Zero Injuries for a Facilities Management Company?

David Parker, Executive Director for EMCOR UK, firmly believes this isn’t crazy talk.

When safety performance is outstanding enough to achieve the recognition of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the British Safety Council, perhaps most companies would do more of the same, repeating the activities of the previous period, hoping to maintain the same standards and garner the same results.

At EMCOR UK, hope is not a strategy – challenging the norm and constant improvement, is.

Challenging the norm to achieve outstanding safety performance is more than a concept. At EMCOR UK, we not only believe that it’s only by actually changing and constantly improving the approach and attitude toward safety that you’ll break through to zero injuries, we’ve been putting it into practice and progressing toward “zero” for years now.

Getting to zero takes far more than process and procedure, although both are a crucial element of getting to good safety performance. At EMCOR UK we strongly believe that frontline leadership is needed to achieve the required change in behavioural safety.

As an Executive Director with safety responsibility for 3,500 employees, I fully understand safety is an essential part of every working day, no matter who the employee or what the role is; it’s an important focus for me each and every day. Certainly it’s important that our 2,800 team members who regularly engage in a manual task feel the same. Risk perception is naturally increased when you enter a hazardous or high risk environment. But how do people feel when conducting a safety patrol or vacuuming a carpet – tasks perceived to be generally lower safety risks? Interestingly, statistics indicate that oftentimes injury occurred amongst staff performing soft services where they did not perceive there to be a significant risk. So how do you change the behaviour, and make all people safety aware at all times?

EMCOR UK’s journey to zero injuries started eight years ago. At that time, we began a programme of improving near miss reporting in order to more accurately understand where the risks were. Our approach included increased visibility of leadership through our “cultural checks”. A “cultural check” is designed as a “stop and talk” session with our employees and supply chain partners. We discuss the safety measures being deployed, check Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and risk assessments and method statements, but more importantly we engage in a conversation about safety. To date we have conducted over 4,000 of these one-on-one sessions across our management teams.

To enhance our leadership team’s awareness of why setting a good culture locally is a crucial element we introduced EMCOR UK’s annual Safety Masterclass event. At these events we take 250 of our senior team members through a variety of situations including interactive role play scenarios in court rooms and emergency procedure situations. Guest speakers, who have experience of the adverse impact poor safety behaviour can have on individuals and organisations, are asked to share their learning. When asked afterwards which items had the most effect, it is always the personal impact stories that resonate with the most impact. So why, if we can relate to these stories and know that these injuries can happen do we not think more about preventing them? Why do many of us learn the painful way?

As we seek to move closer to zero injuries it is essential to ensure our supervisory personnel are absolutely committed to delivering a safe working environment. That is why in 2015, EMCOR UK is staging our largest Safety Masterclass in its history. As part of our continued focus on behavioural safety, EMCOR UK has invited all staff at the supervisor level to participate. Our guest speaker will be Dr Tim Marsh, who is an expert in the field of behavioural culture change in Safety.

Supervisors have a critical role to play in organisational safety, as they allocate the tasks to employees and have initial responsibility for the environment in which our teams operate. Frontline supervision can, therefore, be the weakest – or help to be one of the strongest, links. They have one of the most important roles, yet may be the least qualified to achieve the task. For example, how many supervisors have been promoted for being a great ‘doer’? Supervision needs a range of skills, not least a base level understanding of the principles and interventions of safety, along with good leadership qualities and, perhaps most importantly, an ability to intervene and say ‘stop’. EMCOR UK will be training our employees in both the people skills to act as effective supervisors in safety, as well as to be competent technically. If we can engage our supervision level and get our teams to believe how critically important their roles are, then the tables begin to turn. EMCOR UK then will have 1000+ ‘safety leaders’ – a much better ratio with which to achieve that final push towards “zero injuries”.

Together as a company, EMCOR UK is committed to delivering a safe environment for our staff, customers, and everyone whose lives we touch.


DeckWright solves slippery decking problem

It’s a known fact that timber decking can be lethal when wet. Yet more and more businesses want to use decking as an outdoor surface because it looks appealing and is good value. DeckWright Anti-Slip is the solution, significantly reducing the risk of slipping whilst retaining the natural charm of a timber deck.

