USHA’s 'Irish' Spring Conference a Resounding Success

This year’s conference hosted by Queens University in Belfast saw 47 Institutions attending including our newest Galway Mayo Institute of Technology who joined as Associates in February.

2 Institutions were back after a two year gap South Wales and Ulster - who were back in force sending 5 delegates each.
Key note speakers included Nicola Dandridge CEO of UUK and Keith Morrison HSE in NI

nicola dandridge   keith morrison

Each year USHA supports a charity chosen by the host Institution and a donation was made to the Queens Foundation – Cancer Research Centre

cancer research

USHA would like to thank Queens Health and Safety Manager Robin Butler and his team for all their support and hospitality at the event. 

guiness  pub

The highlight for many was being entertained by the TV celebrity and mentalist David Meade..just ask Pete Adams at Bristol or Scott Trim at Coventry what they endured!

Health and safety within the FTSE-100


Pictured are: Jan Paley, Rosemary Brown (Southern QSHE Manager, Intu), Gary Wood and Francis Kenny (Group QSHE Manager, Intu)    

As part of the University of Huddersfield’s drive to be recognised as one of the top 500 universities globally, Professor Bob Cryan CBE DL – the university’s Vice-Chancellor – challenged the managers of its professional and administrative services to visit a FTSE-100 company during the current academic year.

The remit? Report back the main characteristics setting the chosen company apart from its competitors and learn, adapt and adopt to enable the university’s services to be at the leading edge of the sector.

The university’s Office of Health and Safety chose Intu, owner of eighteen shopping centres across Britain including the nine of the largest twenty in the UK. Reasons for choosing Intu included: dedicated to securing excellent employee, client and customer experiences; its drivers include global reputation, brand and association; and constantly working with a multitude of third parties to deliver its aims and objectives. All of these are with successful management of health and safety structured around locally and externally discharged responsibilities, with professionals centrally and regionally having roles as enablers and facilitators.

Jan Paley, the university’s Head of Health and Safety, and Gary Wood, the university’s Health and Safety Adviser, visited Intu’s head office in London at the beginning of January and met with the company’s group and southern Quality, Safety, Health and Environment managers.

“It was a really successful exercise for us” Gary reflects. “Not only did it offer useful insights into how Intu secure successful management of risks to health, safety, wellbeing and business continuity, it provided an opportunity to reflect on our own approaches and practices with like-minded professionals of a leading commercial organisation. We took away much from the day, including short and longer-term areas of work for the university to consider and, of equal importance, receiving very positive feedback on our own ways of working”.

The initiative was very well received within Intu. Francis Kenny - Group Quality, Safety, Health and Environment Manager – formally fed back to Jan and Gary that the university’s Vice-Chancellor be commended for his foresight.

On the initiative itself, Professor Cryan comments “I believe it is important that I take an active role in the HALM programme.  An element I find particularly interesting is when our managers’ report back on their visits to FTSE 100 companies.  Each presentation reveals lessons we can adopt in our institution.  I'm proud to say that many also reveal that our own managers have been able to offer useful insights to their private sector colleagues.”

USHA is no more: long live USHA!

Pic Gary Wood Chair

You’ll probably surmise the phrase from which this article’s heading has been adapted. A certain online resource suggests the original phrase’s historical significance now makes it a regular headline for occasions of momentous succession.

The two AGMs at the Belfast conference saw us finally say goodbye to the ‘old’ USHA and for the ‘new’ USHA – as a company limited guarantee – to be firmly established. All the aspects that have made USHA so strong over the past 40 years will still be there; these can never be lost. The ‘new’ USHA simply means the many opportunities to move forward will now be with an association on much more secure foundations.

As chairperson, because I was so embroiled in the conference, I sometimes found it difficult to stand back and actually take in the proceedings as they unfolded. It was therefore great, as ever, to receive much positivity both during the three days and in emails since. I thought our speakers captured perfectly and brought together the overall theme from many different perspectives.

I congratulate both Cathy Day (Southampton) and Joe Brannigan (Edinburgh) on being elected onto the new board of directors. I’m sure they will be extremely active and bring ‘much to the table’ of the ‘new’ USHA.

