COVID-19 Update: Professional Services

As this week marks a month of national lockdown – Britain’s third since 23 March last year, there remains uncertainty about a timeline for the lifting of restrictions.

The government has not yet made any clear indications for industries classed as ‘non-essential’ in the private sector about re-opening dates. However, schools have received more clarity, with the youngest pupils in Scotland set to return to classes full-time from 22 February and England hoping to bring back pupils from 8 March.

Whilst schools have not been completely shut to all pupils during the on-going pandemic; just like in September last year, re-opening will carry several health & safety challenges as temporarily abandoned facilities and buildings will need to be assessed for safety before being re-utilised to accommodate the increase of staff and pupil numbers.

Professional Services Availability: Site Visits

Per Government guidelines, our team continue to work remotely and remaining accessible by telephone, Zoom, MS Teams and email. However, our risk assessors are available for site visits nationwide to ensure that risk assessments remain up-to-date even while businesses and institutions remain temporarily closed.

We are still taking bookings for the following professional services:

COVID-19 Resources

Regarding a COVID-19 Risk Assessment, the HSE state that:

“As an employer, you must protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect your workers and others from coronavirus. This is called a COVID-19 risk assessment and it’ll help you manage risk and protect people.”

We released the following resources last summer, which can all be accessed through Smartlog:

If you wish to access any of these resources, or for more information, fill in our contact form, get in touch with our customer services team on 01908 320152 or send us an email to: customerservices@safesmart.co.uk with your request.

New: Fire Risk Assessment Template

After months of hard work by our Professional Services and Smartlog Development team, we are pleased and excited to announce that we are launching our new fire risk assessment template.

We have added some new features and changes, including:

  • Risk rating
  • Real-time compliance pie chart
  • Design and layout has been updated
  • Additional information to support the HSE 5-step risk assessment process
  • Fire Service access
  • Creation of actions — check & test
  • Add a site plan
  • Improved PDF layout when exporting/printing

The new template is based on the PAS 79 (Publicly Available Specification-79) methodology for undertaking a fire risk assessment to identify the risk of fire and the consequences if one was to occur.

PAS 79 was produced by the British Standards Institute and is recommended by the Institution of Fire Engineers and the Northern Ireland Fire Safety Panel.

If you have arranged a fire risk assessment to be completed by one of our fire risk assessors, they will be now be using the new fire risk assessment (unless your organisation has a bespoke template).

If you have any questions, or would like to activate the new fire risk assessment now, please contact your Account Manager, and they will be happy to assist you.

Fire Risk Assessment Frequency – How Often?

Fire Safety Management and Fire Risk Assessment must be Improved. This blog post is to raise awareness and highlight employers obligations.

Tragedies like Grenfell can be prevented by improving fire safety management. Fire risk assessment, fire safety engineering, evacuation planning, training and fire equipment maintenance all needs to improve. Fire risk assessment procedures along with health & safety software systems can help this, ensuring traceability, an audit trail and the facilitation of risk assessment & corrective action through automated reminders.

To provide a statistical example: The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service mention stats from a DfE publication stating that in 2015 there were more than 600 fires in British Schools and each large fire causes £1.5M of damage on average, according to insurers.*

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire safety in England and Wales. In Scotland, requirements on general fire safety are covered in Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. Article 3 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 clearly states that employers have fire safety responsibility.
Failure to comply with fire safety legislation is a criminal offence.

For fire safety compliance you must:

Carry out a fire risk assessment.

Ensure sufficient training as fire safety training is a legal requirement for all staff.

Have fire safety arrangements and an evacuation plan.

Ensure provision of information to employees.

Have appropriate fire safety equipment installed and maintained.

The HSE clearly state on their website that:

‘As an employer (and/or building owner or occupier) you are required to carry out and maintain a fire safety risk assessment. This is under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which applies in England and Wales, and under Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act. The fire safety assessment can be carried out either as a separate exercise or as part of a single risk assessment covering other health and safety risks.
You need to make sure that, based on the findings of the assessment, you take adequate and appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.’

– (www.hse.gov.uk/risk/faq.htm – Frequently asked question – ‘what do I have to do in terms of fire safety’)

Legislation doesn’t state a precise frequency for conducting a fire risk assessment

However Article 9, (3) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that it needs to be kept up to date and done again if there has been significant change in the environment:
‘Any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date and particularly if—
(a)there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid; or
(b)there has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates including when the premises, special, technical and organisational measures, or organisation of the work undergo significant changes, extensions, or conversions, and where changes to an assessment are required as a result of any such review, the responsible person must make them.’

The HSE state on their website that:

‘You should review your risk assessment:
• if it is no longer valid
• if there has been a significant change
Your workplace will change over time. You are likely to bring in new equipment, substances and procedures. There may be advances in technology. You may have an accident or a case of ill health. You should review your assessment if any of these events happen.
Remember to amend your assessment as a result of your review.
There is no set frequency for carrying out a review. ‘
– (www.hse.gov.uk/risk/faq.htm – Frequently asked question – ‘When should I review my risk assessment’ )

Frequent Fire Risk Assessment is best to improve safety

It is also important to be able to demonstrate your compliance should you receive a visit from the HSE or a Fire Officer. Safesmart recommend that the responsible person completes a fire risk assessment at least once per year or when there has been a significant change in the environment as mentioned in Article 9, (3) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

If you would like advice about fire risk assessment frequency, perhaps regarding how often to do a fire risk assessment in changing environments, contact us to speak to our fire safety consultants. Our consultancy can help you make sense of Fire and Health & Safety and regulations to ensure your business is meeting its obligations. Click our solutions menu to see all the fire safety and health & safety services we provide as well as our fire safety engineering: extinguishers, alarms etc. Discover easier fire safety management with Smartlog too.

Sources:

  1. https://authority.manchesterfire.gov.uk/documents/s50005706/162.08.09.16.%20Fire%20Safety%20in%20Schools%20Building%20Bulletins%20100BB100.pdf
  2. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/contents/made

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