Mandate of the
Occupational Health & Safety and Environmental Protection Unit



Safety at CERN covers occupational health and safety, the protection of the environment, the safe operation of CERN’s installations and includes protection against ionizing radiation.

CERN’s Safety Policy defines and embodies the Organization’s commitment to safely carry out its mission as an international particle physics research laboratory by ensuring:

  • the best possible protection in occupational health and safety matters of all persons participating in its activities on its site and of those living in the vicinity of its installations, and by limiting the impact of its activities on the environment;
  • the use of best practice in the field of radiation protection and the safe operation of its installations.

This mandate describes the mission and the scope of work of the Occupational Health & Safety and Environmental Protection Unit (HSE Unit) which reports directly to the Director-General.


CERN’s HSE Unit:

  • supports the Organization in the implementation and enforcement of its Safety Policy;
  • monitors the implementation and accomplishment of Safety objectives aimed at a continuous improvement of safe working and operating conditions as well as environmental protection;
  • grants Safety clearance on behalf of the Director-General for special equipment, installations, experiments and projects with major Safety implications.


I. In its role as the Organization’s centre of dedicated competence for Safety matters and in consultation with the Departments and other relevant CERN services, the HSE Unit assists the Organization in defining and monitoring the implementation of its Safety Policy, through:

  • assistance in the definition and achievement of Safety objectives at all levels of the Organization;
  • advice and relevant expert support on Safety risk assessment, risk reduction and risk control;
  • proposals for Safety improvements based, inter alia, on lessons learnt and best practices;
  • training, information and awareness-raising in Safety matters;
  • assistance in the implementation of CERN’s regulatory framework in matters of Safety.

II. The HSE Unit supports the Organization’s proactive communication in matters of Safety by:

  • initiating and contributing to corporate internal communication;
  • assisting CERN’s services in charge of external communications and relations with the Host States;
  • establishing and publishing periodic reports on the Organization’s Safety performance, in particular concerning radiation protection and environmental protection.

III. The HSE Unit as the Organization’s control body in matters of Safety monitors the compliance of CERN’s activities with its Safety Policy through targeted audits and reviews on:

  • the accomplishment of objectives and the implementation of rules and best practices;
  • the Organization’s Safety performance.

IV. The HSE Unit provides Safety clearance for activities, special equipment, installations, experiments and projects with major Safety implications prior to design, operation or dismantling activities. The Head of the HSE Unit may decide to refer clearance decisions to the discretion of the Director-General.

V. The HSE Unit assists the Director-General concerning collaboration with the Host States in matters of Safety and coordinates CERN’s implementation of agreements signed with them in this field.

VI. The HSE Unit establishes and maintains CERN’s regulatory framework in matters of Safety by:

  • maintaining a watching brief on the evolution of rules, emerging trends and best practices in Safety matters outside the Organization;
  • identifying Safety rules and best practices relevant to CERN’s activities;
  • editing new rules or updating existing ones as necessary for the proper functioning of the Organization on the basis of Host State regulations, European Directives, international standards and best practices;
  • ensuring accessibility of all documents relevant to the CERN regulatory framework in matters of Safety.

VII. The HSE Unit provides the personnel dosimetry service for the Organization and ensures the management and handling of radioactive sources and waste.

VIII. The HSE Unit collaborates with the Medical Service, which is responsible for the Organization’s occupational medicine, in matters relating to occupational health and safety.


The Head of the HSE Unit reports directly to the Director-General in particular on:

  • the progress achieved by the Organization towards the continuous improvement in matters of Safety;
  • the outcome of the supporting, monitoring and clearance-granting activities carried out by the HSE Unit.

The HSE Unit is represented at CERN Management meetings.

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