How first aid training could save lives at your office Christmas party

You might not think that anything worse could happen at your Christmas party than embarrassing yourself with bad dancing in front of your boss, but this isn’t strictly true.

A medical emergency can happen at any time, so it could potentially happen while you and your colleagues are celebrating the festive occasion. Someone could fall ill or fall over and injure themselves at your office Christmas party, or have an allergic reaction to some of the food and go into anaphylactic shock. Someone could faint or fall unconscious, have an epileptic seizure or even have a heart attack.

These aren’t cheering things to think about ahead of your office party this year, but these kinds of situations can and do happen. If those present at the party have taken some form of first aid training, they will be better equipped to help anyone who suffers such a medical emergency, and they could even save lives. Without trained first aiders, this Christmas could be a very tragic one indeed.

With this in mind, employers should make first aid training a top priority when planning this year’s Christmas party.

Food snack van found to have breached hygiene rules

A van selling snacks to the public in the Staffordshire town of Burton-upon-Trent has been found to be ignoring food hygiene rules, potentially putting the health of local customers at risk.

East Staffordshire Borough Council sent members of its environmental health team to inspect Deano’s Snack Van and found a number of serious food hygiene lapses. These included food being stored at the wrong temperature, in a fridge that wasn’t working, and that there was no provision for cleaning down work surfaces.

Staff also seemed to lack even basic food hygiene training, as inspectors found that they weren’t washing their hands, had no idea about temperature control and were risking cross contamination of raw and cooked food products as food preparation areas and equipment were not being properly cleaned.

The snack van was given a zero star food hygiene rating by the council, and the results of the inspection were made public as part of its Rate My Place scheme. Staff members working for the business were also told to take a food hygiene training course to improve their skills and knowledge of food safety practices.

Fine for Hull nursery over health and safety breaches

A nursery in Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, has received a hefty fine after an accident occurred at the premises, and an investigation revealed failings in its health and safety policies.

The nursery, run by Lilliput Lodge and located in Sykes Street, was investigated after an incident involving an infant falling from a nappy changing unit was reported. The accident, which happened in September 2011, took place when a nursery worker was alone with three infants in the nursery’s Baby Room, where very young children were looked after by childcare assistants. The child fell a metre to the floor, although it is not known whether any injuries were sustained.

Following an investigation, Lilliput Lodge was prosecuted for failing to implement the right health and safety measures, including giving staff members the right health and safety training. The company was eventually fined £3,000, as well as being ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15 and court costs of £1,000.

It has now been revealed that Lilliput Lodge no longer owns the nursery, and that the business nd premises have been taken over by another company.

London care home found to have violated fire safety rules

Following an inspection by the local fire brigade, a care home in the south London district of Addiscombe has been found to have breached fire safety regulations.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) inspected the Iyanala Residential Home in September 2013, and published the results of the inspection recently. The home was found to have committed nine offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which included:

• Failure to provide staff members with adequate fire safety training
• Failure to provide suitable warning of a fire – i.e. with fire detection systems such as some detectors and fire alarms
• Failure to maintain fire safety equipment in good working order

The owner of the home, Kehinde Lipede, was reportedly given an official enforcement notice by the fire brigade, requiring urgent improvements to be made. These improvements must be made by Christmas 2013, or the facility could be shut down.

Speaking to the local newspaper about the breaches, Ms Lipede said:

“I’ve basically just gone ahead and done everything, so whether I agree with what they’ve said or not is irrelevant. Anything that saves lives is a good thing.

“I wouldn’t necessarily take it as a damning report. Any issue that is flagged up can only be a positive thing in terms of learning from it.”

Red Cross urges young drivers to learn first aid

The British Red Cross is encouraging young drivers to undergo first aid training so that if they are in a crash or come across a road accident, they will know what to do.

The UK government is currently mulling over proposals to increase the age when a person can get a driving licence to 18, in an attempt to reduce the number of young people who end up in road accidents. However, the Red Cross believes that this isn’t the only way to protect young drivers and other road users, and that first aid training could be really helpful.

The head of first aid education for the charity, Joe Mulligan, has a number of useful tips for young drivers, such as the following:

• Make sure you are safe before helping anyone else. If you come across an accident, make sure you park safely and turn off your engine before getting out to help. When you do approach the scene, make sure there are no risks to your safety such as traffic, broken glass or leaking petrol.
• Call 999 as soon as possible for serious accidents, or get someone else to do it
• Deal with bleeding wounds by using a T-shirt or whatever else is available to apply pressure and stop the flow of blood.

Elland takeaway fined £17,000 for food hygiene breaches

A Chinese takeaway in Southgate, Elland, has been fined more than £17,000 after it was found to be breaching food safety rules and putting its customers’ health at risk.

