UK care homes found to be routinely breaching fire regulations

A number of care homes in the UK have been found to be routinely breaching fire safety regulations and putting their residents at risk, according to a report in the Guardian.

Following a freedom of information request, it was revealed that as many as 135 care homes in the UK have been identified as fire hazards by inspectors from the fire service. In total, as many as 4,700 elderly and disabled people were found to be in danger by residing in these unsafe care homes.

There was a wide range of hazards uncovered during the inspections, including:

– Faulty smoke detectors and inadequate fire alarms
– Damaged and potentially dangerous equipment
– Staff who had not undergone the proper training on fire safety in care homes
– Blocked escape routes

A spokesperson from the Alzheimer’s Society commented on the findings, saying:

“In the event of an emergency, older people, especially those with dementia, will need more time to understand what is happening around them and negotiate fire exits,”

“Urgent action needs to be taken to protect people from the serious and tragic consequences that could occur in the event of a fire.”

Each of the care homes branded as being a fire risk had been issued with a fire safety enforcement notice, and it is hoped that the right changes have now been made to improve safety and protect residents from harm.

Building managers fined over fire safety breaches in London flats

The managers of a block of flats in London have been fined thousands of pounds by Southwark Crown Court after numerous fire safety breaches were uncovered at the property.

Inspectors from London Fire Brigade visited the Gloucester Terrace flats in Paddington after a fire broke out in one of the flats. They found a number of quite serious fire safety hazards, including failures to lock the electrical intake cupboard and failure to install a proper fire alarm system.

The fire service also found that although a fire risk assessment had been carried out on the property, both the leaseholder and the managing agent of the flats had failed to act on its findings. Whether due to a lack of fire safety training or plain negligence, no emergency plan was made, nor were emergency lighting or self-closing fire doors installed.

Douglas and Gordon Ltd, the managing agent, was ordered to pay £100,000 in fines and 13,000 in court costs. Leasehold owner of Gloucester Terrace, Atomlynn Ltd, was fined £33,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,440.

Steve Turek, the assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation, said:

“London Fire Brigade will continue to take action against managing agents, lease owners or landlords who do not take their fire safety responsibilities seriously. Failure to comply with the law can, as this case has shown, result in a prosecution.”

Healthy eating training for caterers

Healthy eating is a bigger issue these days than ever before, as the government takes new measures to battle ill health and death caused by poor diets, unhealthy eating habits and obesity.

In addition to standard food safety training, catering firms and their workers should also ensure that they consider arranging more specialised training on healthy eating. This is particularly relevant for firms which supply food to educational facilities or to the health and social care sector.

Attaining such a qualification as the CIEH Level 2 Award in Healthier Food and Special Diets will help employees who have a say in the selection of menus, recipes and ingredients to make the right choices for the people to whom they provide meals to.

On this particular food training course, participants will learn about:

-The basic principles and terminology of nutrition
-The requirements of a balanced diet
-The positive effects a healthy diet can have on health
-Current legislation and the requirements it imposes on food providers
-How different groups of people with different lifestyles have different dietary needs
-Allergies and food intolerances
-The importance of providing accurate nutritional information on products and product packaging

Mansfield hotel manager pleads guilty to fire safety offences

A manager of two hotels in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, has pleaded guilty to a number of fire safety offences at Nottingham Crown Court.

David Liu, the manager of both the Market Inn and the Dial Hotel, admitted 15 breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 after officers from Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service uncovered serious problems at his hotels.

During a routine inspection, fire safety officers found that the upper floors of both premises were being used as sleeping accommodation without the property fire safety precautions being taken to protect occupants. Risk assessments were prepared for both premises, but they both failed to spot a number of significant hazards and deficiencies in fire safety policy.

Mr Liu has now been handed a jail sentence of eight months for the breaches, along with the man who carried out the fire risk assessments on the hotels, John O’Rourke of Mansfield Fire Protection Services, was also given the same sentence. Whether through improper fire safety training on how to conduct risk assessments or through negligence, Mr O’Rourke failed in his duty to fully assess the safety of each property.

Stourport care home honoured with dementia care award

Staff at the Ravenhurst Care Home in Stourport have been honoured with a prestigious award for their efforts in improving care for dementia patients.

The award was presented to Anastasia Meredith, the manager of the Sanctuary Care-run home, and her deputy Mary Grannell at the headquarters of Worcestershire County Council. At County Hall, the prestigious Improving the Quality of Dementia Care award was presented to them by Eddie Clark, the council’s director of adult and community services.

Ms Meredith attributed the award partly to the support the home has had from the community, but mainly to the enthusiasm and hard work of her staff and the excellent training in dementia care they have undergone. She also revealed what the Ravenhurst Care Home plans to do with the £7,500 grant that accompanied the award, saying:

“The improvements this grant will allow us to make will help to support the independent and meaningful activities people living with dementia need, to ensure their well-being.”

