After a weekend in which two highly devasting fires have been reported we wanted to make another appeal to all businesses to ensure they regularly review their fire risk assessment, especially if they have made changes to how they operate due to COVID.
The first fire occurred on Saturday night at Lutterworth Golf Club and has caused the total devastation of a 117 year old clubhouse. The second fire to hit the headlines was on a ten year old manufacturing businesses which has affected 150 employees and all customers expecting their personalised baby items.
Tecserv UK would never comment or speculate on the causes of fire as this is a role for specialist investigators, but at Lutterworth GC, early news reports have not ruled out arson and have referred to the presence of propane gas cylinders. The cause of the fire in Northampton that has destroyed the HQ of baby gifts business is also still under investigation.
One thing that is certain is that investigators will thoroughly investigate the causes and part of this process will be to review the fire risk assessments, ongoing maintenance of fire alarm systems and equipment, and the training that staff have received. If negligence, however unintentional or naive, is found in any of these areas, there could be serious consequences for Directors, Management and Responsible Individuals.
Since businesses have re-opened following the pandemic many have implemented measures to meet social distancing and COVID regulations. In golf clubs this has often resulted in temporary outdoor cooking facilities such as catering vans and use of gas BBQ’s. Businesses have also had to make adjustments.
The purpose of a fire risk assessment is to identify fire risks so that an action plan can be implemented to eliminate or reduce the potential causes of fire. This thorough fire safety risk assessment should review all possible eventualities for the use of the building and associated fire risks in order to ensure that people, processes and property will be protected from the risks of fire.
With this in mind we’d like to offer the following advice:
- If you have made changes to how your business operates ensure you also carry out a new fire risk assessment.
- Ensure this also encompasses a review of how adjacent businesses are operating.
- Discuss any changes you plan to make with your insurer to ensure they will not compromises insurance cover
- Always have a business continuity plan ready to implement so that you have the opportunity to resume trading as soon as possible
- If your building contains irreplaceable items always ensure they are photographed and catalogued on an annual basis so that you have recent proof of their condition. Whilst their historic and sentimental value can never be replaced, you’ll also have something from which to create replica’s if you need to.
- Consider whether other early warning or fire suppression measures are needed
- Ensure staff receive training and understand the risks of fire
If you have made any changes to the layout of your building or how your people and processes operate we recommend that you carry out a revised fore risk assessment.
We have helped all kinds of companies stay safe and reduce fire risk – from commercial, food manufacturing and industrial companies, facilities managers to public sector organisations such as schools, universities, heritage sites and hospitals. Whether you are a new business looking to establish its first fire safety policies and systems, or an established business seeking advice, Tecserv can help with all aspects of fire prevention and risk assessment.