For some reason, the 3rd and 4th floor of J Block have completely lost power. This could be caused by a number of things and I am currently on site investigating the problem. The issue seems to be coming from a Distribution Cupboard on the 3rd floor, outside Sick Bay and seems to be connected with the feeder cable between the 2nd and 3rd floor. However, I cannot reset the breaker on the distribution board, meaning that there is a problem somewhere.
I’ve got Electricians here trying to sort the problem out, however, I have had to take battery powered Halogen Work Lights up to Sick Bay, which is our School’s Medical Centre, Sick Bay runs 24\7 so we need to keep the lights on for staff to work. They are doing well up in Sick Bay, as most medical equipment runs on batteries and for the couple of kids up there who rely on Medical Oxygen, are using cylinders instead of the mains oxygen, which is connected pipework, that connects to a manifold and then several cylinders of oxygen. As the 4th floor contains offices, the loss of power will not be too much of a concern tonight.
Update: The Electricians have said the fault is caused by a damaged cable, which they are going to replace. However, they will need to work on a “live system”, as we cannot really switch off the entire supply to the 2nd floor. This means that the electricians will have to take extra care, while replacing the wiring in the cabinet, Hopefully, in 45 minutes, the power will be restored and I can go back home. I was in the bath, when I got the call and had to quickly dry off, get dressed and drive back to work, to deal with the incident.
Josh has had his appendix removed successfully and is now recovering on the ward. He’s connected to a pain driver, which can automatically give him pain relief through his cannula. I am on my way to see him shortly.
So after the epic England Match yesterday, some of the boys on the Oaks and Acorns Unit have decided to make their own version of Vindaloo, to support England in Euro 2021. That meant that this afternoon, I had to go back into work to get the camcorders from the AV Cupboard in the Main School. (They have since been locked in the filing cabinet in the Unit Office and our Young People were fully supervised while using the cameras.
So far, the kids have recorded parts of the music video in the corridors on J Block and D Block and dragged staff into the video, including myself and Sam. The kids managed to catch me walking down the stairs singing along and Sam singing and dancing with a mop. I am going to try and drag other staff into the video, including a few teachers and our Head Karen!
I know Karen is very into encouraging the Performing Arts side of things and she will definitely get involved with the video., I might also suggest that we do a video for 3 Lions, which is something we can get the whole school involved with. (Staff and Pupils)
I have posted the link to the music video below. (The song was originally released in 1998. This UK No. 2 hit single is probably the most popular England Football Anthem ever and was by the band “Fat Les”. The music video for the song is a parody of the video for “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve, which was itself inspired by the music video for “Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack. The video features a drummer, Sumo Wrestlers, Hockey Players, loads of kids, a bloke with a piece of paper with the photo of David Walliams on it, a Vicar and a drunk woman, among many others.
Meanwhile, I am currently sat on the Children’s Assessment Unit at the Hospital with Josh. He may require an appendectomy and is currently on a drip of Paracetamol and fluids, while they decide if they need to operate or not. If he does, it will be likely that they will operate in the morning and of course, I will update the blog as soon as I can, regarding this. For now tho, I got some work I can do on my laptop, 🙂
Yesterday. football fever sweeped school yesterday, as the kids watched the England vs Scotland Match in the Sports Hall. Last night. Sam had setup the projector in the Sports hall, so everyone could watch the England – Scotland match. (Socially distantly of course) As the Boarders were walking from their units to D Block, (which is where the Sports Hall is) they were singing the Lightning Seeds – 3 Lions really loudly. At the time, I was on the phone to a parent and had to ask them to hold the line for a moment. I then opened the office window and stuck my head out the window to see what was going on. It was such an atmosphere as staff and boarders walked across the car park, to the Sports Block, singing 3 Lions. (The Sports Block is D Block) The Sports Block has the Sports Hall on the ground floor, an observation balcony and the Fitness Room on the 1st floor, and the basement; houses the 25 metre Indoor Swimming Pool.
Even our kids got in on the action, singing along to 3 Lions (Especially Josh!)