Congratulatory words must also go to Vincent King (Brunel London) on his succession to Resources Officer/Treasurer. He has been exemplary since taking over the role from Scott Trim on a temporary basis and he’ll be at the heart of laying new and adding to the aforementioned secure foundations.

I must convey special thanks to Scott Trim (Coventry) as he formally stepped down at this year’s AGM. Some final words of advice Scott: never try and take on a mentalist!

What’s on the horizon? Two particular work streams I purposely focussed on at the AGM I wish to reinforce here as they will have significant influence on how USHA best moves forward in the short and longer terms, reflecting the ‘long live USHA!’ These are being at the heart of the new sector health and safety plan for 2016 to 2020, and our own forthcoming strategy and planning day.

In a new approach we’re currently surveying other associations and organisations for their views on health and safety within a successful higher education sector and USHA’s role in this. Your contributions to the planning and strategy day are still also welcome. These can be made through the representatives of the various groups and the networking and regional coordinators.  

Elsewhere, the fire group’s annual seminar is almost upon us. I wish John Crust, Andrew MacKay and all those attending every success with this. USHA’s October seminar themed around supporting staff who support the mental wellbeing of students is progressing extremely well. It’s a topic that’s resonating across the sector, reflected by the very positive dialogue we’re having with fellow associations looking to contribute and provide overall support, especially as it would seem the seminar will be one of the first specifically focussing the particular theme.

I’m now in my final year as the association’s chairperson. You’ll undoubtedly recognise I’m extremely proud to hold the position. I’m sure that when Cathy takes over the reins at the AGM in Leeds next year the ‘new’ USHA will certainly be living long.

With best wishes, Gary

Gary Wood MSc CMIOSH
University of Huddersfield

Feedback From Our Members - December 2015

Feedback from our members helps us to shape our future events.

Here is what you have been saying after the launch of the USHA Leadership & Management Guidance in Manchester.


“What a useful tool the new guidance is and will be”

“I learnt about influence and persuasion strategies and the way the USHA's documentation on leadership is being regarded by the law”

“I learnt about the importance of an industry approach to leadership and auditing standards. Everything felt much more professional and left you feeling you needed to go away and act”


“Very informative - to the point - and encouraging COOs, VCs to also attend was a great idea”

“I gained an understanding of Hasmap, and its use to help decide whether an external accreditation is appropriate for the institution”

“I learnt how USHA can benefit my organisation”


“The USHA events are critical for interacting and sharing experiences with colleagues in the same sector. Another excellent conference from Lynda and her team”

“The new leadership guidance is endorsed by 2 key players the HSE and the legal profession - well done USHA”


A print ready version of the Guidance and A4 display poster can be found on the USHA website

Competent Fire Door Inspections Save Lives And Money

Fire safety is my job so when I see fire doors as I walk around the University I am, even subconsciously, carrying out a quick risk assessment in my head.  Would that door, in a fire, provide adequate fire and smoke separation.  And another question, what is the purpose of that fire door?  Does it provide protection for an escape route or does it provide fire and smoke protection in sleeping quarters to keep students safe until they can be safely evacuated?  Does the fire door need to be a fire door or was it, like many, needlessly marked with a sign “Fire Door Keep Shut” by a lazy or misguided builder back when the building was constructed?

These are the questions that Fire Safety Officers and Estates Managers have to ask themselves on a daily basis.  And important questions they are too, after all every door is an asset and every door represents a maintenance issue.

The introduction of the 2005 “Fire Safety Order” made it necessary to find answers to these and many more questions, so there is obviously a legal responsibility.  But we who work in Universities have always had a social and moral responsibility to protect the users and occupants of our buildings in a fire situation too.  Those occupants or building users certainly won’t be thinking about fire separation and safe escape as they go around the building, so our job as fire safety professionals and Building Managers is to make sure that our fire doors provide effective protection.  That brings us to the identification of fire doors as well as suitable inspections and maintenance to meet our obligations.  Managing a modern university building, like any large and complex building, is a multi-faceted task.  There’s the safety of the occupants, ease of use of the facilities, protection of the assets and of course there are financial constraints that play a huge part in how we achieve the first three in that list.