The Welcome Chinese Takeaway was inspected by environmental health officers from Calderdale Council back in April 2013. A number of serious issues were uncovered, including:

• A lack of up-to-date records of food safety checks
• Equipment and fittings in a state of disrepair
• Dirty and unhygienic kitchen surfaces and equipment

The owner of the business, Mrs Tu Yung Chan, had reportedly been warned many times th she must make improvements or face further action. The environmental health team advised her on a number of occasions how to make these improvements, including enrolling herself and her staff on a food hygiene training course, but this advice appears to have been ignored.

At Halifax Magistrates’ Court, Mrs Chan was fined £16,000 after pleading guilty to a total of eight food hygiene offences. She was also ordered to pay court costs of £1,315.

The council’s Mark Thompson commented on the case, saying:

“We take breaches of hygiene standards very seriously and will not hesitate to take action if we find any areas of concern.

“In this case, we took legal action against a persistent offender who had put people’s health at risk. We will continue to monitor the takeaway.”

How the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order applies to your business

A number of years ago, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into effect, and it is this set of regulations that governs how businesses today manage fire safety risks and protect their staff from harm.

If you are a business owner, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order applies to you. It states that you, or another person within your company who you designate as being responsible for fire safety (known as “the responsible person”), has a duty to:

Carry out a fire risk assessment. This involves identifying potential hazards and people who are at risk, coming up with a plan to reduce or remove hazards and implementing it, as well as reviewing fire safety measures on a regular basis.

Implement appropriate fire safety measures

Provide your employees with suitable fire safety training. Your whole workforce needs at least basic fire safety training so that they can protect themselves and others, but you should also send a number of competent employees on fire marshal training. Your new fire marshals can then help you implement fire safety procedures – i.e. lead the evacuation of the premises in the case of fire.

Health and safety fine for UK coal over fatal mine collapse

The energy firm UK Coal has been fined £200,000 by Leeds Crown Court after it was found to have breached health and safety regulations. The breaches related to a collapse at a Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire, in which a worker tragically lost his life.

Father-of-two Gerry Gibson, 49, died of asphyxiation in September 2011 after a section of roof collapsed on him whilst he was working 800m underground. Following the incident, which occurred after another collapse just days before, an investigation was launched into what happened.

Both of the collapses at Kellingley Colliery were found to have been caused by the misuse of a powered roof support. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also revealed that managers were aware of the earlier collapse but took no action to investigate what caused it.

UK Coal, which owned the mine, was found guilty of breaching health and safety regulations and was subsequently fined £200,000.

Commenting on the outcome of the case and stressing the importance of proper safety measures such as health and safety training and risk assessments, the HSE’s mines inspector John Whyatt said:

“This was a tragic and preventable incident that demonstrates the importance of employers having effective and robust safety management systems. Strong safety leadership is of paramount importance in incident prevention.”

UK businesses fined £5.5m for health and safety breaches

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has fined UK businesses a collective total of £5.5 million for breaches of health and safety rules.

The staggering total of fines is from the HSE’s ‘Fees for Intervention’ scheme which it launched a year ago, and which makes companies which break health and safety rules liable to pay the organisations costs. These costs include enforcement action, as well as inspections and investigations.

The types of incidents the HSE charged UK businesses more than £5 million in costs for in the last year included everything from inadequate health and safety training and a lack of suitable washing facilities to slips, trips and more serious injuries.

In terms of which sectors received the most fines, the manufacturing industry was top with 38 per cent of the £5.5 million total. Second was the construction industry with 36 per cent, with waste management and agriculture chalking up three and two per cent of the fines respectively.

Wayne Dunning, from the health and safety expert ELAS which revealed the figures, said:

“The truth is that a lot of these fines would be easily avoidable if firms took a few simple steps to boost their in-house health and safety policies. To ensure that your company is complying with correct requirements, it is good practice to have a comprehensive plan in place for dealing with HSE inspections and that staff members know the parts they have to play.”

Reports reveal poor food hygiene standards at UK hospitals

A new report has revealed that a large number of UK hospitals are breaking food hygiene regulations, potentially putting the health of patients at risk.

The MailOnline website has analysed reports, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, from environmental health officers on a total of 769 hospitals. The publication’s researchers found that as many as 581 hospitals across the country were actually breaking food hygiene regulations.

The figures showed that:

• 62 hospitals were stocking food that was out-of-date
• 229 hospitals had dirty kitchens or equipment

Other problems included pest infestations and poor food hygiene training amongst staff members working in hospital kitchens.

One hospital, Mile End Hospital, which was criticised for food hygiene standards following an environmental health inspection, has responded to the MailOnline report. A spokesperson for the Trust which runs the hospital said:

“Urgent steps were immediately taken to eradicate a small problem in the dry food storage area where there was evidence of mouse droppings on a shelf.

“There has been no sign of further pest activity since. In May this year, Barts Health was once again awarded a five star rating for the high levels of hygiene and cleanliness at Mile End Hospital.”