Safetyline 40


Reports have been received of bottles of methanol exploding whilst being transported to laboratories from the solvent store at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. This appears to be due to insufficient “head-space” and rapid vapour release due to a marked temperature change. Don’t overfill bottles and keep the cap loose in transit to allow vapour release.


If you receive a Solicitor’s letter in your department alleging that your department or an individual is responsible for an injury to another person, do NOT respond to the letter but send it directly and without delay to the Insurance section in Finance who will deal with it. Current rules allow only a limited amount of time for the gathering of information to respond to such letters with the relevant clock starting when an acknowledgment to a formal claim is received. To give as much time as possible to gather necessary information it is essential not to start the clock early and our insurer will therefore issue an appropriate acknowledgement. Safety Services or the Insurance Section will contact departments to obtain relevant information for the submission and investigation.


When reorganising offices, it is logical to use existing staff as well as Porters to help move furniture and equipment. However, do ensure that you are taking full account of the sizes, shapes and weights of items, the fitness and competence of staff and the nature of the task your asking them to carry out. Manual handling injuries can be debilitating and affect a person for life. Don’t take unnecessary risks – please assess jobs and staff capabilities properly.


We ask that all bookings for Out of Hours training be channelled through a single source in each department wherever possible, to avoid the recent problem we’ve been experiencing of double bookings, where individuals have also booked themselves onto courses. This practice means that courses are being “filled” by people who don’t turn up because they’ve already attended an earlier course.


The new Fire Alarm system in Elmfield is now fully operational. New fire action notices have been provided detailing the new procedure. The alarm can now be activated via the new fire alarm call points and cannot be activated remotely from Control


The power outage in the Mappin & Regent’s Court area in March raised concerns by some staff about their safety during such incidents. Please note: -

  • Fire alarm systems should operate on battery back-up for a minimum of 12 hours, and still be able to alarm for at least 30 minutes after that time. New fire alarm system can operate for up to 60 hours on battery.
  • Emergency lighting systems are designed to operate for around 3 hours, which is more than adequate to ensure safe evacuation of a building in the dark.
  • Fire safety is not jeopardised as a result of a power outage. But, if your emergency lighting systems did not operate properly during the last power outage (as reported in one building), please inform Estates Services immediately.
  • For buildings with maglocked Fire Exits, note that maglocks do not operate without power and fire exits are vulnerable to unauthorised access during the period without power. You may need to consider security patrols during power outages.
  • Most buildings should retain water supplies. Buildings reliant of pumped supplies for sanitation or research will need to determine the risk of harm or an incident occurring due to the lack of water and act appropriately to redirect staff to conveniences in other buildings where water supplies are unaffected and/or shut down activities reliant on pumped supplies.
  • The University telephone system will operate for around 1 hour in the event of power loss so ensure you have mobile phones available to ring the Control Room in the event of an emergency developing requiring external assistance – ring 0114 222 4444.
  • For short periods without power, Safety Services do not advocate evacuation of buildings unless other factors indicate that evacuation is the most appropriate action.



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