UCL Ear Institute


10 November 2009 minutes

UCL Ear Institute, Health & Safety Meeting Minutes


  • Chair: Professor David McAlpine (DM)
  • Graham Nevill (GN)
  • Bjorn Christianson (BC)
  • Mr John Kelly (JK)
  • Ms Miriam Gomez (MG)
  • Mrs R Al-Khafaji (RA)

In attendance: 

  • Edwina Turner (ET)

 1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from. S. Dawson, M. Shah and A. Pyne

2. Minutes of the previous meeting

The Minutes of the previous meeting had been circulated and approved.

3. Matters Arising

GN mentioned that some items have been carried over from the previous meeting and are included for up-dated purposes.

GN felt that the EI had done all it can to implement suggested changes and any further action to be taken is for College, should this been considered necessary. GN said that we had the Report on the Fire Risk Assessment by C.S. Todd and Associates and had commented upon the report. DM mentioned that College would come back to us if they felt that there was any further action to be taken. We are still awaiting feedback with regards to structural matters.

3.1 Fire Safety Management (item 7 of the previous minutes). It was reported that nothing has happening with regard to the issues raised. GN has spoken with College.

The matter of a Reception Area was mentioned in the IQR Report, specifically regarding access for students via the main entrance. There has been some resistance to using the side entrance by some students. It is the view of College that the EI pay a considerable amount of money for maintenance and keeping the building accessible but we would still be expected to source the money to provide for a Reception Area. This option is not realistic, due to the envisaged costs. However, there is an on-going issue in making sure that the side door is kept closed.

3.2 Still, there have been incidents of people gaining access to the building, via the side door, mistakenly thinking that it is part of the Hospital.

4. New Safety Positions within the EI

Due to Regina Nickel leaving, the following responsibilities have been given to staff members.

4.1 BC has been appointed the Genetic Modification Officer. Although, he mentioned a willingness to undertake this responsibility, he felt that he was not the best candidate as there were others who have more experience with genetics. However, the task mainly involves the completion of paperwork and following up with PIs and their teams.

DM suggested that Nico Daudet be approached as he is involved with genetic material. Action DM to approach ND.

MG is now the CAR Safety Office and Fire Evacuation Officer for the 2nd Floor Labs, as MG is based there on a full-time basis. Responsibility includes ensuring that rubbish does not accumulate and Service Contracts are kept in order (e.g the autoclave and the centrifuge). The paperwork is kept on the 2nd Floor and is available for inspection. It was noted that the Service Contracts are due for review.

BC raised the matter of the need for a second Fire Marshall for the 1st Floor. Roberta Donato is employed of a part-time basis at present and does not have a work station/area based on the 1st Floor. It was suggested that there ought to be a Fire Marshall who works in the area of human physiology. BC maintained that for him to act as a Fire Marshall, it would often break the UCL Policy of going away from the designated route out (exits) of the building, in order to ensure that all staff had evacuated the building. Action : GN to approach appropriate persons to cover the 1st Floor, CAR Building.

5. Altering the Safety Board to Reflect Changes

This item has been changed.

6. Risk Assessment Reviews

DM advised the meeting that there was an on-line risk assessment form.

GN gave Sally Dawson and Jonathan Gale copies of the assessments which were conducted two years ago in order to check the items. GN sought advice on how best to proceed with Risk Assessments and was advised that best practice would be to conduct them by defined functional areas. It may be necessary to consider certain projects which may have their own specific requirements.

GN is looking through all the assessment and handing these out to PIs to report on their areas. This task is approximate 50% complete.

7. Departmental Inspection Reports

According to College these are the records we should be keeping. It was mentioned that Health Screening is kept centrally, and we should have a copy version of this.

  • Committee Minutes and Action Plans of new facilities. GN reported that plans were available for the building.
  • PAT testing is unlikely to be implemented due to the costs involved and is unlikely to be funded by College. It was mentioned that PAT testing of equipment at the EI would be too time consuming for Bill Potter as he was employed on a 0.4 FTE basis and would not have sufficient time to attend to other duties.
  • It was reported that equipment maintenance was covered by Service Record Contracts and these were provided by outside agencies.
  • Immunisations for staff working with animals.
  • It was reported that Training Records including Induction Training are recorded and kept on file.

Inspections Reports are regular inspections to monitor whether a safe environment is maintained. GN said these reports should be conducted more frequently and the required form to be completed at the time of these inspections. GN felt that he and MG could share the responsibility for this, but would welcome assistance from other parties if they were willing to participate.

8. DRUK Reports

DRUK ought to have a 2nd Fire Marshall for the 2nd Floor of the Admin Building, and will be looking for a volunteer. There has been a number of staff changed recently. A new Fire Marshall will be appointed and advised at the next meeting.

DM suggested that Ade Deane-Pratt be approached, due to her knowledge of the building layout. Action: RA to appoint a FM.

9. Any Other Business

9.1 MG reported that the Service Contracts for equipment in the Main Laboratory, for the most part, will expire by the end of next year. MG has prepared information together with the costs, and specifically cited the Autoclave; as this contract is due to expire at the end of the year. The renewal will cost £7K to cover the next five years. Action: DM will raise this matter with PIs who use the equipment.

9.2 JK reported lino in the basement is curling upwards and presents a hazard and one person has already tripped over this. GN mentioned that rubber mats are available to place near equipment. Action: GN to source rubber mat and ensure that damaged lino flooring is covered.

9.3 It was noted that the door to the cleaning room facility (1st floor) was propped open and is, in fact, a fire door which should remain closed. BC reported that there is an air pressure differential and this prevents the door closing mechanism from engaging properly. Action: GN to report the matter.

9.4 DM mentioned the need to secure the overhanging balconies on the 1st and 2nd Floor of the CAR Building to ensure that the Atrium area is safer. This is particularly relevant to the 1st Floor as there will be patient groups entering the building to go through to the Anechoic Chamber.

There is a current issue with students accessing the balcony area, which they should not use. A suggestion was made for provision of a keypad fitted to doors to prevent access.

BC mentioned that patients and visitors should be escorted whilst in the building, when going to the 1st Floor. There were a number of uncontrolled entrances to the Human Physiology and Animal Physiology areas, which are in close proximity to each other, and this necessitates the need to ensure that subjects are escorted at all time to prevent access to restricted areas.

DM reported that Nick Lesica (Research Fellow) is due to commence at the EI in February and will be allocated the Lab B34. The big lights in the room will be removed. In addition, veterinary surgeons from the Home Office will need to licence the room for animals. Action 1: Alterations to the room need to be implemented. Action 2: CO to be approached to contact the Home Office to obtain the necessary licence.

There was a discussion on the best use of facilities given the increasing demand for the booths. However, DM maintained that a dedicated Lab area for Nick Lesica would be a requirement.

12. Dates of next meeting

The date of the next meeting will be Wednesday, 24th February, 2010 at 2.00 p.m. in the Seminar Room G33.