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Case Studies » Royal Holloway University of London

The challenge

Royal Holloway University of London campus at Egham, Surrey incorporates a range of science based courses; these include Bio Science, Geo Science, Physics and Earth Sciences. All are based on the main campus at Egham Hill. Typically the activities involve a range of flammable substances and in some instances a number of compressed gases; in Earth Sciences there are also activities that create rock dusts.

From the survey it was evident that the main area of concern surrounds the safe storage and handling of highly flammable & flammable substances that could generate a flammable atmosphere under certain conditions. Hence the risk assessment was undertaken in July 2014 to identify areas where the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) may apply.

The solution provided

Royal Holloway opened on 30 June 1886, since then the College has continued to grow in size and status to become one of the top research-led institutions in the country. The university houses around 9000 students in total.

It was found that whilst they had a number of measures in place that should significantly reduce the potential for incident, it was vital to confirm the classification and location of any specific hazardous zones, as defined under DSEAR, to support ongoing safety of plant operations.

An assessment of the site was carried out in compliance with the DSEAR regulations 2002 and the overall risk deemed low but with a number of improvements required. Specifically the key areas of concern were around storage improvements, insufficient ventilation, gas monitoring and dust capture. Additionally we suggested that improvements were needed around procedural controls such as risk assessments and safe operating procedures.

In working with RHUL, it was incumbent on us to support operations that lead to an acceptable level of residual risk and the report issued to management reflected the potential impact from hazardous substance use at the site. The survey looked at the key DSEAR risk areas across the site and each area assessed was considered in respect of process risk and potential hazards. The scope of the report covered both operational and storage issues for the site.

Significant findings from the site survey were set out in a detailed yet simple to follow report with recommendations to mitigate any hazards or support best practice. The primary objective was to ensure any potential DSEAR impact was suitably controlled.

We really appreciate your advice and expert knowledge; the action plan will help us to prioritise what needs to be done. Many thanks.
Alan Oakes
Fire Safety Officer

What Royal Holloway University of London said:

Many thanks for your help on this potentially complicated area of health & safety. Taking our staff through the survey and then laying out your findings and recommendations in such a clear format has really helped us.

Alan Oakes
Royal Holloway University of London