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Are you looking for new Fire Safety solutions? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory can help!

Looking for a new Fire Safety services providers for your building, venue, school or company? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is home to dozens of trusted partners ready to help make your project a reality!

Put simply, there’s something to suit every requirement.

Start Your Search Now

Are you an FM supplier? Get listed!

The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is the perfect platform to raise your organisation’s profile and extend your reach.

Promoted via the FM Briefing newsletter, website and our renowned meet-the-buyer facilities events – this digital FM directory offers a comprehensive list of industry solution leaders.

For a short period of time, your business can now be included in the FM Directory for FREE!

In these times of uncertainty for everyone, we are offering support to the industry by providing a free listing for a 3-month period, to support businesses through these difficult circumstances.

Click Here To Get Listed!

Or, for more information, please contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk

Are you looking for new Fire Safety solutions? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory can help!

Looking for a new Fire Safety services providers for your building, venue, school or company? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is home to dozens of trusted partners ready to help make your project a reality!

Put simply, there’s something to suit every requirement.

Start Your Search Now

Are you an FM supplier? Get listed!

The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is the perfect platform to raise your organisation’s profile and extend your reach.

Promoted via the FM Briefing newsletter, website and our renowned meet-the-buyer facilities events – this digital FM directory offers a comprehensive list of industry solution leaders.

For a short period of time, your business can now be included in the FM Directory for FREE!

In these times of uncertainty for everyone, we are offering support to the industry by providing a free listing for a 3-month period, to support businesses through these difficult circumstances.

Click Here To Get Listed!

Or, for more information, please contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk

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  • report automatically: automatically share a customisable report on inspection completion

See the infosheet & Try 30 days for free!

BRADY UK

Banbury, Oxon OX16 3JU

Tel: +44 (0) 1295 228 288

csuk@bradycorp.com

Burning desire – Why fire training is the hot topic in health and safety

By Alex Wilkins at iHASCO

Look anywhere you want in the media and I guarantee you will find news and warnings about fire risks. Yet despite its catastrophic potential, the relatively day-to-day nature of fire damage is rarely appreciated. In truth, fire is a constant and very real hazard to UK organisations.

Home Office figures show that in the reporting period 2018/19, the UK’s fire and rescue services attended 15,005 ‘primary fires’ in non-dwelling buildings. That’s more than 280 per week; and those incidents caused 17 deaths, plus a further 1,061 non-fatal casualties.

Fire can also be disastrous in terms of operations, productivity and financial loss. Worldwide, fire and explosions cause the largest losses for businesses. Around 70% of businesses fail within three years of a major fire.

Thus, when it comes to fire, prevention is clearly much better than cure. But it’s impossible to predict when, where and why a fire may break out. Therefore, a culture of fire prevention must prevail throughout the organisation, from top to bottom.

Organisations in the UK simply have to take fire seriously. In some respects, their attention is mandated by law. Employers are legally required to train each of their employees in fire prevention under the Fire Safety Order 2005 and Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

But how can managers be sure their entire workforce is taking fire safety seriously?

What are the dangers?

Workplace fires can arise from a range of causes. These include faulty equipment (such as electrical equipment like kettles and ovens), clutter (particularly combustible materials like paper, wood, furniture etc.), poor standards of cleaning (for example when grease or oil is allowed to build up on equipment, or dirt and dust cause machines to overheat), human error (misuse of equipment, failure to implement safety practices or report malfunctioning machinery etc.) and arson.

The good news is that fire is frequently preventable. It is notable that according to the Home Office figures mentioned earlier, 75% of the non-dwelling fires in 2018/19 were accidental and could probably have been avoided.

How can managers ensure their organisation is fire safety aware?

In the UK, employers have a legal duty to prevent fire. This includes a duty to train all staff in fire prevention.

However, the means by which they achieve this is largely up to their judgement. And it can be hard to determine the best approach, not least because there are key differences between staff members and even sectors when it comes to fire prevention.

For example, sectors that involve care for others – such as care work, health services and teaching – may find fire safety and protection a natural ‘cultural fit’. In commercial sectors, or those working under constant pressure of time or productivity, fire safety may be seen as a waste of time or a matter of common sense. Such workers may resent training as an intrusion into their time.

There are differences between people, too, which exist regardless of sector. Some individuals will lack confidence in their ability to protect themselves and others. Some will be disinterested or may not learn well in classroom- or lecture-style settings. Staff may also have issues around language, rostering and/or ability to attend training locations.