To this end, the home plans to create a outdoor environment for residents, along with sensory garden and farmhouse dining experience, that is actually located inside the home.

Staff use fire safety training to save residents in care home blaze

The staff at a care home in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland had occasion to use the skills learnt in their fire safety training after a fire broke out and residents had to be evacuated safely.

The Clare House care home, which specialises in the treatment of people with mental health problems, went up in flames last Tuesday (12th July) at around 12.30am. By the time the fire brigade arrived on the scene to tackle the blaze, the home’s staff had already safely evacuated most of the residents from the burning building.

The local fire service praised the actions of the staff, with group commander Robbie Bryson saying:

“An excellent job was done by the two staff members on duty,”

“When we arrived the residents were clear and none of them had suffered any problems or any smoke inhalation. The fire alarm raised the alarm and the nurse on duty noticed sparks coming from the roof.”

None of the staff nor the sixteen residents of the home were hurt during the incident, but they did have to be temporarily rehoused as Clare House itself sustained heavy damage from fire and water during the frightening incident.

How to manage health and safety in the workplace

It is not enough these days to ensure all employees in a business understand about health and safety rules and know how to work safely. You need to have a solid health and safety policy in place, and know how to implement and manage it properly.

It takes specialist health and safety training to be able to do this efficiently, which is why all senior safety personnel, supervisors and managers will have the qualification known as the CIEH Level 4 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace.

This training can help you to manage health and safety by teaching you how to design and implement safe procedures and practices, and regularly check on their effectiveness through monitoring and auditing programmes.

It also gives you a greater understanding of specific legal requirements relevant to your role, as well as helping to liaise with enforcement officers and deliver sound and consistent health and safety training to your staff and colleagues.

By looking at all of these crucial topics over the course of five days, and after an examination has been completed, you will be confident and fully qualified to be able to manage health and safety in virtually any type of business.

Hospital catering service scores food hygiene award

The catering service at West Suffolk Hospital has been honoured with a five-star award for food hygiene after inspectors visited earlier this month.

The inspection, which was undertaken by officers from St Edmundsbury Borough Council, covered all aspects of food service within the hospital. This included the Courtyard Cafe, which is open to the public, as well as in-patient meals and the Time Out restaurant, which is where hospital staff eat their meals.

The visit ran smoothly and as a result, the hospital’s catering staff were rewarded for their efforts and exemplary food hygiene training with a five-star award. This is part of the Scores on the Doors scheme, a national programme used to evaluate food-serving premises and make the information available to the public.
The award represents a great achievement for the hospital, as it received just four stars in May 2010.

A delighted catering manager Veronica Hall commented on the hospital’s five-star success, saying:

“It reflects the importance that we place on all aspects of hygiene and safety and is a testament to the diligence shown by our staff around cleanliness and food management,”

Meat firm fined £25,000 for health and safety breaches

A meat processing firm based in Northern Ireland has been prosecuted and fined for health and safety breaches after an employee was seriously injured in a work-related accident.

Forklift truck driver Lucas de Costa, 32, sustained serious head injuries after a stack of heavy pallets fell on him whilst working at the Linden Foods of Dungannon factory in February 2010. In fact, Mr de Costa injuries were so severe that he is now in a semi-paralysed state and requires full-time care in a nursing home.

An investigation was launched following the shocking incident, and a number of breaches of health and safety regulations were uncovered at the factory. As well as not receiving the correct health and safety training, Mr de Costa was also found to have been driving a truck that did not have adequate overhead protection. There was also some confusion over the shape and type of pallets he was to move.

Despite spending £75,000 on safety improvements since the incident, Linden Foods of Dungannon was found in Omagh Crown Court to be liable for Mr de Costa’s injuries and was fined £25,000 as a result.

Are your staff able to administer first aid in an emergency?

It is a legal requirement for each UK workplace to have at least one trained first aider, whether in offices, outdoor working areas and especially within health and social care environments.

However, the owners and managers of businesses and organisers need to prepare for situations in which their first aider is unable to perform his or her duties. This could be because of annual leave, illness or perhaps the first aider is the one who needs medical attention.

You could send two or three of your staff members on first aid training courses, but it makes much more sense to ensure that as many of your workforce as possible receive training on what to do in a medical emergency. This will help to create a safer working environment overall, with every member of staff confident in their ability to react in an emergency and potentially save their colleagues lives.

As part of first aid training, your staff members need to learn about:

– Managing emergency situations
-CPR and basic life support
– Controlling bleeding
– Dealing with head injuries and unconsciousness
– Reacting to choking
– Treating shock
– Treating sprains and wounds

It is also important to remember that emergency first aid training needs to be refreshed every so often, to keep your first aiders updated and the life-saving information fresh in their minds.