Quarter of Scottish takeaways fail food hygiene tests

According to the findings of a recent investigation by the Sunday Express, around one in four Scottish takeaways are failing to meet legal food hygiene standards.

The investigation was launched at the same time as concerns were raised about the increase in food poisoning in the country, with a 40 per cent rise reported in the first few months of 2013 compared to the same period last year.

It was not only takeaways which were flagged up for their poor food hygiene training and practices, however. The Sunday Express team also found that plush venues such as St Andrews Golf Club, the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh and the BAA Skylounge at Glasgow Airport underperformed in a recent round of inspections by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Even a cookery school managed to fail a recent FSA inspection.

Encouraging customers to check food hygiene scores before they dine out, the FSA in Scotland’s Elspeth MacDonald said:

“The Food Hygiene Information Scheme gives consumers easy access to useful information so they can make an informed choice about where to eat out. The FSA in Scotland is working in partnership with local authorities across the country to roll out and enforce the scheme.

“We recommend that everyone check the ratings on our website before eating out you know which eateries have achieved a pass.”

First aid kit advice pt.3 – knowing how to use a first aid kit

At the start of this guide (part 1 and part 2), we looked at what should be included in a first aid kit and where businesses should be looking to keep their first aid kits. Now we come to one of the most important pieces of advice – how to use a first aid kit.

Many first aid kits, such as those marked with a British Standard label, are designed to be as easy to use as possible. So, in an emergency, anyone can use the kit to give aid to an ill or injured person. However, it is recommended that only trained first aiders use first aid kits in the workplace, to ensure that injuries are dealt with properly and the business is not liable if something goes wrong.

It is a legal requirement for workplaces to have trained first aiders, meaning employees who have been on a first aid training course and who have been named as the designated first aiders for the business. A first aid in the workplace training course does not take very long to complete, but it can give you invaluable skills and knowledge that could save lives. You may even want to undergo first aid training even if you aren’t the designated first aider in your workplace.

Home building company wins health and safety awards

The home building company Berkeley Homes, which is based in West London, has been presented with multiple health and safety prizes at the recent National House-Building Council (NHBC) Health and Safety Awards.

The company not only won the Best Site Award 2013 in both the regional and national Large Housebuilder categories for its Wimbledon Hill Park site, but Berkeley also took home Highly Commended awards for its Ebury Square and Napier West 3 sites.

Commenting on the wins, Berkeley’s managing director Tom Pocock said:

“This is a fantastic achievement and a true recognition of the effort put in by all of the teams who work so hard to ensure that our sites maintain a high standard of health and safety.

“We pride ourselves on our positive health and safety culture, collaborating with sub-contractors to ensure excellence across all sites, so it is a real honour to receive these accolades from such a high-calibre organisation as the NHBC.”

The awards aim to recognise and reward businesses which demonstrate exceptional commitment to health and safety. Companies that invest in health and safety training for workers, implement safety rules and effectively plan and monitor health and safety on sites and during projects are the ones who will be celebrated in the NHBC Health and Safety Awards.

First aid kit advice pt.1 – what should be in a first aid kit?

Having adequate first aid supplies is a very important part of any workplace’s health and safety measures, but it can be difficult to work out exactly what and how much you need.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) doesn’t stipulate what businesses should keep in their first aid kits, nor does the organisation endorse any particular products. However, you can get British Standard first aid kits for your workplace which generally contain all you need. These kits usually contain:

• Burn dressings
• Finger dressings
• Saline cleansing wipes
• Triangular bandages
• Dressings in a range of sizes
• Sterile eye pads
• Washproof plasters in a range of sizes
• Safety pins and scissors
• A foil blanket
• Disposable powder free gloves
• Tweezers
• Conforming bandages
• Eye wash
• A mouth-to-mouth resuscitation shield
• A first aid guidance leaflet

The larger your business and the more people who use the workplace, the more first aid kits you should have on the premises. You may also want to choose larger first aid kits which contain multiples of everything listed above.

It is also very important to stock your first aid kits according to the findings of your health and safety risk assessment, to ensure that your first aid supplies meet the needs and demands of your particular circumstances. Lastly, you need a responsible person who has undergone first aid training to be able to use the kit and administer first aid.

First aid kit advice pt.2 – where should first aid kits be kept?

Having well-stocked first aid kits and enough supplies for everyone in the workplace (see part 1 of this guide) is incredibly important. However, it is also important to keep your workplace first aid kits in the right places.

There are a few simple things to remember when deciding where to keep your first aid kits. Primarily, your first aid kits need to be easily accessible. The last thing you want is for someone to need first aid but the kit full of medical supplies cannot be found. Place your kit in a communal area that everyone can get to easily and send out an email or a memo to let everyone know where it is. Better yet, arrange for your staff to undergo first aid training so they know how to use the kit as well.