Most of the windows in J Block have England Flags flying , as the kids show their support for our home nation. Many of the boarders were also wearing their England Shirts last night too. The kids have also been playing 3 Lions \ Vindaloo from their phones, on their CD Players in their rooms and on their tablets. It just proves how proud our kids are of their home nation, I know we have boarders from all faiths and backgrounds, but last night that didn’t matter… The boarders and staff united last night, to cheer on England, and I was proud to be a part of it!
In the Sport Hall, the atmosphere was electric, as staff and kids watched the match, with loud cheers throughout the match, Shame the match was a draw! After the match, the kids were certainly excited after the tense and match. Some ver very tired, but the others were still very hyper. On the way back to J Block, some of the kids were singing Fat Les – Vindaloo as they walked across the carpark. Tryin to get the kids to settle down for bed, was quite a tricky task; but we got there eventually! Yesterday had to be the most exciting late \ Sleep In Shift I have had for a while!
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, requires that all businesses, blocks of flats and public buildings, (that have a fire alarm system) to be tested on a weekly basis. This to make sure that all the components are working properly.
For this, you will need to have your Fire Alarm Log Book at hand, to record the test, the date and the time the date the test was carried out and competent the person who has carried out the test. You will also need the key \ or the password for your Fire Alarm Panel and the test key for your Fire Alarm Call Points. If your alarm is connected to a ARC, (Alarm Receiving Centre) you will need to call them, to inform them of the test. Don’t forget to ring them back after the test has been conducted.
So lets perform the test.
Make sure everyone in the building is aware of the fire alarm test. We do ours at 8.45, every Wednesday morning, for the main school and 9am for the Residential Block. I use our Telephone System to make a PA Announcement, informing everyone that a fire alarm test is about to be carried out. I then make another announcement, once I have completed the test.
Put the key into the alarm panel and turn it, to activate Level 2 Access. (If not, you will need the password, to access Level 2 Mode.
Go to a Manual Call Point and insert the key into the hole at the bottom. This will drop the glass slightly and sound the alarm. (You need to do a different Call Point each week)
Go back to the Fire Alarm Panel and press Silence, followed by Reset.
While the panel is still in Level 2, press the evacuate button and make sure the sounders \ bells are activated.
Press the silence button, followed by reset.
Document the test results in the Fire Alarm Log Book
Turn and remove the key from the panel. (If appropriate)
Contact the ARC and inform them that you have completed the test. (If appropriate)
Fire Extinguishers, where would we be without them? They are an important piece of Health and Safety equipment, to keep our schools, homes businesses and vehicles safe. But what are the different types and what are they used for? In this guide, I will take you through each category extinguisher, what’s in it and what it is used for.
Let’s start with the basics. A Fire Extinguisher is basically a canister, which contains the extinguishing agent in one capsule and either compressed air or another compressed gas, such as Nitrogen in another capsule. (Except C02) Once you have removed the safety tag, pulled the pin and squeezed the handles, the compressed gas or air, will spray the extinguishing agent at high pressure, through the nozzle on the neck of the extinguisher.
OK, now we know how they work, let’s look at the different types of extinguisher.
Water Fire Extinguishers are just that… More or less, the same water that comes from the tap. Water cools burning material and is very effective against fires in furniture, fabrics, etc. (including deep-seated fires). Water-based extinguishers cannot be used safely on energized electrical fires or flammable liquid fires.
These extinguishers are used on organic materials, such as wood, paper and fabrics.
This is a powder-based agent that extinguishes by separating the four parts of the fire tetrahedron. It prevents the chemical reactions involving heat, fuel, and oxygen, thus extinguishing the fire. During combustion, the fuel breaks down into free radicals, which are highly reactive fragments of molecules that react with oxygen. The substances in dry chemical extinguishers can stop this process.
These extinguishers are used on organic materials, such as fabrics, paper and wood) paints, flammable gasses, (EG: Butane and Methane) flammable materials, such as Magnesium or Lithium and electrical equipment that is not energised.
Foam Extinguishers are applied to fuel fires as either an aspirated (mixed and expanded with air in a branch pipe) or non aspirated form to create a frothy blanket or seal over the fuel, preventing oxygen reaching it. Unlike powder, foam can be used to progressively extinguish fires without flashback and also cannot be inhaled, thus preventing breathing difficulties if breathed in.