So, turning to the doors at Sheffield, they need to provide safety, convenience and protection for building users and this needs to be delivered effectively and within budget.  Certainly if the doors are neglected they will fail on all counts so an effective maintenance programme is essential.  In my view fire safety must be handled only by those qualified to do so and the “Responsible Person “ is under a legal obligation to obtain assistance from the “Competent Person” as referenced by the Regulatory Reform “Fire Safety” Order 2005. 

My role here as the University Fire Safety Officer is to act as that competent person. But if elsewhere this ‘competency’ is in-house or is brought in as a consultant, they must provide legal compliance as specialists in their field and can be tasked with providing the services the University requires within a budget that has been set.  In other words the competent person will help to provide legal compliance, help identify which doors need to be fire doors, provide a detailed inspection on the suitability and condition of fire doors, provide clear and concise details of any remedial action that may be required and make recommendations about how the University can meet their objectives and therefore achieve cost savings in the future.

We must bear in mind that fire doors are unlike normal doors.  It cannot be assumed that every type of fire door is suitable for use in (say) a double door configuration or double swing action such as in the case of cross-corridor doors.  It is not just a case of changing one damaged door leaf, doors may be of differing core construction types and should be changed as a pair with doors having relevant fire performance certification.  Likewise with door hardware, the type of self-closing device that may be used will depend on the door core’s construction. 

Installation is another consideration and unlike normal doors a fire door must be installed In accordance with the fire door manufacturer’s instructions and BS8214:2008.  These are just three examples of the many issues that only competent people with relevant qualifications will be fully aware of.

At the University of Sheffield, we are ensuring that we have access to those correct competences and this is why we are working with the Fire Door Inspection Scheme.  We have thousands of doors, many of which are fire doors or escape doors and we need to ascertain, as part of our fire risk assessment and fire strategy, which doors should be fire doors.  We then need to identify and label them correctly with the mandatory fire door signage.  Then we require an effective inspection and maintenance programme, which means having access to people with the skills required to carry out repairs and installation of new fire doors as necessary.  This can only be done effectively and legally by having access to qualified, competent persons. 

Since meeting Neil Ashdown, General Manager of the Fire Door Inspection Scheme, at the USHA Fire Seminar we have enrolled key university employees on the FDIS Diploma in fire doors and the classroom based FDIS Fire Door Awareness Course. 

The Fire Door Inspection Scheme was launched in February 2012 as a joint initiative by the British Woodworking Federation Certifire Scheme and the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers.  It provides education and training to people that work with or advice in any way on fire doors and fire safety. 

Paul Salter is Fire Safety Officer at the University of Sheffield a role he took up after retiring from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue service where he worked for more than 29 years. 

Initially working as a firefighter Paul progressed through the ranks holding a number of positions including Fire Investigation Officer, Hazardous Materials Officer and CBRN response Officer.

For the last 15 years of his service he worked within the Technical Fire Safety section, progressing to the position of Head of Fire Safety within South Yorkshire.


Swallow EMP says it’s important not to look at fire evacuation in isolation

If you consider access and egress issues (The Equality Act) then fire evacuation should be covered BUT if you look at fire only then access and egress is not covered.

EMP is owned by Greg and Julia Pons. Greg first saw the Evac Trac CD7 evacuation chair in 2006 and realised  this was easier and safer to use than the standard evacuation chairs that people are familiar with.

It started to promote these and quickly realised that people with different disabilities require different solutions and that one design does not fit all!

You also must take into consideration the stairs and landings, as these again affect the evacuation chair that can be used. Is the person in a wheelchair, if yes, then should they transfer? What happens when they are outside without their wheelchair?

People were looking at fire evacuation in isolation and SwallowEMP realised that access and egress are part of the solution and should be equally considered.

It offers a range of portable products that are primarily powered and therefore go both up and down stairs. Available for people who are in wheelchairs or people with limited mobility, operate on Spiral straight and flared stairs.