Made in the UK by WJ Group, DeckWright Anti-Slip is chosen by all manner of businesses and organisations including schools, nurseries and children’s play areas. Whether starting with brand new decking or resolving a problem that exists with previously laid decking, DeckWright has a format for all eventualities, adding a reassuring grip by applying a specially formulated resin and aggregate mixture into the specified grooves. DeckWright can even be applied to composite decking which is often slippery when damp or dirty.

Very low minimum orders and good value pricing make DeckWright a cost effective and easy to use solution, reducing the risk of injury for many organisations. Fully tested and approved, DeckWright can be relied upon in the heaviest of traffic areas and will perform at its best for the life of the decking.

A recent case study of Old MacDonalds Nursery in East Yorkshire showcases the benefits of DeckWright in locations where children are present:

Located in Lund, East Yorkshire, Old MacDonalds Nursery offers day care for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years old. Situated on a farm, there is plenty of outdoor playtime throughout the year in all weathers. The nursery enjoys a nature and adventure play area amongst some trees and the staff were concerned about how slippery the moist, leafy surface could become.

Nursery manager and owner, Liz Walker decided to create a new timber decking area around the base of one of the trees and she chose DeckWright Anti-Slip decking. Here’s what she had to say:

“The children feel very happy and secure to run and play all over the new non-slip decking, even in wet weather. I weighed up the pros and cons of using an anti-slip decking product; aware of the possibility of the odd graze. But this has never been a problem.

DeckWright Anti-Slip was very easy to install and our joiner could quickly cut it to size whilst fitting it, using normal tools. The installation was complete in one day.

Not only are the children delighted, parents have commented very positively on the new anti-slip decking area amongst the trees. I feel that DeckWright would be an ideal outdoor surface for schools, nurseries, hospitals and old peoples’ homes as it is a safe alternative to normal decking, which does get slippery in wet weather. DeckWright Anti-Slip decking is just as easy to clean as standard timber decking, it looks great and lasts well”

For more information about DeckWright Anti-Slip please contact WJ Group on 01482 338950, or visit


Legislation Watch establishes Seton as an expert in health and safety law

Seton is well aware that customers rely on them for expertise.  Legislation Watch is a free resource that provides regular, up-to-date, and easy to digest information on workplace legislation, and health and safety issues.  Feedback from readers in a recent survey confirms that this is considered an invaluable resource that enhances the reputation of Seton as the expert in health and safety.

In July 2015, Seton conducted a survey with 214 readers to understand perceptions of their regular publication, Legislation Watch.  79% agreed that the magazine keeps them updated on essential workplace health and safety legislative information.  “It’s handy that I have a backup check on new legislation and it makes me more confident that I’m not missing anything”, said one Seton customer.  The magazine is available in a hard copy but 72% preferred to access it online via the website because it’s readily accessible when on the move, or they find the information easier to navigate digitally.

The majority of customers surveyed (68%) agreed that Legislation Watch improves their opinion of the Seton brand.  One respondent stated that it “proves Seton are caring about health and safety, not just a supplier of equipment”, with 77% agreeing that Legislation Watch helps to establish Seton as the expert in Health and Safety.


Honeywell launches Miller H-Design fall arrest kits

An all-in-one solution for working at height  

 Honeywell (NYSE:HON) has launched six new Miller H-Design™ ready-to-use fall protection kits. Specifically designed for the construction and general manufacturing industries and associated working-at-height trades, such as scaffolding and cherry picking, the new kits include the highly innovative Miller H-Design harness.

“Self-contained, quick and easy-to-use, the fall arrest kits are ideal for tasks such as working on roofs, at edges and on scaffolds, as well as work with low fall clearance situations,” said Céline Verdot, product manager-Fall Protection for Honeywell Safety Products, EMEA. “Specially created to deliver a complete solution, the new kits make it easy to select the right harness or vital supplementary equipment, such as lanyards or lifeline attachments. Simply match the kit to the task being undertaken and everything you need is supplied.”

