Health & Safety Newsletter June 2016 university of brighton - Accommodation & Hospitality Services

The owner of a company that supplies marquees and tents (Jose’s Marquees) has been fined £528 after the guy ropes securing a circus tent snapped causing it to collapse injuring three adults and five children in the New Forest.

Southampton Magistrates Court heard that a gust of wind went through the tent and eighteen of the guy ropes snapped. The HSE investigation found that the owners of the tent had taken it to Jose’s Marquees to be inspected and to have the guy ropes replaced 8 months prior to the incident. However, the guy ropes supplied by Jose’s Marquees were not made of suitable material and therefore did not have a safe working load, meaning they snapped under stress.

Josie Routledge of Jose’s Marquees was found guilty of breaching Section 6(1)(a) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which places a duty on suppliers to ensure the product they are supplying is safe for use for its intended purpose and will not cause harm to members of the public.

Fortunately the circus was not open at the time of the collapse, but had there been a performance in progress, this incident could have resulted in a far higher number of serious injuries.

If you are putting on an event over the summer months, ensure that you hire or purchase equipment from reputable retailers, this includes the provision of marquees. Ensure that the marquees and equipment are setup by competent people and where using contractors for this work, ensure that you have obtained a copy of their risk assessment to ensure you are happy they won’t be putting you, staff, students and visitors to your event at risk.

If in any doubt, please contact Mike Young on Ext. 1388. If you aren't happy with the way a contractor is going to manage a task from looking at their risk assessment, this gives us the opportunity prior to the day of your event to come to agreement with the contractor over the way we would like them to carry out the task.

Accommodation & Hospitality Services requires all staff to attend Level 2 in Health & Safety in the Workplace training provided by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. This course provides staff with an overview of health and safety and enables them to obtain a recognised health and safety qualification. Mike Young, the department’s Health & Safety Advisor will be delivering the course. Your line manager has a list of available dates for this course. Please speak with your line manager to agree a date and then email Mike at to book your place.
As we approach the summer the temperature will (hopefully) start to increase. Although there is no law surrounding temperatures of workplaces, there is some guidance published by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). In workplaces where the work carried out is sedentary such as in an office, it is recommended that the temperature is at least 16°C, whilst in workplaces where work is more active such as in a kitchen, it is recommended that the temperature is at least 13°C. It is unlikely that you will find a temperature that suits everyone all of the time, however, simple measures can be taken to ensure everyone’s comfort such as the use of desk fans, opening windows, taking regular breaks, taking your designated lunch break away from your workplace, drinking plenty of water and in locations where air conditioning is installed, it may even be possible to come to agreement over the temperature! Don’t forget that if you are going to be working outside, particularly if you are taking part in some of the outdoor events the department holds through the summer, to keep topping up the sun cream.
Our department’s Health & Safety Advisor will be spending the odd day in our Hospitality outlets to get some experience in the operation of industrial kitchens. This will help Mike understand what hospitality staff do and will enable him to make feasible and reasonable recommendations where required when looking at the management of health and safety. Keep an eye out for Mike in the coming months at your hospitality outlet.
Last year our department conducted a survey called the Health & Safety Climate Tool and everyone was given the opportunity to respond. This survey was carried out to gauge where the department is with health and safety and attitudes surrounding it. Your responses identified the areas in which the department needs to improve are: Availability of staff training, communication and availability of resources. We will be holding focus groups to discuss these themes more closely and to find out how these can be improved. If you would like to volunteer to take part, please email Mike Young at .
Did you know that there is a myth circulating that toilet roll tubes and egg boxes can no longer be taken to schools and nurseries for children to make things out of due to the risk of catching salmonella or a range of other infections. There is no health and safety legislation that bans the use of toilet roll tubes and egg boxes in arts and crafts in schools and nurseries. In fact the HSE has published a poster confirming this. As long as the toilet roll tubes and egg boxes aren't obviously dirty, then there is no reason to prevent their use.
Another myth that has popped up again recently is that of students being banned from throwing their mortarboards in the air when they graduate due to the risk of injury when these come down, potentially landing on someone’s head. Again the HSE has released a poster to defend health and safety as there is no law banning this activity. It is presumed that the only reason for this perceived ban is that the providers of the mortarboards don’t want them to become damaged, nothing to do with health and safety.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) was contacted by a member of the public as a supermarket café had refused to sell them some fruit bread due to health and safety reasons. This was because the customer didn’t want the fruit bread toasted before taking it home. The HSE clarified that there is no health and safety at work legislation that prevents the sale of fruit bread whether toasted or untoasted. They said how it was a shame that ‘health and safety’ was being used as an excuse for poor customer service.
Do you have a burning health and safety question that you want answered? If you do, email Mike Young at and he will answer it for you. If you are happy for your query to be shared, it will be published in the August health and safety newsletter. If you have any feedback on this newsletter please let Mike know too. Is there anything you want to see more of or less of? All ideas are welcome, just email Mike.

If you see a hazard, don't ignore it, own it!!

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