These extinguishers are used on organic materials (wood, paper and fabrics) only
Carbon Dioxide (C02)
These extinguish fire by displacing oxygen CO2 or inert gases), removing heat from the combustion zone They are referred to as clean agents because they do not leave any residue after discharge, which is ideal for protecting sensitive electronics, aircraft, armored vehicles and archival storage, museums, and valuable documents. This is often seen in Server Rooms, Plant Rooms and other areas, where there is sensitive equipment. It is normally connected to a Fire Suppression System.
The extinguisher discharge the clean agent through and hose and out through a horn at the end of the hose. Because CO2 is extremely cold, users are told not to hold the horn, when discharging.
These extinguishers can be used on flammable liquids and energised electrical fires.
These extinguishers are more often than none, seen in Commercial Kitchens, on as Fire Bottles on Diesel Trains. (On the underside of the train)
Wet chemical (Potassium Acetate, Potassium Carbonate, or Potassium Citrate, extinguishes the fire by forming an air-excluding soapy foam blanket over the burning oil through the chemical process of saponification (a base reacting with a fat to form a soap) and by the water content cooling the oil below its ignition temperature.
Sometimes, the extinguishers may be in the form of a Fire Bottle, for automatic or manual discharge. This is common where there are Deep Fat Fryers in a Commercial Kitchen, (Activated, by pulling the pin out of it’s casing) or mounted to the Chassis of a Diesel Train, which can be automatically discharged by the Train Management System, or manually activated by pulling a pin. This type of equipment can be classed as Fire Suppression, which is a type of sprinkler system, which uses a wet or dry chemical, to extinguish a fire.
These extinguishers can be used on organic materials and cooking oils.
How to use an extinguisher
Fire extinguishers should only be used if the fire is small and that it will not put YOU or anyone else in IMMEDIATE DANGER. If you don’t feel that you can tackle the fire yourself, or there is a lot of smoke, Evacuate the building and call the Fire Brigade, by dialing 999.
All extinguisher have the same operating instructions, using the “P.A.S.S Protocol”.
Pull out the Pin that is locking the handles
Aim at the base of the fire. (This is where the fire is at it’s hottest.)
Squeeze the handles
Sweep side to side
The difference between Wet and and Dry Risers
There is one main difference between a Wet and a Dry Riser. One is connected to the mains water supply and is constantly kept at Mains Pressure (Wet Riser) and the other is a empty tank, which is connected by a hose, to a Fire Engine or to a Fire Hydrant.
All Risers have the same principle, regardless if they are wet or dry. The system contains a pipe, which runs up the inside of the building. In most buildings, the connection valve is kept in a cupboard, which requires a Firefighter to break the glass door, to connect the hose. Then, the valve is turned and water will fill the hose. At the very top of the building, there is a Air Valve, to release any air, which has got in the system and could cause a airlock. This could prevent the Riser from working properly.
Wet Risers require mains pressure to work and are normally connected to the mains water, which is fed from the nearest Fire Hydrant. In some buildings, there is a water tank present, which the Wet Riser feeds from. Connecting your Wet Riser to the domestic Water Supply is not practical, as the dimensions of the pipe are too small, to allow enough water to flow through.,
Dry Risers on the other hand, do not require connected to the main supply. However, there may be a nearby Fire Hydrant, which can be connected to the inlet, by Fire Fighters. If there is no hydrant near by, Fire Fighters can connect the other end of the hose to the Fire Engine and use stored water, from the tank on the Fire Engine itself.
In my school, we have mainly Dry Risers, but there are Wet Risers in D Block, which is where the Gym, Swimming Pool, Drama Studio and Dance Studio are.
Before we conclude, I will mention that Fire Sprinkler Systems are a form of Wet Riser, as the system is always pressurized and is activated when the heat builds to a dangerous level, which causes the vapour in the glass plug (Which is connected to the sprinkler head) to evaporate. This causes the plug to shatter, allowing water to flow.