Central to each kit is the Miller H-Design harness, which is manufactured to meet EN 361:2002 standards for fall arrest harnesses and ensures comfort and flexibility for the user. Each kit comes complete with its own bespoke fall arrest equipment specific to the task in hand. For some kits, customers can choose between two harness options; one with only a dorsal attachment or another with two additional large, thin sternal webbing loops. Depending upon attachment preferences and requirements, each kit is supplied fully self-contained in either a backpack or case.

You can learn more about the Miller H-Design fall arrest kits by visiting

For more information from Honeywell Safety Products, the world’s largest provider of head to toe personal protective equipment (PPE) solutions, visit the website at

About Honeywell Safety Products

Honeywell Safety Products (HSP), a global manufacturer of leading personal protective equipment (PPE) and provider of safety solutions, helps company employees make safer decisions on their own and build an enduring culture of safety. With world class brands such as Honeywell, Howard Leight, Miller, North, KCL, Salisbury, Otter, and Timberland PRO, HSP offers a full range of quality PPE, including: protective clothing; fall and hearing protection products; solutions that protect hands, head, feet, eyes and face; along with respiratory, welding, lockout/tagout. Lead them to safety visit to learn more.


New and Emerging Risks for Workplaces

In late 2014, the EU-Occupational Safety and Health Agency bought out some statistics based on a survey they conducted using data collected from workplaces in 36 European countries. The survey focuses on health and safety in establishments when it comes to new and emerging risks, including physical and psychosocial risks – an area that is often omitted from surveys.

The Survey

Approximately 49,320 workplaces took part in the survey across Europe, with 4,250 of these being from the UK. Within the UK sample, was a sample boost funded by the Health and Safety Executive, ensuring that there was a sufficient enough sample to provide accurate results. All of the establishments involved hired at least five employees and worked in all areas of economic activity.

The survey focused on risks in the workplace and looked at the management of health and safety, indicators of performance, training and awareness, and workplace budgets for health and safety. The aim of the survey was to also explore the difficulties faced by establishments in regards to addressing health and safety with the goal to face these challenges and overcome them.

SHS Graphic 1

If you want to view the survey and results in full, have a look at the white paper on

The Results

Safer Workplaces

Below you can see a list of psychosocial and physical risks and the percentage of workplaces surveyed with these risks present. Unsurprisingly, lifting and moving was the most common physical risk out of all those tested for, highlighting the growing need to improve on reducing the dangers involved with manual handling.

SHS Graphic 2


One in three workplaces used in the study had an annual budget for health and safety, meaning that two out of three workplaces had no specific health and safety budget at all. Although one third of workplaces budgeting for health and safety is a substantial amount, it still leaves a large number of workplaces unable to provide guaranteed support for training, equipment, and incidents.

SHS Graphic 3

The survey also looked at the amount of establishments with over 20 employees whose top level of management regularly discussed health and safety. They found that 80% of workplaces surveyed held regular meetings involving management to discuss risks.

SHS Graphic 4


70% of workforces had a representative assigned to all health and safety matters, enabling one point of contact for all training, information and management. Out of these establishments, 71% stated that their representative regularly spoke about health and safety issues such as preventing slips and trips, the importance of safe manual handling, and general safety in the workplace.

SHS Graphic 5


84% of establishments with health and safety representatives are provided with training to help manage their duties, and 85% of team leaders are given training on how to manage health and safety.

SHS Graphic 6


The HSE has claimed that the results of this survey are going towards creating an approach towards decreasing both physical and psychosocial risks within the workplace. This work will be done by highlighting the issues that need to be improved upon but also by maintaining the high standard that already exists.

If you want to work towards maintaining a safe and risk-free environment for your workers and need some advice or equipment, do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 619 0800.

Original post created by SHS Handling Solutions and can be viewed here.


Lanes Group helps Thurrock school protect life with defibrillator donation

Scott Tracey and David Finch from Lanes Group with Neve Saunders, Edward Jones and Luca Tracey of Stifford Clays Primary School in Grays.

Lanes Group is donating a life-saving defibrillator to a school in Essex as part of a national drive to help people in local communities who suffer potentially fatal cardiac arrests.