Reduce manual handling by not asking people to carry people up and down stairs.

Swallow EMP are specialists in stair climbers and solutions that assist in moving people up and down stairs. Contact us for expert and impartial advice.

Our range also includes stair climbers to take goods up and down stairs as sack trolleys are often used and bumped up and down stairs with the potential for injury to the operator.

Questions to consider ……

Have evacuation chairs been purchased as part of a new build but without considering the needs of the disabled?

Should they be prevented from accessing certain buildings or floors because there is no way to evacuate them?

Whose responsibility is it to purchase the correct chairs that cover the needs of the individual?

Estates, Health & Safety, Fire, Disability Services to name but a few but do they all work together before making decisions

Have you got evacuation chairs and no volunteers who will use them?

Is training very time consuming as they require regular training and depend on the strength of the operator

A final testimonial...

“The lift at our school had broken down and required a long repair, our school has special needs students that would not have been able to attend their lessons as normal if we did not find another solution. After extended research I found a solution that would have solved all our problems, the Supertrack Major Tre70, a stair climber that would mean the students that were in a wheelchair would not have to get off the chair to get to other floors, this would cause less stress to the students and minimize any risks, the bonus was that it can also be used in a fire evacuation.

I called many companies but they all gave 2 – 3 months lead time as machines were booked, I then contacted EMP Swallows who were very sympathetic to my situation and organized a demo in the next few days, within a week we had the machine and training was provided the very same day. The machine is fantastic and the students enjoy using, it is reliable, faster than a stair lift and makes the students feel safe. Thank You Swallow”


How To Stay Top Of The Class In Fire Safety

Paul Adams, marketing manager at Hochiki Europe, explains why it is crucial to ensure life safety equipment installers and facilities managers in the education sector have access to the latest fire safety training.

Whatever the purpose of a building, having properly installed and maintained fire safety and emergency lighting equipment is vital to protect the wellbeing of occupants.

Nowhere is this more important than in education developments, where schools cater to some of the youngest and most vulnerable members of society, while universities contend with a spread of buildings and often transient visitors who may not be familiar with their surroundings.

Both the people fitting and those maintaining life safety systems have a duty to ensure the equipment offers optimum performance throughout its lifetime. This means making sure the technology is installed correctly and regularly maintained according to the requirements of the latest fire safety regulations.

The state of play
Despite the importance of correct installation and regulatory compliance, a new study from Hochiki Europe has found nearly half (49 per cent) of European fire safety equipment installers, including those serving the education sector, are not familiar with the latest fire and emergency lighting legislation. Moreover, almost two-fifths (39 per cent) of respondents have not received any installation or maintenance training in the last two years.

The lack of understanding revealed by the study is worrying. If a university’s life safety system has been installed or looked after improperly, then there is a higher risk of component failure during a genuine emergency, putting the safety and wellbeing of occupants at risk.

Getting up to speed
It is crucial that specifiers and installers both carry out regular research and undertake training to ensure they are aware of any upcoming changes to major regulations and guidelines. Fire safety and construction industry bodies offer a wealth of information on standards, as well as guidance on appropriate installation and maintenance of equipment.

Manufacturers can also offer support at the specification stage to help choose the most suitable life safety solutions for the particular needs of the education development in question. In addition, a number of manufacturers provide free training courses to help both installers and maintenance teams hone their skills and knowledge throughout their careers.

Ensuring top marks
Life safety and building regulations are becoming ever more rigorous, while fire and emergency lighting technology is constantly evolving to provide improved performance. Such change is intended not only to maintain the welfare of building users, but also to protect the development itself from costly damage in the event of a fire.

It is imperative that education specifiers ensure the people installing, inspecting and maintaining life safety systems in their buildings have the means to expand their technical knowledge and brush up their professional expertise through training and development. This way, they can ensure that their premises meet the latest standards, protecting the lives of students, staff and visitors, as well as safeguarding the long-term integrity of the building.


