UCL Ear Institute


18 October 2011 Minutes

Health and Safety Meeting held on Tuesday 18th October at 11.00 a.m.


  • Dr S Dawson (SD)

  • Mr G Nevill (GN)

  • Dr N Daudet (ND)

  • Mr W Potter (WP)

  • Ms M Gomez (MG)

  • Mr A Pyne (AP)

  • Ms J Ziff (JZ)

  • Ms L Tilling (LT) – Lead Safety Advisor

In attendance Ms E Turner

1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Cheryl Overington.

SD welcomed Linda Tilling from UCL Safety Office.

2. Matters Arising

Jo Ziff has taken over from John Kelly as the Student Representative. Rada Al-Khafaji (DRUK) said that she did not wish to represent Deafness Research on the Safety Committee any longer as most of their staff members have now moved out of the premises. However, it was suggested to these that as a few of their staff still remain, they need a representative. Rada agreed to be the contact person, even though she is no longer in the building, in order to disseminate information. Those remaining DRUK personnel appear to be present on a part-time basis, occupying the two offices on the ground floor.

SD mentioned that apart from WP there did not seem to be another representative for the 1st Floor, CAR Building and asked if we needed another person. Many of the staff members who use the 1st Floor are there only part of the time.

LT mentioned that if people are specifically appointed to be responsible for a designated area of the building, there will be occasions when they are not present due to illness or holidays. Minutes of the meeting can be circulated to them at a later date. It was suggested that another person could attend the meeting in place of the representative passing on the information on their return.

SD said representatives for given areas are a means to channel information to the Safety Committee and she is aware that there have been issue with access, and that she would raise the matter with Jennifer Linden for a recommendation who could be appointed as a representative. WP felt that safety related issues should be raised with the Safety Officers directly rather than going through an intermediary which only introduces an additional layer in the reporting process.

SD reported that the EI is very well represented on the 2nd Floor which differs from the situation on the 1st Floor. WP said that he had not been approached and therefore was not aware of any safety issues relating to the 1st Floor.

AP mentioned that some of the on-going issues should be addressed with the building work which is currently taking place. These should be reviewed once the building work is completed to ensure that issues have been resolved.

SD will talk to Jenny Linden in the interim as she manages the 1st Floor area to establish any concerns.

AP reported that he attended a meeting with Robert Hood of Estates and Facilities. There will be a structural change to how the satellite sites are managed. This means that any problems are referred to a Satellite Manager. These changes are still in progress.

SD raised the matter of maintenance staff arriving unannounced. Staff members at EI are unaware of why they are here or what work is being carried out. The Satellite Manager for the EI is Gary Stratmann. AP advised he had a meeting with him during the past few weeks and raised maintenance and security issues. However, it was noted that this is a new role for Gary and things will be addressed in due course once he has his team established.

All reporting of maintenance work is still going through the helpdesk at E&F but it is envisaged that once the Satellite Team structure is in place there should be an improvement in communications regarding when maintenance staff will be visiting EI to carry out work.

AP reported that Maintenance Engineers have access to all buildings and as they have been arriving unannounced SD felt that this raised potential problems for accidents and security, especially when EI personnel are conducting experiments.

GN asked that when maintenance work has been completed that all items/ rubbish be removed prior to the maintenance team leaving the premises. This has not happened in the past.

There have been complaints by maintenance staff regarding the distance they have to travel to perform work at EI, but it was reported that they have trolleys to transport their equipment. The possibility of a storage space to keep equipment was raised. It was noted that storage facilities at the EI are very limited.

LT raised the issue of work being signed off once a job is completed. AP advised that he had never been asked to sign anything. Jobs are requested on line and no printed copies are available for signing off, this is only done on the computer system.

SD suggested having a sign put up in the Lobby Area of the CAR Building requesting all maintenance staff to report to AP. Outside contractors are met and taken to the specific area to perform their work; the problem only arises with UCL Maintenance.

GN raised the matter of the accident which Ghada Al Malky had as a result of this a hand-rail has now been installed.

GN advised that the hardware for the Deaf Pager System has been fitted and pagers still need to be obtained from UCL.

WP mentioned that wires were still taped to the carpet in the General Office in the CAR Building, resulting from the re-arrangement of desks to accommodate more staff. He reported that Cheryl Overington was to follow up with UCL to have this problem resolved. WP felt that not only was this a trip hazard but also a fire risk. AP mentioned that he has liaised with AC Tan about providing some rubber ramps to cover the wires.