Stifford Clays Primary School, in Grays, in Essex, is the second school in the UK to be given the equipment as part of the drainage and maintenance specialists’ ‘Protecting Life is Close to Our Heart’ initiative.

Lanes Group will also pay for defibrillator training for five staff and basic life-support training for up to 30 pupils as young as five years old.

The school had previously aimed to purchase its own defibrillator because it fosters particularly close links with vulnerable people in the community – but had found the £1,250 cost prohibitive.

Lanes Group is working closely with Hand on Heart, a national charity set up to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest suffered by young people.

Stifford Clays is the first school in Thurrock to receive a defibrillator through the charity. Hand on Heart now expects more local schools to want to obtain the life-saving equipment.

An estimated 12 people aged under the age of 35 die in the UK from sudden cardiac arrest every week, and on average five of those happen in schools.

Stifford Clays Primary School was approached by Scott Tracey, the Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental Manager for Lanes Group’s Rail Division. He lives in Thurrock with his son, Luca, aged eight, attends Stifford Clays School, where he is about to complete Year 3.

Scott Tracey said: “I knew the school had close ties with the community, so would value a resource that provides the ultimate service, saving life. We’re pleased to help a school that is so keen to help others in greatest need. Pupils, teachers, parents and local residents are safer having the defibrillator available if, and, when it is needed.”

“Our aim is to provide defibrillators and training for selected schools across the UK. Protecting good health and personal safety are paramount to the way Lanes Group delivers its service, and community-based defibrillators have been proven to save the lives of many people who have cardiac arrests.”

Stifford Clays Primary School Headteacher Anthony Peltier said: “We are enormously pleased that Lanes Group is helping us in this way. It is a wonderful coincidence to have this opportunity.

“We had wanted to buy our own defibrillator, but increasing pressures on our resources meant that was not possible. With this support, we can help protect the lives of those in the school and the community.”

The school is nine miles from Lanes Group’s London depot and Rail Division headquarters, both located on the same site at Rainham.

It has 780 pupils and nursery school children, aged 2 to 11, and is sited in a community with a high proportion of elderly residents, many of whom moved from the East End of London over the last 50 years.

Anthony Peltier said: “We are a truly open school, with community activities, often involving elderly care groups, in the evening and at weekends. We also put on a Christmas Day lunch for local pensioners.

“We can get the defibrillator provided by Lanes Group out into the community within minutes to help treat a sudden cardiac arrest. It will also be on hand to help save the lives of teachers and pupils if they fall ill.”

The defibrillator funded by Lanes Group can treat small children as well as adults. Eight members of staff will be trained to use it. The school can also nominate children as young as five to have basic life-saving training, which includes advice on recognising when people are unconscious and how to raise the alarm.

In March, St Mark’s RC Primary School, in Swinton, Salford, became the first school to receive a defibrillator and training under Lanes Group’s Protecting Life is Close to Our Heart initiative.

Hand on Heart Charity, based in Salford, Manchester, says national medical records show that more than 600 young people die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, and 270 of those deaths happen in schools.

The charity has distributed more than 550 defibrillators since it was founded, and more than 500 have gone to schools. In one recent success though, a defibrillator it supplied to an arts centre in Manchester was delivered on a Monday, and used to save the life of an elderly man the following day.

Dee Wild, Training and Fundraising Administrator for Hand on Heart, said: “Our experience is that other schools in Thurrock that don’t have a defibrillator will follow the lead taken by Stifford Clays, and also obtain the equipment.

“The defibrillator is so simple it can actually be operated without training. It will provide teachers, parents, pupils and the local community with assurance that all is being done to help people who may suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.

“Essex Ambulance Service can be notified of the location of the defibrillator so they can direct anyone who is helping someone who is having a cardiac arrest in the local area to the school to use their machine.

“We also have defibrillators in schools where staff want to protect a pupil with an underlying heart condition. Yet, it is just as likely that a young friend sitting next to that child who will fall ill, and need the defibrillator first.”



SICK Introduces World’s Most Advanced Hazardous-Area Safety Light Curtains

By designing an explosion-proof enclosure for its leading light curtain technology to ATEX and UL Listed hazardous area standards, SICK is offering unprecedented safety protection for high risk flammable gas, vapour and dusty industrial environments.

