The official USHA Estates Specialist Group met for the first time on Friday 11th April at the Eversheds offices in Leeds. The event was kindly supported by the HSE, Eversheds and over 40 delegates from University’s across the breath of the country from the University of Portsmouth up to the University of Edinburgh.
The meeting saw a number of excellent presentations. A legal health and safety update from Evershed. This brought to fruition the current trends in the legal system. In particular prosecutions focusing on individuals and fines imposed taking into action a company’s financial position. This followed by a presentation from the HSE, which focused on the practical application of the revised L8 and technical guidance.
In contrast to a very formal legal perspective from Eversheds and the HSE, focus was given to practical application with respect contractor and asbestos management. The University of Edinburgh and the University of Leeds gave an overview of how they practically managed contractors working on Campus, very much two different approaches, however, both achieving excellence. The Universities of York, Manchester and Imperial College London gave an overview on their very different styles and techniques too effectively asbestos management, which stimulated discussion for the sharing of best practice across the group.
With the USHA Estates Specialist Group being very much is in its infancy, an open discussion ensued to draw out what delegate wanted from the group. Moreover how we can move the group forward together to achieve best practice across the HE Sector.
Key points arising from discussions:
• Want makes a supervisor / maintenance manager competent to manage gas, legionella extra – could the group set a minimum standard as guidance.
• Available databases to support the management of information, testing, inspection regimes to enable effective compliance against current statute.
• The development of effective links with AUDE and Maintenance Management Groups, with the possibility of the USHA Estates Specialist Group providing safety master classes.
• A mechanism to provide support health and safety professionals in HE Estates who feel isolated.
• Effective sharing of information and best practice between members.
• Possibility of peer reviews within HE removing the new for external consultants to undertake reviews and audits.
• A voice on behalf of the HE Sector in respect to legal consultations effecting or operations.
Moving forward the Committee has planned to reflect on the feedback given, develop a proposed terms of reference and direction for consideration by the group to include further seminars, events with the potential of proposed working groups for specific deliverable projects.
Being part of this group you can play a major part driving forward change to improve health and safety performance and standards in the HE Sector in particularly Estates and Facilities Management disciplines.