It can also be hard for employers to quantify learning outcomes when traditional approaches are used. They can easily verify who has attended – but knowing what proportion of that training was understood and retained is an entirely different matter. Fire safety training is an investment of time and money, and it is reasonable to want clear results.

Online training solves many of these problems

Online training, also known as eLearning, can help organisations to overcome many of the barriers to fire safety. The very nature of eLearning means it can be accessed from any location, at a time appropriate for the trainee. Many courses are broken down into bite-sized modules which need not be completed in one sitting; this makes concentration easier and the genuine assimilation of learning more likely.

It is often possible to provide eLearning in more than one language, something that is very hard to achieve with traditional training methods and may prove particularly helpful in organisations with a diverse workforce.

Online training also incorporates online documentation and learning assessments, making it easier for an organisation to prove compliance with the relevant laws.

Don’t settle for box-ticking when only genuine fire awareness will do

Due to the commonplace nature of workplace fires and the devastation they cause, organisations must provide fire safety training that will be genuinely absorbed, retained and acted upon by staff at all levels. This is quite clearly in the best interests of the business, its workforce and the public.

‘Box ticking’, in the form of providing low-grade fire training because ‘we’ve always done it this way’ or ‘we don’t have time to research alternative providers’, is frankly dangerous in financial, commercial, personal and reputational terms.

Fortunately, online fire safety training removes many of the challenges and inconveniences traditionally associated with workplace training and can even enhance the learning process and outcomes in some settings, while making it easy for organisations to demonstrate compliance.

And given the sheer devastation and loss that workplace fires can cause, that has to be good news for us all.

Do you specialise in Fire Safety & Equipment? We want to hear from you!

Each month on FM Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the facilities management market – and in December we’ll be focussing on Fire Safety.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help FM industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you specialise in Fire Safety and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Paige Aitken on p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk.

Home Office calls on FMs for evidence on fire safety

Employers and business owners are being asked for their views on fire safety in workplaces in England as part of a Home Office call for evidence.

The Home Office is seeking feedback on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which underpins fire safety in business premises, such as offices, warehouses, shops and commercial venues, to ensure it is fit for purpose.

The call for evidence follows publication last year of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review on Building Regulation and Fire Safety, which was commissioned by the government after the Grenfell Tower fire.

The order places legal duties on those responsible for the safety of people using business premises. The Home Offices states this is typically an employer or business owner, who must carry out fire risk assessments and ensure the safety of staff and others.

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said: “The Grenfell Tower fire was an unimaginable tragedy and we are determined to do everything we can to stop it ever happening again.

“The government is making good progress on improving the safety of high-rise flats, but we must also look at the wider building safety landscape, including the places where we all work.

“To help keep people safe, we want to ensure the Fire Safety Order is fit for purpose. To do this, we need to understand how it is working on the ground and make informed decisions in the future.”

The order covers all non-domestic premises, as well as the parts of residential buildings used in common, such as corridors and stairwells.

Under the order, those responsible for fire safety in regulated premises include employers, business owners, landlords, occupiers and anyone else in control of the premises, such as building and facilities managers.

The order also applies to anyone with paying guests, including those who run bed and breakfasts, guesthouses or let self-catering properties, as well as hotels.

All of these ‘responsible persons’ are being urged to respond to the call for evidence.

Their responsibilities include:

  • carrying out a fire risk assessment of the premises and reviewing it regularly
  • telling staff or their representatives about the risks identified
  • putting in place and maintaining appropriate fire safety measures
  • planning for an emergency
  • providing staff information, fire safety instruction and training

The call for evidence will run for eight weeks until 31 July 2019, and an analysis of responses will be published and inform the government’s next steps later this year.

It complements the government’s consultation, Building a Safer Future. Led by the Ministry for Housing, communities and local government, the consultation outlines how the government proposes to take forward meaningful legislative reform in the building safety regulatory system.

See more information on the call for evidence here and on the Building a Safer Future consultation here.

Image by chitsu san from Pixabay

100% Hackitt initiative to ‘drive cultural change in construction’

A new industry initiative has been launched to encourage the government to deliver all of the recommendations contained within Dame Judith Hackitt’s report in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

100% Hackitt is being led by Local Authority Building Control (LABC) and the British Board of Agrément (BBA), who say they have united to bring focus to industry calls for a full adoption of Dame Judith’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

The initiative has a dedicated website at www.100-hackitt.co.uk and has ‘pledge cards’ for supporters to sign up to the initiative and pushing for an Early Day Motion debate in the House of Commons.