The deTec4 Core Ex, C4000 Select Ex and C4000 Advanced Ex light curtains are all-in-one pre-assembled safety devices suitable for a wide range of hazardous environments from pharmaceutical, chemical and paint manufacture to food processing and storage, to gas and coal industries.

“This is the first time a true fit-and-forget safety light curtain solution has been available for ATEX and UL designated hazardous areas,” points out Martin Kidman SICK (UK) machinery safety specialist. “There’s no assembly needed as the light curtain and enclosure have already been tested as a single unit and verified ready for use; the only one to have achieved UL Classified and Listed status so offers complete peace of mind.

“As well as being an all-in-one solution, downtime is reduced and therefore all the dangers of starting and stopping critical processes to install safety light curtains to guard dangerous machinery and protect personnel are eliminated. The range of fields and enclosure sizes means all sorts of equipment can be easily protected.”

The deTec4 Core Ex, C4000 Select Ex and C4000 Advanced Ex safety light curtain models offer a range of protective field heights and can be combined to create ten different variants within the rugged aluminium IP66 explosion-proof enclosure. Highly-visible LED status indicators ensure rapid troubleshooting.

Available in three different lengths, the enclosures can accommodate a number of light curtains allowing protective field heights of 600mm, 900mm, 1200mm and even 1500mm (only with deTec4 Core). With a resolution of 30 mm a scanning range of up to 16m can be achieved (depending on the model).

Both enclosures and light curtains are maintenance free and have a number of features to aid quick installation. The enclosures are supplied fully assembled and the light curtains are pre-wired into the enclosures to certified standards. Quick alignment mounting brackets enable rapid set-up and the optional laser alignment tool can make installation even easier. Removable handles are included with the enclosure for easy handling and positioning by installers.

The explosion proof enclosures for safety light curtains are available separately (Transmitter/Receiver) or as a pair and are supplied pre-wired and assembled so that specialist installation is not required. They are designed and approved for use in hazardous locations according to ATEX for gas: II 2 G Ex d IIB T6 Gb, for dust: II 2 D Ex tb IIIC T56°C Db. NFPA 70/NEC 500, Class I, Div. 1, groups C and D, Class II, Div. 1, groups E, F and G and Class III, Div. 1.

EN safety parameters met are Type 4, Performance Level PLe, Safety Integrity SIL3/SILCL3 and Category 4. Teach-in is rapid, and the deTec4 Core Ex, C4000 Select Ex and C4000 Advanced Ex safety light curtain models are suitable for fieldbus integration, being compatible with a range of comms profiles including CANopen, DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP PROFIBUS and PROFINET.

For more information on the SICK deTec4 Core Ex, C4000 Select Ex and C4000 Advanced Ex safety light curtain models, please contact Andrea Hornby on 01727 831121 or email



Protecting workers’ hands to safeguard public sector contracts

By Steve Shale, Marketing Manager, Globus

It is important that work doesn’t stop on public sector building and maintenance contracts when staff are unable to perform their tasks due to injury or ill health. Employees who work on building or maintenance projects may be particularly susceptible to injury or occupation health issues.

Hands have a vital part to play to enable work to be carried out effectively yet they may often be overlooked. Subsequently, any resulting worker downtime while hands are injured or sore can adversely affect contract completion and new projects starting.

While gloves are an essential item of Personal Protective Equipment many workers remove them if they become uncomfortable or prevent intricate work from being undertaken. Without gloves the worker is undoubtedly at risk of injury when carrying out building and maintenance tasks. However, it is not just protection from injury that needs to be considered, hands also require protection from occupational health problems, such as dermatitis, irritation or other skin conditions.

Glove wearing is one of the most effective occupational injury prevention programmes. According to the Health & Safety Executive’s 2013-2014 statistics injuries and new cases of ill health resulting largely from current working conditions for workers in construction costs society over £1.1 billion a year. An employer should certainly evaluate all the potential hazards. For instance, hand protection can help to prevent cuts, puncture injuries, impacts, chemical burns as well as defend against temperature extremes and liquids.

