How to stay safe in halls of residence

Serious safety incidents can happen and Universities manage these incidents. During such events students must follow all instructions given by the emergency services and University staff.

If you have impaired mobility you are advised to inform the University so they can assist you during an emergency.

When you move in to your room, please read the important safety instructions on the back of your door.

If you are arriving from overseas, you will be used to living by different rules and laws. English laws apply.

Number 1: smoking is not allowed indoors. Anywhere. Ever. It is the law. Even if something is labelled fire resistant or retardant it can still catch fire.

This film from USHA member London School of Economics is just one example used to help students stay safe.


USHA 2016/7 Annual Report – some significant firsts

The report highlights USHAs growing role and influence in the sector.

  • Its work with partner groups looking at mental health, security, employers and unions at a national level.
  • The latest developments in the associations Strategic 20/20 vision
  • A ground breaking conference on mental wellbeing
  • The changing landscape of health and safety
  • A mentoring and coaching scheme
  • Opportunities to share lessons learned

Read more here

ISTR guidance "Safe working with arthropods" 2017

'Safe working with arthropods: Containment and control for work with uninfected, infected and transgenic animals in research', covers research work with exotic and UK native species of arthropods (mosquitoes, biting midges and ticks) and GM insects that are vectors of virus diseases affecting animals (such as bluetongue virus or African horse sickness virus), and humans (such as Zika virus or dengue fever virus).

It has been produced by ISTR, in consultation with HSE and the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) with input from the UK biosafety community and scientists who work with arthropods and GM insects. It also delivers key elements of the HSE’s `Helping GB work well’ strategy for 'Managing risk well' and 'Keeping pace with change'.

Guidance Document


USHA Estates Seminar July 2017: Statutory Compliance



USHA held its annual Estates Seminar 2017 at the University of Liverpool (London Campus)

 The 2017 seminar theme was ‘Statutory Compliance’ and aimed to raise awareness on keys areas of statutory compliance providing practical solutions and ideas to those managing complex estates with a myriad of statutory compliance obligations. 

The event was sponsored by Zurich Insurance Group Ltd which provides insurance cover and support in the management of statutory inspection obligations

Here are the conference presentations and photographs:

Estates Seminar 2017 Photos (Dropbox)

Estates Seminar 2017 Presentations (Dropbox)



Higher education sector injury, occupational disease and dangerous occurrence data report





This report takes data compiled by the Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA) from the 1st January 2010 through to 31st July 2016.

Up to 31st December 2014 the association compiled data on a calendar year basis.

Reporting data on an academic year basis commenced for 2013/2014 as part of a move to collection through the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

The short continuation of calendar year data was to assist the association’s members with internal governance annual reporting during the transition.

In July 2016 USHA’s Executive Board agreed to reinstate collection of data by the association.


Download the report here

Fire Safety Management – the focus topic at USHAs annual Fire Seminar

Fire Seminar 2017 website min2


USHA members met at the Mercure Hotel Cardiff to look at Safety Management within the sector.

Topics covered included BS 9999 2017;PAS7;the fire risk challenges in historic buildings and collaborative working with Fire and Rescue Services.

There was a record attendance of delegates, the highest in the last 7 years, as well as scores of new exhibitors who supported the event.

One of the highlights was the networking dinner with TV Celebrity David Meade.

Here are the conference presentations and photographs

Fire Seminar 2017 Photos (Dropbox)

Fire Seminar 2017 Presentations (Dropbox)


Spring 2017 Conference 'Meeting the health and safety challenges'

spring2017montage 2

Record numbers attended this year’s Spring Conference held at the Hilton City Hotel Leeds. It looked at ‘ New Horizons in Higher Education: meeting the health and safety challenges’. Speakers covered wide ranging topics from the legal implications leaving the EU, the HSE’s expectations for the future, an ageing workforce and generational issues, having flexibility to encourage growth and emergency planning at critical incidents.

The Gala dinner was held in the Great Hall at the University of Leeds with delegates being entertained by comic impressionist Alistair McGowan.

Here are the conference presentations and photographs

Spring 2017 Photos (Dropbox)

Spring 2017 Presentations (Dropbox)


SafeYouth@Work Media Competition and Safe Youth Congress


Here is an opportunity to involve young people into the upcoming XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work – Global Forum for Prevention which takes place 3 – 6 September 2017 in Singapore.

Thanks to the ILOs SafeYouth@Work project young people can submit an entry for a contribution to the SafeYouth@Work Media Competition and/or submit a candidacy as a Youth Champion to the SafeYouth@Work Congress.

Organisers are looking for a promising young person who could bring the message of safety and health at work across to their national and international peers.
The ILO wants to raise awareness and help prevent workplace accidents and diseases. What are young people thinking and saying about safety at work? There are six categories: film, photo, poster/drawing, song, story and surprise us.

The competition is carried out together with the International Media Festival for Prevention and the XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Singapore and is open to youth all around the world, aged 15 to 24.

Submission deadline: 30 June 2017.

