SAFETYLINE 12

H & S UPDATE DECEMBER 2001- Christmas Issue

Fire Doors are a major factor in the prevention of fire spread and safe evacuation from a building when they are closed. Unfortunately we are seeing more and more instances of fire doors being wedged open. This was evident during the Fire Drills carried out in October and we are receiving reports from concerned Safety Committees about this practice. We understand why people wedge them open, but please put your safety and that of others first. Close Fire Doors!

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The ILO has just issued a comprehensive list of international chemical safety cards (ICSC) on its website, providing extensive "data sheet" information on a wide range of substances. Website address is www.ilo.org/public/english/protection/safework/index.htm

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When using Emergency Exits for emergency evacuation from buildings, where glass bolts or small windows cover the opening mechanism do not be afraid to break them. The glass is there to discourage the use of Emergency Exits as normal means of entry and also serves to improve security of the building – but in emergency situations break them - they can be readily replaced and it may save lives.

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We have had a report of a minor fire in a study bedroom at Leicester University caused by a plug-in air freshener sent from America by the student’s thoughtful mother. The student plugged it in not thinking about the fact that electrical equipment in the USA operates at 110 volts. The equipment overheated and started a fire.

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We are still getting occasional Accident Reports through for cuts received from glass shards put into containers or plastic bags. Please place broken glass in the special container provided for them. If you don’t have one for sharps speak to your Departmental Manager or Laboratory Manager or Departmental Safety Officer who should be able to obtain one for you.

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Safety Services are now selling Fire Blankets to anyone who wishes to buy them. The cost is £12 per blanket.

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There have been several reports recently from this and other Universities about allergic reactions to powdered latex gloves. If you are having rashes or itching as a result of wearing such gloves you should report this to your Supervisor / Laboratory Manager immediately and complete an accident form. Non-powdered versions are available commercially.

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The University Health and Safety Committee ratified the Electrical Procedures, recently drafted by Estates Services, for use throughout the campus for all electrical work to provide a consistent framework for working on electrical equipment and to ensure that staff have the appropriate competencies for working on such equipment. These will be sent shortly to all departments for consultation. Comments should be sent to Gary Robinson in Estates Services.

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Only 24 more shopping day to Christmas and far be it for me to dampen the growing excitement, I would like to draw some minor safety issues to your attention. Christmas shopping can be a nightmare, and the crush can punish the strongest of us. Wear body armour when out and about and leave the husband at home – they suffer terribly at this time of year! When putting up the Christmas tree, do make sure it won’t fall on someone nor create an obstruction to others on evacuation routes out of the building or at Fire Exits. Check that your tree lights are working properly and safely – get them tested. Use decorations on trees and around the office that won’t spontaneously ignite, there are plenty of flame retardant versions to be had. Pack presents tidily around the tree base to avoid creating trip hazards. Finally, our call for donations of Bonfire Toffee in November appears to have fallen on deaf ears, or there was none left, so we’re putting a call out for mince pies now. Again all donations gratefully received.

Happy Christmas to you all


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