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Safety alerts in health and social care

Safety alerts are issued when there is a specific safety issue that without immediate action being taken could result in a serious or fatal injury. When dangerous equipment, processes, procedures or substances are identified during or after an investigation, or as the result of a notification from Europe or industry, HSE may need to notify users and other stakeholders of the danger.

HSE may also need to notify other users of the steps that need to be taken to rectify the fault or protect people against it; a safety alert is one way of achieving this.

The most recent HSE alerts for health and social care are listed below:

Scalding risk from domestic hot water systems - Safety alert

March 18, 2014

HSE is issuing this safety alert to individual homeowners, tenants, landlords and the plumbing industry. It may also be of interest to care home owners and providers of domiciliary care. This is to raise awareness of a rare but potentially serious scalding risk from domestic hot water systems which include a fixed all-electric or part-electric immersion heater in conjunction with a plastic cold water storage cistern or ‘tank' located in the roof space. The alert follows two strikingly similar fatal incidents in the last four years where a large volume of near boiling water poured through bedroom ceilings onto occupants sleeping below.

Management of the risks from legionella within water systems

September 19, 2012

This safety notice draws attention to key aspects of the proper management of the risks from legionella in a wide range of systems, such as hot and cold water systems in buildings, spa pools and a range of industrial processes that use water for cooling, washing, misting etc. It is informed by a review of outbreaks in Britain over the past ten years which showed that poor control continues to create a risk of outbreaks. Leisure centres with spa pools and care homes are among the businesses being urged to do more to protect workers and members of the public from legionella risks.

Vertical lifting platforms or lifts for people with impaired mobility

June 18, 2012

Potential danger from inappropriate use of emergency over-ride devices at the doors of lifting platforms intended for use by people with impaired mobility. Potential for access to be gained to lift well (shaft) when lifting platform/ lift car is at different level. Action required to ensure safe procedures are in place to prevent misuse of landing door unlocking keys except in an emergency situation where access to the lift well is required.

Safety notice - Potential failure of window restrictors

March 19, 2012

Potential failure of window side-stay restrictors in health and social care premises. Action required where there are people vulnerable to the risk of falls to prevent falling from height due to failure of the window side-stay mechanism.

Safety notice - Provision of key clinical information on laboratory specimen request forms

December 9, 2011

Recent investigations have identified there has been lack of sufficient relevant clinical details being provided on specimen request forms. This has resulted in samples being handled at the wrong biological containment level with resulting increased risk of infection to laboratory staff.

Safety bulletin - health and social care providers

February 8, 2010

Alerting health and social care providers to potential risks to service users likely to self-hoist and transfer without the assistance of a carer(s).

Further information

Other organisations also issue safety alerts and warnings about safety issues in health and social care:

Updated 2015-09-10