Consumers in most areas can see how well a food business complies with food hygiene regulations through ‘Scores on the Doors’ schemes run by their local authority.
The primary purpose of these ‘Scores on the Doors’ schemes is to allow consumers to make informed choices about the places in which they eat out and from which they purchase food, and, through this, to encourage businesses to improve hygiene standards. Journalists also make use of the ‘Scores on the Doors’ system to publicise the standards of food businesses.
Local authority enforcement officers are responsible for inspecting food businesses to ensure that they meet the legal requirements on food hygiene. Under ‘Scores on the Doors’ schemes, each food outlet is given a hygiene rating or hygiene score that reflects the inspection findings and may display this in their premises where consumers can see it. Scores are also available via websites where consumers can see the scores for all the businesses in the local area.
While working in the kitchens of a restaurant chain, a 17-year-old boy tripped, slipped and consequently immersed his left hand into a fryer unit full of hot oil, causing severe burns to his arm, parts of the chest and neck.
On the day of the accident, he was socialising outside the restaurant when one of the restaurant supervisors approached and pressurised him to work earlier than his normal shift, as the restaurant was busy. The boy wanted to go home to collect his chef’s jacket but was told there was no time. Instead, he was given a normal short-sleeved shirt and another member of staff’s greasy pair of shoes, which were ill fitting. The front soles were badly worn and damaged.
The kitchen floor was contaminated with grease and staff had placed cardboard sheets on the floor to absorb it, which was common practice at the restaurant. He tripped on cardboard, and as he tried to regain balance he slipped and plunged his left arm into the fryer unit, which was located at the end of the cooking line.
The underlying problem of the greasy floor had not been dealt with. Putting down cardboard only introduced another tripping hazard, which was made worse by the unsuitable footwear.
Facilities management companies, managing agents and landlords need to be aware that they are responsible for the premises that they manage (especially the common areas of these premises). This relates to all relevant aspects of health and safety, including fire safety.
A Landlord has received and a four month custodial sentence for failing to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The London Fire Brigade prosecuted the defendant after a fatal fire resulted in the death of an individual at one of the many properties owned by the accused.
It was discovered that the defendant or his company had never completed a fire risk assessment and there were no provisions made for fire safety, smoke detection, emergency signs and many escape routes which would be used in the event of a fire were blocked.
As well as being sent to prison, the company of the guilty party was fined £21,000, plus costs.
If you need assistance with Fire Safety or any aspect of Facilities Management Safety, take a look here.
Failure to control the work (at height) of contractors led to a large waste management company being fined £100,000 (with costs of £22,000) for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, Etc Act 1974 (HSWA) by failing to ensure the safety of those not in its employment. The contractor was also fined £70,000 (with costs of £22,000) after pleading guilty to contravening Section 2(1) HSWA by not ensuring its employees’ safety. The accident followed an attempt to remove the gearbox that was attached to a large fan (9 ½ metres diameter) set at a height of ten metres. The removal of the gearbox was proving problematic and appropriate hydraulic equipment should have been brought in. However, four workers stood on the fan blades and rocked them up and down. When the fan released itself, a worker overbalanced and fell ten metres, through a mesh that could not hold his weight, to a pallet below. The worker sustained serious injuries, including broken ribs, a punctured lung and a hernia. The worker fell onto a pallet of copper pipes, which absorbed much of the impact. It is likely that he would have died if he had landed on the floor.
COSHH (the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002) is often an area for concern for businesses, especially smaller businesses. It an area of health and safety that is poorly understood and is viewed with mysticism.
Like all aspects of health and safety, small businesses need a considered approach to COSHH, but they must not assume that it does not apply to them or that it does not affect them. A simple process would be:
- review the substances present of site
- assess the hazards associated with them
- reduce the number of hazardous substances
- replace hazardous substances with safe (or at least safer) alternatives
- assess the risk from the use of the reduced inventory of substances
- implement control measures
- enforce the appropriate use of control measures
Above all, apply common sense. For further advice and guidance, please contact us.
Although it is the employer’s responsibility to carry out the Fire Safety Risk Assessment (FSRA) and to make suitable and suffiicient arrangements for the overall management of fire safety, it is still very much everybody’s responsibility to reduce the risk of fire. Employers and employees have simple, but important, contributions to make. Here are a few simple ways in which we can all make our workplaces are safer in this regard.
Sources of ignition
- Ensure that sources of ignition are kept away from flammable materials. For example take care when using portable heaters that they are away from waste bins, fabrics and other furnishings. Remember that all electrical devices get hot and make sure they are well ventilated.
- Always report electrical defects and do not use defective electrical equipment.
Environmental Health Officers (EHO) have closed an Indian restaurant in Barrow upon Soar, near Loughborough, after a routine inspection revealed that the restaurant was operating with filthy conditions in the kitchen and in the storage areas.
During the visit in June 2009 they found a build up of dirt and food debris, indicating that basic everyday cleaning of the premises was not being carried out to the required standards.
As a result of the inspection, Charnwood Borough Council decided to prosecute the owner of the restaurant. The owner pleaded guilty to five food safety offences at Loughborough magistrates court in February 2010, these included:
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has been fined £25,000 for exposing its employees to the risk of infection from the potentially deadly E.coli O157 bacteria.
Safety in Laboratories is an important issue
On 9 October 2007, a worker was transferring the bacteria from a laboratory to a discard area at the HPA’s Centre for Infections in Colindale, North London. The bug was contained inside metal bins, which were placed inside a transfer trolley.
As the worker was lifting one of the bins, his hand slipped, and the unit’s lid fell open, which allowed more than 100ml of the bacteria to spill onto the floor in the discard area. There were two other employees in the room, and all of them were put at risk of contamination, although none of them became infected.
Fire safety doesn’t take a holiday, even if you do. So why not take a few simple steps to help to keep you and your family safe!
Don’t ignore fire safety on holiday – just do some simple checks and know the “lie of the land”.
If possible, check that your holiday accommodation is equipped with smoke detectors and sprinkler systems when you book. If it doesn’t, you might want to think about taking your own portable smoke detector.
When you arrive, look for a primary and alternate escape route from your room. If a fire occurs at night, it will be easier to get out if you know where you’re going.
If the worst happens and a fire breaks out:
- Close the door of the room where the fire is, if you can do so safely, and close all the doors behind you as you leave. This will help to delay the spread of fire and smoke.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) have suggested that motorists who do not use screenwash for their windscreen wipers risk getting potentially deadly legionnaires’ disease!
The warning comes after health experts apparently discovered that professional drivers are five times more likely to be infected with the dangerous legionella bug. The suggestion is that legionella will thrive in the warm, stagnant environment of the windscreen washer bottle if screenwash is not added to discourage its proliferation. According to the survey, legionella bacterium were found in one in five cars that did not have the additive, but in no cars that did. Legionella infection is contracted when small droplets of contaminated water are breathed in (hence it’s long term association with cooling towers, etc). It is not spread person to person.