Roofers, in particular, complain that materials slip out of their hands and the gloves provided don’t allow them enough dexterity to pick up nails and screws and perform more delicate tasks.

Scaffolders need gloves with good grip to prevent standards and bars slipping through their hands resulting in injury to themselves or others. For this task it may be beneficial to wear a glove with a reinforced latex palm.

Working with cement may cause direct irritation at the point of contact as the cement tends to dry out skin. Workers may also become sensitised due to the chromates present in cement.

Many workers claim that the gloves provided do not fit properly, are uncomfortable or wear out too quickly. Gloves which are too large can create folds which can impair work and be uncomfortable whilst gloves that are too small can restrict blood flow and movement which can motivate fatigue. It’s important that they allow the necessary dexterity to perform different tasks efficiently. A properly fitting and performing glove is less likely to be removed when performing tasks – this reduces risk and consequently aids productivity.

Glove technology has come a very long way in recent years and there is no reason for the gloves provided to be anything but fit for purpose. Advancements in fabrics and coating science mean that gloves can protect hands from cuts, puncture injuries, impacts, chemical burns, temperature extremes and liquid contaminants. However, hand injury issues can often result simply because the gloves do not fit properly or that inadequate choices are provided.

There are many hand protection solutions for building and facilities management, no matter what the task is. As well as choosing a glove that fits well and is suitable for the task, it is important that this provides adequate grip and meets any legislative requirements.

Commenting in relation to the benefits of wearing a glove specifically designed for outdoor construction workers, Brian Johnson, Managing Director of Halton Construction and Surveying Services Ltd said “The Showa 306 glove from Globus is having a really positive effect on my business. My team are out working on sites in all weathers and often complain about how their hands become uncomfortable in wet weather. Not only does the 306 overcome this, but it also stops their hands from getting sweaty in normal conditions. We are also getting far more wear from this glove compared to the previous ones.”

Globus is expert in hand protection and has a range of solutions designed to protect workers who not only work on site but right across industry. It is important to get specialist advice about glove selection for specific hazards to ensure the appropriate product is selected. This will help to protect the workforce from the start and can reduce the number of days off through injury or illness leading to increased productivity for public sector projects. Globus offers an obligation-free Hand Protection Programme to qualifying organisations to help ensure that a comprehensive hand protection policy is put in place.


A new approach to ensure the safety of electrical equipment


A new concept test instrumentation enables those responsible for ensuring the electrical safety of appliances used in schools, colleges, universities and other education centres to meet their electrical safety obligations in a safe, simple and effective manner – and in line with the latest official guidance.

Seaward’s latest generation Apollo portable appliance testers establish a new approach to electrical safety testing. The Apollo 500 and Apollo 600 are designed to comply with the latest best practice advice on maintaining a risk based approach to maintaining workplace safety.

Leading the new range is the Apollo 600, a multi-purpose PAT tester with an on board digital camera to capture images for inclusion in risk and inspection records; when used with PATGuard 3 software it provides unrivalled results management including photographs for visual evidence.

The Apollo 500 has the same range of PAT tests as the Apollo 600, but does not include a camera, and is designed for dedicated plug and play electrical testing, both testers incorporate all of the safety tests recommended by the latest IET Code of Practice, including for permanently connected and 3 phase electrical equipment.

The Apollo series testers include all of the electrical safety tests required by the IET Code of Practice including, earth continuity, insulation resistance at 250V or 500V, protective conductor current, touch current, IEC lead polarity and portable RCD trip time, without the risk of tripping the installation RCD.

In addition to testing plug in appliances, the Apollo is fully equipped to test permanently connected and 3 phase electrical equipment as required by the new Code of Practice.

The new Apollo testers can be used with battery or mains power and include a built-in risk assessment tool and suggested re-test interval calculator and for easy results storage, Bluetooth and USB connections are included as well as the ability to transfer data remotely using a mobile phone or tablet.

A range of compatible accessory bundles including printers, labels, barcode scanners and PATGuard 3 software are also available.

Full details of the Seaward PAT range for educations centres is available here.