Dame Judith attended the launch, delivering a keynote speech to a large number of cross-party politicians, policy advisors and industry body representatives, telling them there was ‘massive need’ for culture change throughout the industry, with responsibilities clearly defined at every stage of a building’s lifecycle.

“Much remains to be done to bring the construction industry up to the standards of other industries in terms of accountability, transparency and record keeping,” she said. “Don’t tinker, don’t tweak, it has to be fundamental.”

Claire Curtis-Thomas, BBA Chief Executive, said: “The BBA is backing this initiative as strongly as we possibly can because we want to see bad practices in the industry eliminated and protection for the public and companies that are fully committed to high standards of delivery.”

Paul Everall, LABC Chief Executive, added: “The LABC and the BBA share the same outlook and are determined to make a difference in our industry. But we’re not waiting, we’re getting on with building a safer future together – right now. The 100% Hackitt initiative is a space for everyone who wants to see systemic change in the construction industry and I hope the whole industry gets behind it.”

The launch event was facilitated by cross-party think tank Policy Connect through its parliamentary forum for the built environment, the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum.

The initiative has the support of senior figures across the construction and fire safety sector including the Fire Sector Federation, whose Executive Officer Dennis Davis said: “We are backing the 100% Hackitt initiative because we need a mandatory, controlled system that allows us to balance what we want – innovation, good buildings, new ideas, growth in our economy – with sensible restraint that ensures short cuts and economies aren’t made and shows that people are competent, resulting in safe building for those who occupy them.”

Jonathan Shaw, Chief Executive of Policy Connect, added: “The Hackitt review represents a once in a generation opportunity to recast the building system and start to build safer, better designed homes. We will discuss how the review can bring about positive change in the construction industry, what still remains to be done and where the Hackitt review could have gone further so that we can encourage the industry to push for change.”

100% Hackitt unites those who wish to see cultural change in the construction industry, promoting safety and public trust via a forum which provides on-going opportunities to discuss cross-discipline issues whilst keeping pressure on Ministers to adopt all of the Hackitt review recommendations.

“Dame Judith’s review of building regulations and fire safety showed systemic change is required within our industry,” added Curtis-Thomas. “Her report came with a warning that cherry-picking recommendations would compromise their overall effectiveness and it is this ‘pick and mix’ approach that the BBA and LABC are urging the government to avoid by accepting the recommendations in full.

“The construction industry has overwhelmingly taken on board her views and aspirations and wants to drive change – shifts in practices and working relationships have already been voluntarily introduced by many – but we need government backing to ensure this happens across the board. Many of the recommendations fall to government rather than industry. We are doing our bit and it now needs to do its bit and if this needs new regulation or even legislation it will have our backing and the backing of those who recognise that business as usual is not an option any of us want to consider.”

For full information about 100% Hackitt and to keep abreast of its latest developments visit: www.100-hackitt.co.uk

BIFM steps up fire safety with accreditation and training

The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) has confirmed plans to develop a certified accreditation and suite of training for facilities managers in charge of life safety in buildings.

Responding to Building a Safer Future, the final report by Dame Judith Hackitt published earlier this month, the Institute wants to ensure that FMs have access to high quality training and professional development that can certify their competency to uphold the highest standards of life safety in the buildings they manage.

BIFM says it’s keen to work with other bodies representing the built environment to ensure a joined-up response.

The Institute’s Life Safety Working Group (LSWG) will play a role in the development of a specific competency programme for facilities managers, alongside relevant CPD. The Group has been a participant in the Hackitt Review team’s work, helping to articulate how fire safety can be achieved best when maintaining buildings as well as feeding into work to develop competency in such maintenance.

LSWG Chair Rob Greenfield said: “Given the vital role that FMs can and do play in ensuring high standards of life safety in buildings, it’s important to strengthen the competency of those involved. My experts group will lead work to develop a dedicated accreditation programme for a specific FM standard as a first step in ensuring that FM best practice plays a part in the response to Hackitt”.

CEO Linda Hausmanis said: “We are fully behind Dame Judith’s proposals to strengthen competencies in building management and across the wider construction and built environment professions. As the leading professional body for facilities management, I am keen to ensure that BIFM leads the way in setting and upholding fire and system related professional competencies for facilities managers; and that the Institute contributes fully in ensuring coherence across the piece”.