about-us-skyscraperAbout USHA

The Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA) is an organisation for the promotion of safety and health in higher education. Membership is primarily open to higher education institutions both in the UK and from overseas.

Membership is also available to research institutions and related organisations upon request. The Association was formed in 1972 and has grown over the years to its current cohort of 134 Institutions representing all Universities in the UK and 13 overseas. 2015 saw the incorporation of USHA as a Company Limited by Guarantee.

USHA's mission is to ensure the wellbeing of university staff, students and visitors through the promotion of health and safety within higher education.

  • Knowledge Exchange
  • Conference and Seminars
  • Consultation and lobbying
  • Expert advice to UCEA
  • Liaison with external partners
  • Professional development programme
  • Developing best practice
  • Leadership
  • Guidance Documents
  • Access to 9 regional groups


Some key benefits for USHA Members

 - Guidance and Policies – a resource bank of information.

 - Key Performance Indicators – detailed information on incident and fire data.

 - Conferences & seminars - with top calibre national & international speakers, exchange best of practise and networking with colleagues.

 - Dedicated website – news on topical issues, latest ideas, events and guidance documents.

 - Members Newsletter – keeping you up-to-date with the Association and Members' activity.

 - Online Members' discount offers

 - Hasnet discussion forums for specialist topic and regional groups

If you are considering becoming an USHA member or you are interested in partnership or sponsorship opportunities contact our Executive Officer Lynda Couch-Smith This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Association is managed by an Executive Board consisting of a Chair (who serves for a two year period), a Deputy Chair, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and four additional members. The officers and executive are elected at the Annual General Meeting which takes place in April as part of the annual spring conference.

Click here to see the organisational structure of USHA.


USHA’s main objective is to provide an organisation for the exchange of information on all aspects of health and safety and related topics relevant to the higher education, supporting the work of safety practitioners across a wide range of specialist areas. The Association liaises with external bodies having similar aims as well as acting as a contact point for enforcing agencies and Trade Unions. It conducts educative meetings and publishes information and Guidance documents for the benefit of its members and other interested parties on a regular basis.
Specific objectives include:

  • Promotion of excellence in the strategic planning, management, administration, operation and development of safety and health across the University sector.
  • Promotion of the reputation and activities of USHA and its members regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • Consideration of policy and advice on matters referred to it by Universities UK, the Health and Safety Executive, Universities and Colleges Employers Association, the Higher Education Funding Councils, as well as other appropriate bodies and individuals.
  • Provision of forums for discussion, consultation and exchange of information on health and safety issues, particularly where they relate to the higher education sector.
  • Influencing opinion formers and decision-makers on health and safety issues.
  • Promoting opportunities for development and training for the benefit of members and their respective staff.
  • Optimising solutions to common problems and concerns by disseminating and harnessing the particular expertise, experience and knowledge of Members for mutual benefit.
  • Furthering Association objectives by arranging conferences, meetings, lectures, discussions and other activities.

Advantages of membership

There are many benefits to be gained from membership of USHA

  • The opportunity to attend a wide range of conferences, seminars, meetings and training courses. Access to an excellent learning and development programme presenting outstanding value for money.
  • A community of support , knowledge sharing and networking from safety practitioners across the higher education sector
  • Access to a range of the ‘hasnet’ family of e-mail discussion groups including the generalist hasnet-link and specialist lists hasnet-fire and hasnet-OH for occupational health matters
  • Benchmarking through sharing of sector key performance indicators such as accident and fire-related statistics and the annual Institution Survey.
  • Access to the HASMAP auditing system for higher education
  • Access to online resources and training packages specifically developed for the higher education sector
  • Membership of one or more of the nine regional groups operating throughout the UK offering local support and networking opportunities
  • Membership of additional Specialist groups: Fire Safety, Auditing, Nano Safety, Training , Estates and Creative Industries ( arts)
  • Input to a range of partner organisations such as University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and Higher Education Safety Health Forum (HESH) as well as a direct dialogue with enforcement agencies.
  • Access to safety practitioner job vacancies within the sector
  • A dedicated Website with members area, showcasing recent developments and news
  • Consultation with members on a wide range of new and revised documents
  • The participation and celebration of excellence in safety contributions within the Higher Education sector through a Safety Award Scheme
  • The opportunity to participate in an international safety practitioners exchange programme and application for travel bursary assistance