Health and Safety
Health and Safety Newsletters
Electrical Fires – Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, fire safety in relation to the use of electrical equipment has become a prominent concern. Approximately 25% of all non-dwelling fires are caused by faulty electrical equipment (source: Fireward) with faulty appliances and leads, often attributed to overloaded circuits, poor maintenance and repair work.
The University has a range of policies, guidance and procedures in place to ensure the safe purchase, installation and use of electrical equipment on University owned or controlled property.
Purchase of Suitable Equipment – Electrical equipment must be suitable for its intended use; this includes its suitability for use in the environment in which it will be used. Electrical equipment purchased for use in wet conditions or where flammable atmospheres may occur must be suitable (e.g. intrinsically safe) for use in those environments.
CE Marking – Electrical equipment or equipment intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres must be CE marked and have an accompanying Declaration of Conformity. The CE mark is an acknowledgement by the manufacturer that all European Union Directives associated with the product have been conformed to. However, since this is essentially a ‘self-assessment’ by the manufacturer, it cannot be assumed that the product is safe or suitable for the intended use. Therefore, it is essential that appropriate checks are made with regards to the suitability of the product as well as the reputation of the manufacturer and supplier. The University has a list of approved companies. These are listed on the Finance Department webpages.
Recall Notices – It is advisable that electrical products are registered with the supplier as this can facilitate tracking down equipment that has been recalled by the manufacturer for safety reasons. Product recall notices are often placed on manufacturer’s websites and other consumer sites.
Portable Appliance Testing – Portable appliance testing (PAT) is an important part in ensuring that electrical equipment is safe for normal use. The University has a policy detailing legal requirements, procedures and schedules for testing equipment; the policy can be downloaded from the Health and Safety website. Staff carrying out PAT must be qualified to do so and be competent to undertake the work. Please contact the Health and Safety Office for more information.
The London Fire Brigade website offers the following information on preventing electrical fires:
• Do not use imitation electrical chargers as they may be unsafe
• Make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them
• Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order
• Unplugging appliances and chargers when you are not using them helps reduce the risk of fire
• For plugs that do not come fitted to the appliance, always check you're using the right fuse
• Keep to one plug per socket
• If you use an adaptor, use a fused 'in line' type. The adaptor or extension lead will have a limit of how much power it can safely provide to be careful not to overload sockets
• If using a cable drum extension lead, it should be completely unwound to avoid overheating
• Remember: scorch marks, flickering lights, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reasons could be signs of loose or dangerous wiring
Responsibilities – As an employer, the University has a responsibility to ensure suitable fire safety procedures and arrangements are in place and that the implementation of fire safety procedures are carried out by trained and competent staff.
Managers have a responsibility to ensure all staff, contractors, students and visitors are made aware of fire safety procedures and that their faculties, departments, schools or equivalent comply with fire safety regulations and the University Fire Safety Policy.
All staff have a duty to comply with all fire safety procedures and to report any defective equipment, poor practice and deficiencies in procedures.
If you have any concerns about the safety and suitability of electrical equipment, please contact the Health & Safety Office.
Some of you may be aware that the Health & Safety Office Administrator Carol Newlyn retired in June this year after 8 years of service. Carol was a key player in the running of the Health & Safety Office and will be missed by all University staff who worked with her. We wish her well in her well-earned retirement.
Lee Murphy will be taking over from Carol from the 1st August. Lee has considerable experience of working within different University departments and we are looking forward to her joining the team.
There has been a lot of activity in the world of Health & Safety Co-ordinators since the publication of our last newsletter in April. We say goodbye and thank you to:
• Rick Baker – Technology, who has left the University. A replacement is to be sought.
• Nicola Young – Marketing, who is moving to Corporate Governance. A replacement is to be sought.
• Kelly Cumming – Purple Door/Employability, who has left the University and welcome to Russell Weeks who will be taking on Health & Safety Co-ordinator duties, working alongside Paul Barnes.
We welcome the following newly appointed Health & Safety Co-ordinators:
• Karen Ward, Research and Innovation Services
• Louise Lovesey, CCI
• Stephen Oliver, CCI – who is covering Michelle McCabe’s maternity leave
• Chris Whitear, CCI – Middle Street
• Sarah Cole, Finance
• Michael Jones, Estates & Campus Services – Residential Services
In order to comply with Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended 2002, the University of Portsmouth provides employees with an eye care service and Display Screen Equipment (DSE) online training and risk assessment.
Members of staff can request an eyesight test via the IS Self Service Portal. Line managers will be contacted to authorise the request and by doing so, confirm the member of staff is a DSE user. For further information about the eye test request procedure, please see our web pages.
The staff member will be sent an email with an attached Specsavers eyetest voucher and will then need to make arrangements with any Specsavers branch to have an eye test.
The Specsavers voucher will entitle the user to a free eye test and £45 towards the cost of the spectacles if solely for DSE use.
Should they wish to upgrade to more expensive frames, lenses or varifocals this may be done at their own expense. Please note this scheme does not include the provision of contact lenses.
If there are any queries regarding this criteria or further information is required please contact the Health & Safety Office on 02392 843075 or via email@example.com.
There has been an increase in eye injuries, particularly with regards to work carried out in laboratories. The majority of these injuries were preventable if the correct eye protection had been worn whilst carrying out the work. The University provides suitable eye protection and other personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary to control the risks from hazardous workplace activities. Staff and students should ensure that all PPE provided by the University is worn correctly when required as a control measure for carrying out hazardous activities.
The Health & Safety Office has revised and published the Electricity at Work and Pressure Systems policies; these are available on the Health & Safety web pages.
Electricity at Work – Electricity is present in all University of Portsmouth’s buildings and if not used and maintained correctly, is a major hazard that can cause electrical shocks, fire and explosions. The Health & Safety Office has reviewed and updated the Electricity at Work policy in order to ensure electrical equipment is used correctly and is properly maintained so that it is safe to use.
Pressure Systems – The Health & Safety Office has produced a Pressure Systems Policy, which gives guidance on their safe use and the hazards and health risks associated with Pressure Vessels.
Examples of pressure systems used in the University include:
• Boilers and steam heating systems
• Pressurised process plant and piping
• Compressed air systems (fixed and portable) including air receivers
• Pressure cookers
• Heat exchangers and refrigeration plant
• Valves, steam traps and filters
• Pipework and hoses
• Pressure gauges and level indicators
Departments are required to register new pressure vessels and deregister old equipment, in accordance with the University Pressure Systems Policy.
The Health & Safety Office would inform and remind everyone about the Policy for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults. Of specific Health & Safety relevance are risk assessments for Year 10 work experience students and the requirement for DBS checks if working alone with children. Please contact the Health & Safety Office if you have any queries. The University is registered with EBP South for Year 10 Work Experience Placements.
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