Dry Systems are usually used in Fire Suppression Systems, in Server Rooms and Plant Rooms. This system is similar, except the system is not pressurised and there is no plug on these systems. Once the system detects rising smoke, the system switches off any ventilation systems, sounds an alarm and opens a valve, which allows the dry agent to flow through the sprinklers, at high pressure.
Hazchem symbols give an indication of the hazard you may find in cleaning products, you use on a day to day basis. They can warn us about various hazards, such as flammable chemicals, chemicals which may explode if subjected to heat or chemicals which are harmful to the environment. When ever using chemicals, you must always wear the correct PPE. (Personal Protective Equipment)
In this guide, we will look at the symbols and what hazard they present.
the Flammable Hazchem Symbol is used for products that may easily catch fire, when exposed to heat or a naked flame. Items that may be flammable include: Aerosol Canned Polish, etc. These chemicals need to be kept in a cool and dry environment, away from heat sources and naked flames. Petrol and Diesel are a an example of a chemical which catches fire very easily. It must be stored properly and away from naked flames or electrical equipment.
Some chemicals are corrosive to the skin and can cause chemical burns. A good example of this is the Acid Based Toilet Maintainer we use on our toilets and urinals. The chemical uses Hydrochloric Acid to burn away limescale. Hydrochloric Acid can burn the skin and cause lasting damage. It can also cause blindness, if you get it in your eyes. It’s strong stuff, so the correct PPE must be worn.
Toxic to the Environment
Chemicals that are toxic to the environment, can cause long term ecological damage, if it enters the ground or is allowed to enter a water passage, without being diluted first. Oils and Petrol are a couple of good examples of chemicals cannot be put down the drain, even if diluted. They require specialist disposal at a specialist facility. Asbestos is another substance that is toxic to the environment.
I mentioned Asbestos above and that it is dangerous to the environment. It is also a Respiratory Sensitizer and can cause long term damage to your lungs.You only need to inhale micro particles for it to cause problems. Thankfully, the effects are not immediate, but may appear in later years.
I don’t think I need to go into detail on chemicals that are explosive, if exposed to fire (and or) high levels of heat. However, chemicals in aerosol cans are likely to explode if exposed to high heat or are punctured.
Oxidising products may cause or intensify fire. Oxidising materials can also cause explosions; therefore, they should be treated as flammable. Oxygen tanks and some cleaners, such as Ammonia and turpentine, will bear this symbol.
Flammable gasses, such as Butane, will easily catch fire and also may explode, if allowed to heat to a high temperature. Butane should be stored in it’s own cage, well away from the buildings if possible and smoking and naked flames must not be used in the area where the cylinders are stored.
Under Pressure (Compressed Gasses)
Containers bearing this symbol are pressurised, such as fire extinguishers and gas canisters. They contain gases that can explode if heated. It also applies to products containing refrigerated gases, which can cause serious cryogenic burns when exposed to skin.
Chemicals that are irritant, may cause itching to skin, It may also irritate the eyes, should the chemical is allowed to get in your eyes.
Chemicals that are toxic, may cause severe illness (or even death) if swallowed or allowed to get into your bloodstream. Chemicals that are toxic, may include Rat Poison, Bleach, Caustic Soda, Acids, etc. These chemicals can cause a severe risk to your life or may cause severe and irreversible damage to your body.
So next time you are about to do a cleaning task, look at the bottle of the chemical you are using and check for the above Hazchem Symbols. You should also make sure you read the COSHH Data Sheets, to check if there are any special precautions you need to take, when using chemicals. Ultimately, you need to make sure that you wear the correct PPE at all times, when using chemicals and you must ALWAYS follow the instructions on the bottle \ COSHH Data Sheets.
PPE, stands for Personal Protective Equipment and can be applied to many roles in the workplace. For instance, in the kitchen, PPE may include Chefs Whites or an apron, a hat or a hair net. The PPE is designed to protect you from injury or from getting messy. As a Site Manager, I wear PPE on a daily basis. My Steel Toe Capped Boots is the piece of PPE I wear the most.
So let’s look at PPE you may be using on a daily basis. (Please note, the below items are not a complete list of required PPE.