The second thing to remember when placing your first aid kits is to make them highly visible. All you need to do is to mark the kit’s location with a sign – a white cross on a green background is widely recognised as the symbol for a first aid kit and should help everyone to find the first aid kit if they need to use it.

The importance of activities planning in care environments

In addition to meeting primary needs, respecting dignity and privacy and caring for people using care services, care facilities and staff must also ensure their users have the best quality of life possible. A huge part of this, but one that is often overlooked, is a varied and stimulating schedule of activities.

There are many benefits to planning activities for care home residents, such as improving wellbeing, health and quality of life. However, not just any programme of activities will suffice. The National Association for Providers of Activities for Older People (NAPA) firmly believes that activities should match up with individual’s interests, background and abilities.

To deliver a programme of activities to meet the needs of many residents at once, a trained and committed activities coordinator is required. Care staff with many other duties and responsibilities cannot be expected to plan activities to the required level, so a role should be created within care environments for an activities coordinator. The person to fill this role should ideally undergo a specialised care training course for activities coordinators, where they will develop their skills and deepen their understanding of activities planning for care environments.

Poor fire safety standards at Sunderland hostel uncovered

After being called to a fire at a hostel in Sunderland, firefighters have uncovered serious fire safety violations including fire doors that were shut and padlocked.

The fire broke out at the Norfolk Hotel, a former 42-bed hotel that is now being used as a hostel accommodating 37 people, in November 2012. The blaze started in a bedroom, and firefighters discovered when they arrived on the scene that the nearest fire exit to this room was locked shut with a heavy-duty bike lock. This meant that if residents needed to use the fire exit to escape the blaze, they would have been unable to and might have had to risk a more dangerous escape route.

Other breaches of fire safety law were uncovered by a fire officer who arrived to inspect the premises following the fire, including insufficient fire safety training for staff members at the hostel. There was also a lack of manually operated fire alarm call points, which would enable people to set off the fire alarms in case of fire, and a lack of regular fire drills.

The owners of the hostel have now been fined for the breaches at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court. In total, the managers and licensee were fined £6,880 and ordered to pay£3,911 in court costs.

Booths fined £27,500 for breaching food hygiene rules

The supermarket chain Booths has been fined £27,500 after it pleaded guilty to breaching food safety regulations.

The charges relate to a Booths store in Lytham, where food safety inspectors found products for sale that were past their sell-by date and an ox tongue that contained listeria bacteria. Commenting on the visit to the Lytham store, Fylde Council’s cabinet member for environment and partnerships, Councillor Tommy Threlfall said:

“The council’s investigation of Booths revealed some quite shocking examples of ignorance of food safety. The ox tongue turned out to be tip of the iceberg as we discovered that fresh mussels and oysters were being managed beyond the shelf-life policy.”

The investigation was launched after a customer at the store was infected with listeria, but this was later found to have been caused by one of Booths’ suppliers.

Booths has been fined £27,500 for the breaches, and it has confirmed that steps are being taken to address the issues raised. This may mean checking the source of food products more carefully, reviewing the chain’s food safety management system or investing in better food hygiene training for staff members.

CQC orders Cornwall care home to improve care standards

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has ordered a care home in Cornwall to make urgent improvements to its standards of care or it could face further action.

The Cornwallis Nursing Home, which is located in St Ives and accommodates around 50 patients, was told that it needed to improve in seven major areas. Many of the improvements needed could be effected by improved care training for staff members, particularly in relation to respecting the privacy and dignity of residents.

Issues uncovered by CQC officers at the Cornwallis home, which specialises in dementia treatment, included:

• Cleanliness, hygiene and infection control
• Consent from residents for care and treatment
• The overall care and welfare for people using the home’s services
• Supporting care workers
• Medicine management
• Respecting people who use the home’s services and involving them in decisions relation to their own care
• Assessment and monitoring of the quality of the service being provided by the home

There were also problems with some residents being lonely and not getting enough social interaction, whilst others were not given enough time to eat their meals.

The home will now need to take urgent action to improve in the identified areas.

Rail passengers in Leicester given basic first aid training

Passengers on trains in Leicester have been given the vital skills and knowledge they need to potentially save the lives of fellow travellers after a first aid training session took place at Leicester rail station.

As part of a first aid project headed by a first aid training specialist, rail passengers were given demonstrations of the action they’d need to take if they encountered someone who was choking, bleeding or suffering a heart attack. The demonstrations of crucial life-saving techniques took place at Leicester rail station, but other similar events in other locations will also take place over the summer.

Commenting on the training, St John Ambulance’s Carl Makins said:

“With basic first aid skills, anyone can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved, at home, school, while playing sport or just out and about.”

There are lots of ways you can learn first aid. Many people go on first aid in the workplace training courses, whilst others learn skills at school or by enrolling on basic or paediatric first aid training courses. If you’ve already had first aid training, you might also want to consider going on a refresher first aid course around a year after your initial training to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.