Fire Safety Working Group Update – David Hulton Senior Health and safety Adviser, Anchor Trust.
The group has been working with Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) for 5 years on this project and work is about to be concluded. The group was originally set up by NASHiCS following member’s involvement and questions. The group began working with the CFOA towards:
• Getting clarity of some details in the fire safety guides and
• Establishing a way to ensure consistency of approach and interpretation.
Working with CFOA, it was agreed that:-
• The evacuation in 2 1/2 minutes was unlikely to be achievable, however this is meant to be a starting point and every effort should be made to reduce evacuation times towards 21/2 minutes.
• Delayed evacuation – if room is to be used as a temporary refuge, provided it has 30 minute protection it may be impractical to upgrade at that time, however if premises undergoes a refurbishment then protection should be upgraded to 60 minutes. Furthermore any staff members who are on duty in this situation are of most use assisting in the evacuation strategy rather then waiting in temporary refuge areas.
• External stairways that are already in use as essential escape routes can continue to be used; however they must be maintained to a suitable standard.
• Bypass routes through bedrooms, if previously acceptable, can be retained, however, once again, if there is a major refurbishment then these should be designed out. Bypass routes through bedrooms would not be permitted in new builds.
Additional Guidance has now been agreed between the NASHiCS and the CFOA for application to HM Government for inclusion in the Guide to Fire Safety Risk Assessment in Residential Care Premises.
The final document will be available in the new Year.
The group now moves on to the issues within sheltered housing and extra care housing.
Following an excellent buffet lunch there was time for some networking and to visit the displays of the exhibitors.
Kevin Hallas – Health and Safety Laboratories.
The afternoon session commenced with a presentation from Kevin on prevention of slips in kitchens
Slips and trips have a popular humorous image of being somehow less important than other hazards, even trivial or comical – In fact they are just as important as, say, machinery accidents, because of the high financial and human costs. If you examine the statistics below it’s not so funny!
• Workers : Fatalities – 5
• 37% of major injuries (workers) – 10,623
• 90% fractures – 10,000 broken bones
• 23% of over 3 day injuries (workers) – 24,014
• 38% of accidents to members of the public – 8,938
• Costs to business – approx £500m
Statistics in care homes over the last few years show a gradual increase in staff slip/trip accidents with 360 major in 2008 compared with 301 in 2005.
The cause of slip accidents is rarely one single factor, but normally several of the following factors combining to cause the accident:
• Floor surface
As many of these as possible must be considered when thinking about slips & trips in your care home.
For example, clean dry flooring is rarely slippery. It is the combination of contamination and a floor that becomes slippery with that contamination – typically this could be water at the entrance & in bathrooms, grease and water in the kitchen etc.
It is likely that kitchen floors will become wet in normal use, and may also be greasy. A flooring chart, will help risk assess the kitchen flooring, and will help to manage the risk. Use the flooring guide in the kitchen with your chef and other kitchen staff.
Some type of floors will be problematic in kitchens – they will be slippery in normal use. The HSE have produced a chart giving advice on managing a kitchen with this flooring.
Some type of floors will be marginal in kitchens – they will be slippery in normal use if they are not kept clean – i.e. completely free from grease. The chart gives advice on managing a kitchen with this flooring.
Safety vinyl – this material appears in the two categories above as it comes in many varieties. The important thing is the presence of the shiny particles at the surface – be wary of “entry level” products which may be marginal, whereas higher spec (more shiny particles) safety vinyls tend to have better slip resistance.
Some type of floors should not cause problems with slips in the kitchen, but they still need to be kept clean, to maintain their slip resistance. The key is the surface finish of the material – a kind of sandy texture – this is possible with all sorts of materials.
When buying a new kitchen floor, these are the sort of surfaces that should be looked for. This would be a very important decision as the ins and outs of specific flooring types are too complex to discuss here. Further details on the slip resistance of flooring can be found on the website http://www.hse.gov.uk.
Once the appropriate flooring has been chosen it is essential to have a robust cleaning regime in place. Ensure that the correct concentrations of detergents are used, that the mop is clean and that local spills are appropriately managed to prevent them becoming a hazard.
Appropriate footwear is essential; flat shoes that fit well with a good grip are recommended. Safety footwear should also be kept clean. Avoid open-toed shoes, sandals, flip-flops, heels and smooth soles.
For further information the HSE have produced a slips & trips e-learning package with quizzes, videos, case studies etc. There are three levels: introductory, intermediate and advanced with five subject areas – general, food manufacturing, education, health services and catering. This package is free online via the HSE website or available on DVD (visit HSE website for details).
• STEP – http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/step/index.htm
• Footwear – http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/footprocure.htm
• Slips pages on HSE website – http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips
• e-bulletin – http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/ebulletin/index.htm
• Stop slips in kitchens – http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/kitchens/index.htm