Sevron's Latest Offer For USHA Members


“Through education, we can help show the importance of health & safety; both from a business and personal point of view, and as a result help to start positioning it in a much more positive light”

Hello, my name is Scott Walker, and I am the Managing Director of Sevron; an online health & safety solutions provider and proud member of USHA. I would just like to talk a little about what my company does and why I am providing our latest online solution to universities in the U.K. for free. Details can be found on the USHA website under Members Offers.

Mention health & safety to someone and you will most likely be met with a rolling of the eyes and a comment about it always getting in the way. Whilst such views may seem harmless, I believe they are in fact deadly; serving to reinforce an incorrect, negative image of health & safety in the U.K., and ultimately contributing to increasing accidents. It is this image, of health & safety being a hindrance rather than a solution; that we as a company are striving to change.

How? Well, we do this in various ways. First, our solutions are designed to require minimal training and no previous health & safety experience. Next, our solutions empower users to make a real difference by providing them with visual updates and reports that allow them to highlight the many, very real benefits good health & safety brings. Fully mobile, intuitive, and automated, our solutions also significantly reduce the time and resources needed to achieve and maintain compliance.  All of this and much more combine to provide health & safety professionals with the tools, resources, and time needed to make real, demonstrable improvements to health & safety.

Ok, so if our solutions are so incredible, why am I providing them to colleges and universities for free? Well, at the risk of sounding patronising, I believe education is fundamental to what we are trying to achieve as a company. I believe that through education, we can help show the importance of health & safety; both from a business and personal point of view, and as a result help to start positioning it in a much more positive light.

Our solutions feature unlimited user numbers, thereby ensuring all of your students have the opportunity to participate. Furthermore, they will gain real, working experience of identifying risks and authoring reports, as well as a valuable, transferrable skill they can take with them into their working lives.

If you would like to receive the free version of our solutions, or simply get more information regarding how we can help your students, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind Regards
Scott Walker
Tel:01772 623182     Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ins & Outs December 2015

We welcome the following new members:
Full: Royal Academy Of Music
Affiliate: Sevron Ltd
Associate:  Scottish Association For Marine Science
                   UCFG College Of Football
Honorary:   Melanie Taylor

We welcome the following new appointments:
Heads/Directors of Health and Safety:

  • Dr Patrick Seechurn, University Of Manchester
  • Shila Agnew, Royal Academy Of Music
  • Matt Parkyn, Ravensbourne
  • Emma Osborne, Harper Adams University
  • Niamh Nelson, University Of Westminster
  • Rachel Doyle, University Of Strathclyde
  • Zarah Laing, Queen Mary University
  • Kim Ward, University Campus Suffolk

Acting/Interim Directors of Health and Safety:

  • Raj Sajadah, University Of Westminster
  • Alan Rose, Birmingham City University
  • Cathy Day, University Of Southampton

Occupational Health and Safety Managers:

  • Clinton Grant, Robert Gordon University                                                

Fire Managers/Officers:

  • Vaughan Martin, University Of Southampton
  • John Gallo, Cranfield University


We say ‘goodbye’ to:
Steve White, Fire Safety Adviser, University Of Southampton
Dean Spratt, Health, Safety, Environmental & Quality Manager, Ravensbourne
George Robertson, Chartered Safety & Health Practitioner, Glasgow School Of Art
Ian Pugh, Head Of Occupational Health & Safety Services, University Of South Wales
Harris Cooper, Head of Occupational Health and Environmental Safety, Robert Gordon University        

Those who have retired –
Melanie Taylor, Head Of Safety Services, University Of Manchester
Robert King, Estates H&S Adviser, Kent University
Terry Weller, Fire Officer, Goldsmiths University Of London
Alan Kendall, Director Of H&S, University Of Oxford


Top discussion threads on Hasnet in the last quarter (September – December 2015)

General Discussion Hasnet-Link

USHA Leadership Guidance  
Multi faith prayer rooms  
Stabbing incidents, fatal and non-fatal
Semi-conductor and/or solar energy research safety benchmarking opportunity
Sentencing Guidelines
Laboratories and pregnancy
Bomb threat guidance
Tumble dryers safety alert
Smoking bans and e-cigarettes
Alcohol & Drug Policy



