of collective engagement
  • Meeting like-minded people, new and old friends
  • Buzz and energy, provoking new thoughts
  • Clear indicator of University’s commitment to improving health and safety
  • Knowing that everyone is encountering the same issues

I came away encouraged that I’m not alone in my thoughts and feelings about safety at Oxford

What could be improved for future Safety Network Conferences?

  • More time for questions
  • Fewer parallel sessions
  • All-day event over lunch to improve interaction and time to look at displays
  • Targeted safety issues (maybe a different one each year)
  • More involvement from the risk makers and owners (academics)


Delegates gathered round a table during the workshop
  • Consultation – how can we do it better?
    • Colin Cook, Chief Technician, Medical Sciences Teaching Centre 
    • Brian Jenkins, Head of the Safety Office
  • Developing personal effectiveness
    • Julie Varndell, Organisational Development Consultant 
    • Fleur Houghton, Organisational Development Advisor
  • Incorporating EDI best practice into risk management
    • Vernal Scott, Head of the Equality and Diversity Unit
  • Risk and assurance for safety professionals
    • Neil Unsworth, Head of Risk and Resilience 
    • Niamh Young, Senior Manager, Risk and Compliance 

Information stands

Training dummy wearing an oxygen mask

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