News

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

 

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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

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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'

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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

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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: http://eepurl.com/cGPB3z

Website competition: https://www.safety2017singapore.com/safeyouthatwork-media-competition/

Website congress: https://www.safety2017singapore.com/safeyouthatwork/

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

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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 www.hochikieurope.com.

Do you know how to evacuate a multi-storey building on your campus?

evac chairEvacuation procedures should be set in place along with designated trained staff that will assist those in need during the evacuation process. Those employees must undergo practical training in the use and operation of any evacuation equipment that may need to be used. They should practice using this equipment when an evacuation drill take place, which is recommended every six months. It is the employers or service provider’s responsibility to evacuate all people from a building in an emergency, as it is no longer the responsibility of the fire service to facilitate the evacuation of non-domestic premises. This is now outlined in the Regulatory Form Order for Fire Safety 2005, therefore illegal to plan a fire evacuation that relies solely upon the fire service being involved.

Those who neglect proper evacuation measures for all employees, visitors, students or the mobility impaired can be found guilty of failing to provide a duty of care and can be charged with corporate manslaughter in work place cases. Pre-planning is therefore essential, ensuring the needs of all employees, visitors or the mobility impaired are identified and a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan, known as a ‘PEEP’ or a ‘GEEP’, (General Emergency Evacuation Plan) is devised by the relevant person responsible to comply with the Fire Safety Order.

The PEEP is tailor-made to secure the safety of the named individuals in the event of a building evacuation. It will explain the method of evacuation detailing the escape routes and identify those persons who will assist carrying out the evacuation and training or practice needs. It will also detail the refuge areas, where the mobility impaired can wait for assistance in evacuating the building safely.


The relevant factors of the PEEP should be to inform the person for whom the PEEP is written of their responsibilities to cooperate; to indicate the actions that will provide for their escape; to establish what actions are required of the individual based upon their level of dependency; and to provide appropriate information to all concerned parties to enable them to carry out their duties in a time conscious manner.

Questions to consider:

  • Can my wheelchair users be accommodated with Emergency Evacuation Chairs?
  • How might my staff transfer the wheelchair user into an Emergency assistive Device?
  • How do I establish if they state they don’t wish to be evacuated by using Evacuation devices?

All very simple questions that wouldn’t want to be addressed during the real event where the fire time-line is being eaten into by every deliberation.

The plan should be tested and used during regular drills, to ensure all staff involved are aware of the procedures and receive a copy of the relevant PEEP. When planning for an emergency in a public access building where mobility impaired or disabled people have total access, a PEEP would not be sufficient. The responsible person would need to devise a GEEP, to accommodate the needs of everyone.
The time required to evacuate a small building that is not a high rise, wouldn’t normally be an issue due to passive fire protection. Therefore high rise buildings can present a number of challenges, the most obvious one being the potential distance needed to take to travel down the stairs to exit the building. These kinds of buildings set themselves apart from others that have a single stair case, due to the time it takes to get down multiple sets of stairs.

Evacuation chairs have proved to be the most efficient and user friendly, enabling the operator and passenger to safely exit the building. Due to more than one person maybe needing assistance other types of evacuation product may be required such as slide sheets, rescue mats, or stretchers, in addition to evacuation chairs. All evacuation aids need to be located in a designated refuge point which is specified in the buildings fire strategy. Each fire exit has to accommodate the able bodied and mobility impaired therefore all equipment has to be readily available and accessible in the refuge point.

In order to comply, the responsible person should obtain professional advice to establish exactly what is required of them. This will involve evaluating each floor in order to determine the quantity of each piece of evacuation equipment and the suitability, with sufficient equipment on each floor to stop people having to re-enter the building to help others.

The key to ensuring you are prepared for any eventuality is to plan regular fire drills, which as a general rule should take place twice a year, where you should practice with your evacuation equipment like the Evac + Chair. An emergency evacuation can happen at any time without warning, so the practice of these fire drills can save time and lives in an emergency.

