Ignoring two of three points in the ‘fire triangle’
Companies often have plans to designate safe areas for materials and activities, such as grinding, welding and smoking. However, too often these procedures are forgotten in day-to-day activities and even when controlled via a permit to work system, things can fall down if the arrangements are not implemented or adhered to.
Overlooking the fabric of the building
All too often we see Fire Risk Assessments that are not suitable and sufficient as they do not consider suitability of the materials used in the building, the layout, occupancy, design and provisions or controls on means of escape.
Not updating fire risk assessments and policies when there’s change
Fire risk assessments and policies must be updated when a site has changes. For example, when machines are moved, structures and fire doors damaged, new services/systems pipes or ducting put through a fire wall, an extension added to a building or a new system added.
Installing inappropriate fire detectors
We often see disabled smoke detectors. Typically, the excuse given is that they go off due to issues unrelated to smoke or fire. The solution isn’t to disable or move fire detectors that give false alarms, but to install a more appropriate detector, such as UV or infrared system which is not triggered by particles. The level of coverage in place is also something that may not have been considered either.
Having uncoordinated fire response
Most companies have a basic policy that informs staff what to do in case of a fire – drop everything you’re doing, exit the building and proceed to the designated assembly point. However, where the ball gets dropped is typically with the organisation of fire marshals, such as having enough, ensuring proper training is provided and appropriate distribution.
If you believe your facility could use an updated fire safety plan, a risk assessment or safety training, get in touch expert independent advice should be sought, EEF can help with advice, risk assessments and training. Visit us here.
Steve Lewis, EEF consultant