Goggles for use with with lawn mowers and strimmers
Thick Gardening Gloves
PPE In Plant Rooms
Comfortable loose fitting clothing
Flat Comfortable shoes
A Hard Hat
Gloves for working with hot pipework or valves
PPE for use with Tools
Comfortable loose fitting clothing
Steel Toe Capped Boots
PPE is a legal requirement, under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. Your School insurance will not cover you, if you do not use appropriate PPE at work. If you are not sure what PPE to use, please speak to your School Headteacher or your Local Council’s Health and Safety Department for advice.
What is COSHH? COSHH? It is a set of regulations, for controlling substances, which could be hazardous to health. COSHH stands for Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health and came into force in 2002.
The regulations are designed to prevent or reduce workers exposure to hazardous substances by:
The first thing you are going to need to do, is have a wonder round your workplace and identify the risks. IE: Do you have cleaning chemicals? Do you store combustible materials such as petrol? Do you store poison, such as rat poison? Once you have identified the risks, you next need to identify how you will control the risk, by using proper PPE, or by using a safer substitute. All the information needs to be entered on your COSHH Risk Assessment.
COSHH in Schools, does not only apply to cleaning chemicals. It can also apply to chemicals used in the Science Labs too. You should liaise with the Head of Science or your Lab Technician, to make sure that your lab is compliant with COSHH.
Next, you need to make sure you have the Data Sheets for the chemicals you are using. Data Sheets are important, as they tell you:
The name of the chemical. (Eg: Jangro Daily Toilet Maintainer)
The ingredients in the chemical
Hazards associated with the chemical
So lets break this down and look at each item in the list above.
The name of the chemical This is quite obvious and I don’t think I need to elaborate on this 🙂
The ingredients in the chemical The Data Sheet, will tell you what the active ingredients are for the chemical.
Hazards associated with the chemical The chemical may have hazards associated with it, which will be listed on the Data Sheet.
Usage instructions The Data Sheet, will provide clear instructions on how to properly use the chemical. This includes the correct PPE. (Personal Protective Equipmment)
Storage Instructions The Data Sheet will tell you how to store the chemical. For instance, the chemical may require it’s container to be kept upright and in a cool and dry environment,
Emergency Instructions The Data Sheet will tell you what to do in an emergency, such as a spillage or if you are exposed to the chemical. (IE: you get the chemical in your eyes.
Disposal Instructions The Data Sheet will give clear instructions on how the chemical is to be disposed. For instance, it may indicate that the chemical is not safe to be washed down the drain) It will also tell you if the container can be recycled or not.
You should make sure that all chemicals are kept in a secure environment. In my School, we have a COSHH Store in the Basement of B Block. and in the Basement in J Block. All COSHH Stores are kept locked and the keys are only accessible to those who need access as part of their job. In each store, there is a folder, which contains the COSHH Data Sheets.
Quit often in my job, I come across chemicals that Teachers bring in from home and “stash” under the sink in their classroom. Not only is this dangerous, (as children can easily get their hands on the chemical) but also a Health and Safety risk. You should always use the same chemicals universally on site. (All our chemicals come from Jangro, so we use their line of products.) Chemicals found under the sink in a Classroom or in a Teacher’s cupboard, are confiscated and destroyed. Usually, the Teacher involved gets a stern ticking off from me. However, normally they ignore what I say and I end up going round in the same circle, on a regular basis.
So that’s my guide to COSHH. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email.
What are Risk Assessments? A Risk Assessments looks at the daily tasks in your school \ business and looks at what the risks there may be, in these activities and the steps we can take to mitigate the risks involved. For instance, lets look at a couple of the risks in the kitchen, on the Boarding Units and how we can minimise them. Risk Assessments are a legal requirement, under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and must be reviewed yearly or as the risks changes \ additional risks are identified.
Remember: Each activity \ task, may require it’s own Risk Assessment.
Trips and Falls
Trips and falls can happen in a kitchen, due to water on the floor from washing up, or maybe someone had spilt water on the floor and had been careless and not cleaned it up. Possible other hazards, may include electrical cables trailing, equipment or aprons left lying about or even a fall from climbing on a worktop to reach for something. So… How do we manage the risk?