New Water Study Demonstrates Speed And Efficiency Of IDEXX Pseudalert® Test In Hospital Waters

IDEXX, the global leader in rapid microbiological test kits for water, today announced the publication of a peer reviewed Pan European study*, in The Journal of Water and Health, “Evaluation of an MPN test for the rapid enumeration of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in hospital waters (doi:10.2166/wh.2014.187 – in press).”  The paper concludes that the IDEXX Pseudalert®/Quanti-Tray® method,  for the rapid detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), produces confirmed results in a shorter time than the standard reference ISO 16266 and MoDW Part 8 PACN agar membrane filtration methods with no further confirmation steps. The authors also concluded that Pseudalert/Quanti-tray was a valid alternative method for hospital water analysis.

The study, conducted on both routine hospital water samples (80 from six laboratories) and artificially contaminated samples (192 from five laboratories), compared in parallel the performance of the traditional membrane filtration technique, which produces presumptive positive results in a 40-48 hour timeframe, with the Pseudalert/Quanti-Tray test, which gives confirmed results after 24 hours. For routine samples, the data indicated at least equivalent performance of Pseudalert/Quanti-Tray, while for the artificially contaminated samples, the data revealed higher counts of P. aeruginosa being recorded by Pseudalert/Quanti-Tray.

The report also concluded that as the Pseudalert/Quanti-Tray method does not require confirmation testing for atypical strains of P.aeruginosa, it can save up to six days of additional analysis and has the added advantage of providing confirmed counts within 24 hours incubation, compared to 40–48 hours or longer for the ISO 16266 and MoDW Part 8 methods.

All comparison studies were conducted in accordance with ISO 17994:2014.

“This study clearly demonstrates that the Pseudalert/Quanti-Tray method is an acceptable alternative to the ISO 16266:2006 and MoDW Part 8 PACN agar methods for the enumeration of P. aeruginosa from hospital waters and has the additional benefit of giving a more rapid confirmed result,” commented David Sartory, independent consultant, authority on water microbiology, and one of the paper’s authors. He added “This is particularly important during the investigation of possible hospital acquired infections, enabling appropriate action to be taken to protect patients within as short a timescale as possible, while also enabling the more rapid identification of uncontaminated outlets so that they can be safely returned to use within 24 hours.”

P. aeruginosa can be a dangerous pathogen in hospitals, where many patients are immunocompromised, and is responsible for a wide variety of infections including pneumonia, gastrointestinal infections, meningitis and septicemia,” commented IDEXX Water’s Senior Business Manager EMEA, Andrew Headland. “In the interests of public health, sample results need to be confirmed as quickly as possible and this study clearly demonstrates that Pseudalert is a fast, accurate and efficient alternative to the more time consuming membrane filtration method.”

Launched in 2011, the IDEXX Pseudalert test is based on a bacterial enzyme detection technology that signals the presence of P. aeruginosa through the hydrolysis of a substrate in the Pseudalert reagent. P. aeruginosa cells rapidly grow and reproduce using the rich supply of amino acids, vitamins and other nutrients present in the Pseudalert reagent. Actively growing strains of P. aeruginosa have an enzyme that cleaves the substrate in the reagent to produce blue fluorescence under ultraviolet light.

Pseudalert, which  recently won the prestigious ‘Product Innovation in Healthcare’ Award at the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management’s (IHEEM) Annual Exhibition, detects P. aeruginosa at 1 CFU in standard 100 ml water samples and gives a confirmed result within 24 hours.

Where quantification of a sample is required, IDEXX has developed a simple device known as a Quanti-Tray®, which consists of 51 individually sealable cells. The Quanti-Tray can also be incubated for 24 hours after which the fluorescent cells can be counted and quantified by reference to an MPN table.

For more information, visit: www.idexx.comwater

* The full text can be accessed at  “Evaluation of an MPN test for the rapid enumeration of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in hospital waters” David P. Sartory, Danièle Pauly, Nathalie Garrec, Lucia Bonadonna, Maurizio Semproni, Christiane Schell, Annika Reimann, Susan J. Firth, Christopher Thom, Philippe Hartemann, Martin Exner, Henning Baldauf, Susanne Lee and John V. Lee.