Hasnet - Fire

Swimming pool occupancy
Weekly sounding of fire alarms during hours of occupancy as a test
Student accommodation fire safety
Fire Officer role
First responders in halls of residence using lone worker systems
Fire Risk Management System Auditing
Microwavable pop corn
Water mist suppression system standards
Removing Fire Extinguishers
Maintenance and Testing Guidance

Hasnet - Estates

Compliance Auditing
Flying Drones
PTW Flow Chart
Building Handover checklists
USHA Twitter account
Comments on USHA Fire guidance for testing and maintenance of fire safety related equipment



Hasnet - Radiology

IR Legislation and duties in France
Radiation Protection Course for RPSs, Radiation Workers and other persons
Optical quality platic / glass to shield camera in high flux 300kV electron field
HSE Proposed Implementation of EMF Directive - Public Consultation open.
EPR guidance documents
EC Non-Binding Practical Guide on the EMF Directive
Disposal companies for closed/sealed sources

No usage activity on:
Hasnet – Creative Industries
Hasnet – Fieldwork
Hasnet-Occupational Health


USHA Competency, Development and Training Group (CDT) News December 2015


The USHA CDT Groupwas established in late 2014 with the purpose of providing a range of resources to support the management and development of competencies across the sector.  The group has two specific workstreams; firstly, the creation of learning and development resources that can be used by universities to support the local delivery of high quality training and, secondly, support for the development of competency through guidance documentation and the development of specific frameworks.

  • General Staff Competency Working Group

Andy Mulligan from Durham University is currently leading a project looking at the development of a structured approach that will support the implementation of health and safety competency  frameworks. The aim of the project will be the development of a sector-wide guidance document, which will be further supported by an online toolkit containing a range of associated resources. The guidance document is under development and is expected to be submitted to the USHA Executive for initial comments early in 2016.

  • Leadership & Management Competency Working Group

A project group has been established to look at the development of a set of leadership and management competencies for each management tier identified in the newly launched “Leadership & Management of H&S in HE”. It is hoped that examples will be available for comment by the middle of next year.  
I am really pleased with the progress that has been made and I would like to thank everyone who has been contributing to one or more of the project groups. – You know who you are!

  • E-learning Working Group

An additional priority area for the CDT group is the provision of high quality and relevant e-learning and online training & development resources. The initial step for this project will be to carry out a scoping exercise, via institutional questionnaires, to assess the current usage level of e-learning as a training method, and investigate any potential gaps or needs where a sector-wide approach would add value. We are seeking volunteers to be part of this group, and if you are interested in getting involved, please get in touch.

Rachel Valentine,

USHA Estates Group is now involved with a Health & Safety Task Group


The 2014/2015 academic year has seen the USHA Estates Specialist Group continue to build from strength to strength. A successful annual seminar in March 2015 has opened up doors with the HSE and major UK client groups.

Myself and Richard Hutchinson, University of Leeds and Dennis Murphy, Imperial College London are now instrumental in the Health and Safety Task Group working with major UK clients and the HSE to shape how safety is managed in the construction sector.

Three specialist sub-groups are now well established and continue to drive change across the HE Sector in Asbestos Management, Statutory Compliance and implementation of CDM2015. A fourth specialist sub-group very much in its infancy has been formulated to focus on environmental and waste management in construction.  

As we move into the new academic year the group is planning its annual seminar; to be held on the 2nd March at the University of Liverpool London Campus in Finsbury Square in the heart of London’s professional and business communities. The theme of the seminar will focus on Health in Construction and include a review of CDM2015 one year on.

The planning of the asbestos roadshow in collaboration with the AUE raising awareness of asbestos removal projects has been progressing in the background and will be delivered this academic year.

A particular driver for the group this academic year is building partnerships and establishing collaborations with AUDE, the University Chemical Safety Forum and the USHA Fire Safety group to direct and shape how safety is managed across the HE Sector.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank and recognise the members of the Committee and Sub-Groups for their hard work and passion to change and influence safety performance across the HE Sector.