3. Safety Officers’ Update

3.1 Results of EI 3-Yearly Fire Risk

GN reported on the 3-Year Fire Risk Assessment had recently been completed by Todd Associates. Some items which were identified at the time of the first assessment were raised again. The written report will be received shortly. One of the items raised on the previous inspection was to provide extra fire cladding to the old part of the building. To date this has not been done by UCL. It was pointed out that there were areas for improvement. An on-going issue was to ensure the removal of obsolete items/rubbish from the premises; to ensure that exits remain clear of obstructions and better utilisation of storage space.

AP mentioned that as long as equipment/controls can be easily reached in the plant room then Gary was reasonably happy to have items stored neatly. There is an issue with the storage of tables in the area, as these could pose a fire risk.

GN raised the issue of caterers not removing items after an event. These companies must be informed to remove all their equipment and rubbish. It was suggested that a check be made prior to catering staff leaving the building.

GN said he would like items to be removed so that all exits are free by next Wednesday.

3.2 Reorganisation of Fire Marshalls and Retraining

LT mentioned the absence of Fire Marshalls in certain areas on Main Campus, particularly some areas of the Library where there were no FM’s to ensure the building was been cleared. GN mentioned that FM’s had to ensure evacuation of a building but in order to this in out of the way areas would require going further into the building and away from the designated exits.

At present EI has two FM’s per floor, or one person for a designated area for two floors, allowing for a check that people were leaving the building.

GN mentioned that FM Training is required to be undertaken every two years. Most of the FM’s have exceeded that time frame and require retraining. Given the number of staff involved this will be undertaken at the EI. The date of this training will be advised.

3.3 First Aid Cover

GN reported that the FA cover was short due to the absence of Edwina, who reported at that her qualification was still current, and would only require renewing next year. Torsten Marquardt is the other First Aider.

Invitations will be extended to staff to volunteer to become First Aider to ensure that there is sufficient coverage within the building, particularly in the laboratories.

3.4 Service Contracts

MG has received quotations for the main units in the laboratories. The amount is approximately £4,000 to cover both autoclaves, SORVAL centrifuge, -80 Freezer and MilliQ System.

SD said that now Cathy has arrived as the Research Grant Administrator there is on-going discussion about how to fund the service contracts and what items should be covered. Efforts are being made to have the department cover equipment which is necessary for Health & Safety e.g. hoods and autoclaves, i.e. those items of equipment which fall under statutory requirements.

SD noted that companies providing equipment make their profit on the service contracts, which is considered poor value for money. It made financially better sense to budget for replacement and repair. Cathy has been involved with PI’s regarding how best to include this costing into grant applications so that the laboratories are better supported.

LT enquired about fume & flow hoods and whether it was possible to know if items were working properly. SD mentioned that much of the equipment does have warning lights/alarms to indicate if there was a problem.

4. GM Officer

There was nothing to report on this subject. ND mentioned that new staff members were supervised by their respective PI’s when conducting work of a GM nature.

5. Radiation Officer

SD mentioned that there have been some issue with the Finance Office, Main Campus as they do not recognise the fact that purchase order for radioactive materials have to be completed on special forms. Some accounts payable staff are not aware of this separate ordering system, which is still paper based, and have been advising suppliers that these are not UCL orders. To date SD has not had a response. The forms for radioactive materials are issued by the Safety Office, and one copy has to be returned to the Safety Office once items are ordered. This is a legal requirement,

6. Building Supervisor

The laminator machine has been disposed of by GN.

There are moves within the building due to DRUK relocating to other premises. Only two rooms are still be occupied on a part-time basis by DRUK staff. The vacated areas, offices and stairwell, are being repainted. It is envisaged moving the Teaching staff into this space by end November, dependent upon the IT being in place. Rosie Lovett may stay in the office she currently occupies. The office occupied by Ifat and Debi and that of Josephine Marriage will probably be used by PhD students, as the PhD room has become over-crowded. Once these moves have been completed then organising a clearing operation will become easier.

It was noted that there is space under the stairs and this could be used for storage provided that a proper fire door be fitted.

There is also a small area under the stairwell in the Admin Building opposite the Franking Room, which is currently being used to store water and fruit juice for conferences. An enquiry was made for the possibility of having a door put onto this area. LT advised that proper clearance would be needed from Simon Cook, as the area may require complete fireproofing.

7. Student Representative

JZ did not have any matters to report

9. Outstanding item from previous meeting

There were not outstanding items

10. Any Other Business

GN mentioned that Robert Heller was not the Safety Representative and this position will now be performed by Priya Singh. Priya should be invited to attend the H&S meetings with immediate effect.

There will be a Fire Drill on Wednesday next week.

There was no further business.

11. Date of next meeting

To be arranged.