Planning for an evacuation drill can be difficult, for example, a fire can break out during the early hours of the morning at a hotel. The best way to practice this is to recreate these difficult scenarios at a more appropriate time. Make sure that the staff at these times (which might be limited) are trained, for the most effective and safest way to evacuate those are able bodies and mobility impaired.

For more information on getting a free site survey, please visit www.evac-chair.net

USHA supports the Green Gown Awards 2016

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Education at the forefront of creating a better future


Universities and colleges from across the UK and Ireland have shown how they are leading the path to efficiency, employability and creating a better future of life for us all. Education is proving how sustainability is just good business sense. From the efficient buildings they create and the effective way they use energy, to how they create students fit for the future, their research in finding better ways to adapt to a changing climate and the communities they impact, universities and colleges are at the forefront of radically creating a better future.

This was evident at the 12th Green Gown Awards 2016, held at the Athena in Leicester, in partnership with De Montfort University (DMU) and University of Leicester. It was a celebration of remarkable sustainability initiatives, starring 21 Winners and 26 Highly Commended entries from 115 finalists representing 1.5 million students and 240,000 staff. With an audience of 390 sustainability leaders applauding sustainability excellence within tertiary education, the Green Gown Awards celebrated those that are making the radical change that is needed to make all our lives better.

The evening was hosted by Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business, Marks & Spencer. Amongst others, Mike is a Visiting Fellow at the Smith Centre for Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Programme for Sustainable Leadership and a chemistry graduate from Sheffield University. Mike said, "We stand on the cusp of great change in the economy and society. It is no longer enough to be a ‘less bad organisation’ focused on preventing the worst environmental and social excesses. Every higher and further education establishment, business and government department needs to be thinking about how we change radically our approach to education, commerce and politics to create a future that is low carbon, equal, circular, fair, restorative and committed to the wellbeing of all. The Green Gown Awards help identify these sustainability best practices and encourage the wider higher and further education system to scale up their use."

Each year the Awards bring together the most inspirational projects from across the sector and this year was no exception. Scooping an amazing haul of four Awards was University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) (Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change; Learning and Skills); and in partnership with the University of Bristol (Student Engagement), culminating with Professor Jim Longhurst, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Environment and Sustainability being awarded the coveted Leadership Award – which is exclusive to senior strategic leadership, at executive or governance level, at a tertiary education institution. Of Jim’s win, Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor, says “UWE is committed to embedding sustainability in everything we do particularly within the curricula. The award of a Leadership Green Gown will be welcome external recognition of our efforts and, in particular, the excellent leadership role that Jim has played in our journey towards becoming a sustainable university.”

Royal Agricultural University won an impressive two awards (Best Newcomer and Enterprise and Employability) where they nurture students to embrace sustainability, both social and environmental, offering them opportunities to put such theories as corporate sustainability and ethical leadership into practice. Professor Chris Gaskell MBE, Vice-Chancellor, says “It is a fantastic achievement for us at the Royal Agricultural University to be recognised for our enterprise activities, and we are very proud. We aim to foster and support an enterprising spirit within our student and alumni populations, and also to involve the local community; we all need a sustainable future, and entrepreneurial approaches will be a key component.”

Scotland stole the show for the Built Environment category with wins for South Lanarkshire College and the University of Aberdeen. With University of Aberdeen actively reducing energy use by going ‘passive’” which sees the first fully certified Passive House Nursery in Scotland and the first at a Scottish University.

Organised and delivered by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), Chief Executive, Iain Patton, describes the importance of the Green Gown Awards, “Every year the excellence recognised by the Green Gown Awards shows the business alignment and value of sustainability.  Sustainability makes business sense and this year’s inspiring initiatives prove that sustainability benefits staff, students, the wider community and of course the bottom line. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists for their hard work. It was wonderful to celebrate their successes in Leicester.”


The full list of winners can be found at www.greengownawards.org.uk