Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business Resources

More information about our COVID-19 eLearning course can be found here: https://safesmart.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-awareness/

As industries slowly re-open and schools & businesses resume operations, it is of utmost priority to ensure that work premises of all types are risk assessed for COVID-19, necessary control measures are applied, and all employees are fully trained on minimizing the transmission of the coronavirus.

Brand New Courses

In order to help our customers navigate through the health & safety challenges which the COVID-19 pandemic presents – and its legal & practical impact on key business functions, Safesmart has created a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Awareness training course utilising the latest information available from Public Health England, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the NHS and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

This course provides information about the following practical measures that can be implemented by businesses – if necessary:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Hand sanitizer/disinfectant
  • Temperature checking
  • Clear Signage
  • Working from home
  • Social distancing/restricting numbers

A Safe Working from Home eLearning course is also available to help protect against the dangers associated with DSE for those employees working from home.

Re-opening Schools

Along with a separate COVID-19 eLearning course for educational institutions, an in-depth COVID-19 Risk Assessment Checklist has also been created to ensure that schools and colleges re-open as safely as possible – and within government guidelines.

Open and Closed Protocols – What Does It All Mean?

open and closed protocol alarms

When choosing a fire alarm system for your building or business you can be faced with a number of different choices. Arguably, one of the most important decisions facing owners is whether to opt for an open or closed protocol system.

What’s the Difference?

Fire alarm systems include a variety of different components, all of which communicate with each other. The language that these devices use to communicate is called a ‘protocol’ – and this is what can be ‘open’ or ‘closed’.

Companies who provide open protocol systems disclose the relevant technical data required for manufacturers to produce compatible devices. These companies can work with any number of different manufacturers, providing customers with a range of different suppliers to choose from.

Companies who produce closed protocol systems don’t disclose their technical information, and therefore customers are forced to acquire all of the relevant components from a single source.

Open Protocols

Open protocol fire safety systems offer customers a greater degree of flexibility, and this is one of their main benefits. As a result, customers can choose from a variety of different suppliers, allowing them to install components which are completely suited to their specific circumstances.

Other factors such as repairs and upgrades can be completed by virtually any trained engineer, which allows customers to take advantage of an open market and choose a technician who offers the most value for money or expertise. Another advantage to open protocol is that the co-operation between different companies almost guarantees that a component is well tested and reliable.

There are very few disadvantages to utilising an open protocol fire alarm system but they should be kept in mind prior to making a final decision. As this system allows users to install components from different manufactures there is a slight chance that some of these devices won’t be compatible after a full system upgrade.

Customers can choose from a wide range of engineers when they wish to have their system upgraded or repaired, but this is the basis of another disadvantage. With so much choice available, there is a chance that an untrained or unprofessional engineer will work on the system, which can obviously be risky.

Closed Protocols

Whereas open protocol systems allow customers a greater degree of choice, closed protocol systems are much more insular. Customers can only install components from the same company who have provided the overall system due to compatibility issues.

Furthermore, clients can only use engineers from that company when repairing or upgrading their equipment.

Manufacturers claim that one of the main benefits of utilising a closed protocol system is harmony, as all of the components have been manufactured by the same company they are designed to work together successfully. Another benefit to utilising this system is that customers can often receive a discount on their initial quote.

In terms of criticisms, closed systems have their fair share. Customers are forced to use the same company when they require spare parts or repairs. And with no competitors forcing prices down, these services tend to be expensive, and parts can even become discontinued if the manufacturer decides to do so.

Furthermore, customers are unable to choose from a wide range of equipment and therefore they may not be using the most suitable components for their circumstances.

Lastly, within closed systems upgrades are made when and if the manufacturer chooses to make them, which isn’t ideal for the customer.


Choosing the correct fire detection protocol system is dependent upon circumstance. Open protocols offer a greater degree of freedom, choice and long term value for money; however if cost is not a primary concern you may prefer the closed protocol system which can offer a straightforward alternative.

How to Perform a Health & Safety Benchmark

How to Perform a Health & Safety Benchmark

Many aspects of business are continually assessed in order to facilitate improvement and progress. However, this doesn’t universally apply and a specific area which is often overlooked is health and safety. This can be due to a variety of issues but often it’s because it can be difficult to assess the effectiveness of health and safety and therefore difficult to judge whether improvements are required. One way in which to tackle this problem is by conducting a safety benchmark, which is a method of analysis which provides useful information on a single aspect and therefore the overall state of health and safety within a company.

The benchmarking process involves the pairing of the business in question with a partner which is usually a similar company, this is known as external benchmarking. Internal benchmarking describes the same process but the company is paired with a partner from within this same organisation but from a different location. Many larger businesses will utilise both external and internal benchmarking methods in order to gain a more accurate result.

Health and safety covers a large range of topics so benchmarking usually zeroes in on a single issue on which to focus on. Normally this will be a particularly pertinent issue which demands urgent attention. A small benchmarking team can be formed with employees from different levels of the company, including managers, health and safety specialists and of course someone from the partnering business.

The next stage involves the company assessing its current situation, what’s working, what isn’t and how it’s affecting their overall health and safety. The benchmark team can and should utilise different types of information, including qualitative and quantitative data. They can also employ research methods such as questionnaires or even short interviews with staff. Special attention should also be paid to regulations.

A partner is then chosen and both organisations compare the information they have gathered. With an understanding of each other’s practices and policies, both partners can ascertain how well their health and safety issue faired against the other. This allows both businesses to gain a much better understanding of the problem in question and therefore they can develop an action plan in order to rectify any issues which may have arisen. It is worth pointing out that this exchange of information should be respectful of confidentially.

A specific individual or team of people should be given the task of implementing this action plan. The HSE have provided advice on implementation in the form of a pneumonic. ‘SMARTT’ which stands for Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Trackable and Timebound. Contact between the partner companies should be maintained throughout this process and the overall implementation should be continually monitored. It is also worth noting that health and safety legislation is often in flux and so this should be kept in mind at all times and any changes within the law should be immediately represented within the action plan.

Health and safety can be a particularly troublesome area but many companies are adapting their strategies in order to gain a better understanding of the issue. This is particularly encouraging when compared with past approaches but it may just be that no single measure can provide a complete picture. In this instance it could be that a more multidimensional approach is required that utilises a variety of different methods.

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