For trips and falls, spills should be cleaned up immediately, using the correct colour coded cleaning equipment and a wet floor sign is to be put in place. Cabling is a hazard and should not be trailing. Equipment that needs to be plugged in at floor level, should be placed as near to the appliance as possible and spare cabling should be tucked behind the appliance. Appliances on the worktop, should also be plugged into a socket as near too the appliance as possible. You should never climb onto a worktop to reach for an item in a cupboard. You should use a 2 step kitchen ladder or an “Elephant’s Foot” for this purpose.
A fire in the kitchen can be deadly and can easily escalate out of control. Ofte, fires start when an appliance has been left unattended, such as a oven or a microwave. Some fires start, due to electrical faults or by accident. Fire is a serious hazard, which can have serious consequences, so the risks need to be dealt with promptly.
Firstly, the kitchen should have a Fire Extinguisher, (Normally Carbon Dioxide or Dry Powder) and a Fire Blanket. Both of these appliances need to be checked regularly and serviced \ replaced as needed. Appliances should never be left unattended and should always be switched off when you leave the kitchen. All kitchen equipment should be PAT Tested each year and should also be checked on a daily basis. Equipment that is faulty or damaged should be replaced. Where there is the risk of an accidental fire starting. (IE: Someone has put the toaster on and due to a fault, it does not pop up, starting a fire.) Thankfully, there are members of staff nearby at all times, as the kitchen is next to the staff base, which is constantly manned.
Cooking can cause burns, which can be serious. This could be caused by taking something out of the oven, a scald from the kettle or from touching a hot surface. (IE: The ring on the cooker.) Burns need prompt treatment and are not normally serious, if dealt with quickly. So how do we manage the risk?
Firstly, it’s all about PPE. (Personal Protective Equipment) In this case, we need oven gloves to take a very hot pie out the oven. The gloves will protect our hands from the heat and allow us to pick the tin up and safely take it out the oven. Kettle scalds are common and we do not allow younger pupils to make hot drinks in the kitchen. The Hydro-Boil in each kitchen, is above the sink, which is high enough to stop them from being used. Also, after meals and after bedtime, the hydro-boils are switched off at the wall and are emptied.
On the older boys units, our pupils are shown how to safely use the hydro-boils by a member of staff. Pupils who may not be safe to use the hydro-boils, must ask a member of staff or another boarder to make them a hot drink. The hydro boils are positioned just above the draining board, so that a cup can be placed on it and lowers the risk of a scald or a boarder dropping a hot mug of water.
Our Young People are not allowed to use the cooker, while unsupervised. We have a key switch on the wall, which isolates the supply to the cooker. (including the oven) When being used for a group activity, (such as baking) there are always 2 members of staff in the kitchen to keep an eye. Staff also know how to deal with burns, by running the burn under a cold tap for 10 minutes and to take appropriate First Aid measures, depending on the degree of severity.
So now we have looked at a couple of the risks and identified the risks and the measures we can take, it’s time to write the risk assessment.
First, you will need a Risk Assessment Template. If you do not have a Risk Assessment Template, you can download the blank one I use for my school, below (Word Document) and add rows to it as you need to.
First, we need to look at the hazards, such as trips and falls, fires or scalds. Who may be affected by the activity? Staff, Pupils or Visitors? Then you need to outline your current controls, such as staff supervision, fire fighting equipment and PPE. Next, you need to identify who will carry out and enforce the controls. This could be one person, such as a Unit Leader or several members of staff. If needed, you can use job titles instead of names, if several staff are to control the risk. IE: Care Staff or Head of Care) Finally, state the date the controls came into force.
Now your Risk Assessment is complete, save it and print it. In my School, we have several copies of some Risk Assessments. I have a folder with them in, which is kept in my office and there is also copies in each Unit Office, (as appropriate) and in the Health and Safety Folder in the safe, over in the main school.
Risk Assessments are here protect individuals from harm, so it is important that your Risk Assessments are in place and are reviewed on a regular basis. If the risk changes, make sure that your Risk Assessment is updated too!