International mailing:

Website competition:

Website congress:

Government Fire Statistics 2015/6

False alarms accounted for 40% of fire incidents in 2015/16

Of the 529,000 incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services in England last year, 40% (214,000) were false alarms, according to recently released by Government figures.

The stats also show an increase in ‘non-fire incidents’ attended by crews, largely attributed to a spike in attending medical emergencies.

Deliberate fires accounted for 45% of all fires in 2015/16, an increase of 8% on 2014/15 figures. The statistics also show that there were 303 fire related fatalities and 7,661 casualties.

Topics covered in the release include the causes of fires, the use of smoke alarms, the seasonality and temporality of fires and other topics of interest to the fire statistics community. The Fire Statistics Monitor provides updates on key variables such as the number of incidents attended, fires attended, fire-related fatalities and casualties.

More info here


USHA’s Autumn Seminar ‘Mental Wellbeing: Supporting staff supporting students’ receives national accolades

The seminar broke new ground in the sector for being the first to broach this subject

Held at the Barbican London it was supported by the student services association AMOSSHE and Universities UK.

Sir Anthony Seldon VC at The University of Buckingham focused on the mental health support routes across a University

The Right Honourable Norman Lamb MP Chair of the Cross Party Committee on Mental Health and Paul Farmer CBE Chief Executive of MIND spoke of the need for the right level of needs for mental health counselling in Universities .

The Assistant Director of Policy for Universities UK John de Pury told USHA, “UUK was keen to be part of such an important event and I especially welcomed the chance to engage with an experienced and expert audience”.

Autumn Seminar 2016 Photos (Dropbox)

Autumn Seminar 2016 Presentations (Dropbox)



Can you honestly get a person with reduced mobility out in an emergency or if a lift breaks down?

A person with reduced mobility is entitled to be evacuated safely and with dignity. Budgets are so important but what is the cost of not providing the most suitable equipment?

Not everyone can or should transfer from a wheelchair, for example. So why furnish your buildings with a number of chairs that can’t cater for the people who need them. It is false economy to not provide the most suitable piece of equipment for the person with the greatest needs.

As you are aware every building is different, the stairs and landings different sizes. So choose the evacuation chair that is most suitable. You need specialist chairs for spiral and flared stairs. If your volunteers won’t train on their use or go in them then why should a person with a disability use them? In an emergency you are going to do everything in your power to get a person out safely and it is your responsibility not the fire service. This is well known but still people think the fire service is there to rescue people. I don’t think this will have been put in writing by the fire service!

Many new buildings are going higher and higher and a manual evacuation chair is not the best method as the operators are going to get tired and could potentially lose control. Also you may need additional people to take over as people become tired, do you have many people available to assist? Many say over 4 floors then look for powered units as easier to control and the unit is taking the weight not the operator.

By having powered chairs as well as manual it gives you the option to use them on a daily basis for access as well as in the event of a lift breakdown.

Building regulations recognise the need to have buildings that are accessible and user-friendly to all who may use them, including disabled people.

The Equality Act ensures equality and access to buildings for disabled people within reason. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) makes the responsible person take account of the evacuation plans of everyone in a building, including disabled people.

Where an employer or a service provider does not make provision for the safe evacuation of disabled people from its premises, this may be viewed as discrimination. It may also constitute a failure to comply with the requirements of the fire safety legislation mentioned above.’

This also applies to lift breakdowns. Evacuation and accessibility should be looked at together as they are linked and you can’t have one without the other.

Our powered products enable access and egress on a daily basis as well as emergency.

The largest range to cover different stairs, landings and people’s needs. We are not all the same!

Hochiki explains how e-cigarettes might affect the smoke detectors in your university


Since 2007, the use of electronic cigarettes has drastically increased worldwide, and more frequently we are being asked how e-cigarette vapour will affect smoke detectors.

Studies have shown that e-cigarette particles are typically between 0.25 – 0.45 microns which is comparable to tobacco smoke, however, we must bear in mind, that the particles that reach a smoke detector will not be undiluted; they would have mixed with the saliva in the mouth, creating particle sizes more comparable to steam.

Most commercial and industrial fire detection devices have been designed to protect against false alarms caused by steam and dust etc. Therefore, if you have purchased your smoke detector from a reputable manufacturer such as Hochiki, it is unlikely that a small amount of e-cigarette vapour will cause your device to go into false alarm. However, if someone is standing directly under a detector creating a generous amount of e-cigarette vapour, or they are in a confined space, then the density of particles entering the chamber might cause a smoke detector to go into alarm.

Hochiki are renowned worldwide for manufacturing high quality, robust and reliable smoke detectors. We understand that false alarms are both disruptive and expensive, and as such we have incorporated a number of features in both our conventional and analogue smoke detectors that help protect against false alarms. For example, Hochiki detectors contain a honeycomb structured mesh that has been specifically designed to maximise smoke flow, and improve tolerance against insects, dust and steam. If steam (or vapour) comes into contact with the mesh, it is forced to diffuse through the mesh resulting in dissipation of particles, thus virtually eliminating the probability of a false alarm.

For more information about Hochiki Fire detection, please visit