First of all I would like to thank you all for all your help and co-operation throughout the past two FBU strike periods. We all recognise that it has been a difficult period for many of you and has required many to alter your normal working practices to comply with the precautions we have installed. Due to your efforts, however, that we have had no fire alarm activation of note throughout the two periods that the firemen have been on strike so far, so your efforts, sacrifices and vigilance have been worthwhile and are much appreciated. Keep up the good work. It looks like the next strike period will start on 4th December as programmed and I ask you to bear with us.


The Inst. of Cancer Research has reported that a Hettich Rotina 12-24 desktop micro-centrifuge failed catastrophically recently scattering debris through the lid, which popped open. A Hettich 35R failed a year ago in a similar manner. No information has come to light about the age of the equipment or how it was being used to help indicate the cause of the failure. If you have Hettich Rotina centrifuges it would be advisable to contact the supplier or manufacturer to ask advice about checks you can make to avoid a similar occurrence.


NHS Safety Notices and Safety Alerts

1.      SynchroMed Implantable Drug Pump: risk of medication errors due to inaccurate listing of intrathecal drugs.

2.      Hill-Rom Air-Shields Isolette C2HS & C2000 Incubators – securing bolts connecting the main shell assembly to the pedestal can work loose and should be checked and tightened annually.

3.      Invacare Ltd – Zipper 2 S Manual Wheelchair – risk of the propelling wheels becoming detached in use due to the fracture of a die-cast wheel mounting block, which can then cause the wheelchair to tip.


Southampton University Chemistry Department recently had an incident where a Bosch hot air gun (PHG 500-2 1500W) lead shorted in the pistol grip causing the outer insulation to rupture with a loud bang. The local RCD operated properly and no one was injured. They believe the rubber insulation on the cable degraded in the laboratory environment affecting the structural integrity of the insulation. Southampton University have imposed a 2-year lifespan on this equipment.


In October a chemistry laboratory in Salford University was seriously damaged by fire and by the water used by the Fire Service to extinguish the flames. Damage is estimated at £250,000 but had the FBU been on strike then the entire building and contents could have been lost. A reminder to us to be vigilant and to reduce risks where we can.


A student suffered 30% burns on Halloween night in Bath when another student allegedly set his fancy dress “mummy” outfit (toilet paper) alight. The subsequent fire also damaged a flat. Three students were arrested and one was charged with arson with intent to endanger life and with causing grievous bodily harm.


The Departmental Contingency Plan for Safety Services can now be found on the Safety Services web pages under “Guidance”. This can be used as a template for your department to use when developing your own Contingency Plans if you wish.


Only 24 more fun-packed shopping days to Christmas! Don’t forget, no flammable trees and trimmings and make sure they don’t obstruct emergency escape routes and doors or fall on the unwary. Pack parcels tidily round the base of trees so they don’t trip anyone up. Get your tree lights tested if possible and use an RCD – we don’t want any Christmas martyrs this year! If you insist on having a Yule log make it a chocolate one, and no roasting chestnuts at your desk. 

Merry Christmas to you all from Safety Services

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