SAFETYLINE 1

HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATE JAN’01

New guidelines have been issued by ESAC on "Managing health & safety aspects of research in higher and further education" - giving the "best practice" situation. It states the aspects that should be considered in a research environment, giving guidance on accountability, setting standards, monitoring of safety standards, risk assessment considerations and a hierarchy of measures to control potential risks. Abbreviated copies are available from Safety Services.

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Storing and using pressurised or liquefied gases in inadequately ventilated spaces poses a risk of explosive or asphyxiating concentrations of gas accumulating in the event of a leak. A recent incident in New York highlights the dangers when a worker was overcome, in such circumstances, due to a leak of liquid Nitrogen. We must ensure precautions are in place to warn staff of asphyxiating or explosive atmospheres and for reducing concentrations in the event of leaks. Contact Safety Services for more details and refer to a safety bulletin previous sent out on this topic.

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A Department recently contacted us to tell us of an incident where an externally undamaged kettle lead started burning and creating smoke. Fortunately the smoke was spotted before a fire started but this demonstrates the need for regular checking of electrical leads in your Departments, especially for equipment which is frequently moved or subject to constant wear and tear. If you need training for checking leads - contact Safety Services.

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Estates Services are currently collecting information on pressure & lifting equipment held by Departments which must be examined by ‘competent persons’ annually (six monthly for man-lift lifting equipment). They are co-ordinating the examinations by the Insurance Companies and arranging for repairs to be made where necessary, that is where the Department does not want to scrap the equipment. Pressure vessels are defined as any container which is designed to operate at pressures of gas, air or gas in liquid greater than 0.5bar above atmospheric pressure. Please ensure that you inform Clive Bakewell in Estates of any lifting or pressure equipment you purchase or fabricate meeting these criteria, who will decide whether the equipment falls under the legislation requiring examinations and take appropriate action.

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Accident report forms are our best means of gaining information about accidents and incidents occurring on the University premises, and which enable us to recognise accident trends, as well as meeting legal obligations to record all accidents. However we do need your help, so please complete forms clearly, accurately and fully for every accident or incident. Please do not neglect to telephone us immediately if someone goes to hospital or has been off work for 3 days as the result of a workplace accident. Thanks.


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This information has been provided by b.a.coddington@sheffield.ac.uk,
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