Monthly Archives: May 2014

Ensure the Safety of Your Employees: Your 10-point Guide to Fire Warden Training

Where the RRO applies to your premises, you must undertake a fire risk assessment and make an emergency plan, within which you must nominate people to undertake any special roles identified, such as fire wardens/marshals. The number of fire wardens depends on the size and complexity of your premises. Your fire risk assessment or fire emergency plan should give you information on how often you should train fire wardens.

Fire Warden Training: 10 Top Tips

Fire wardens require special training above the needs of the normal employee, which includes knowledge of fire prevention and identification of possible fire hazards in the workplace. Fire wardens not only need to be able to keep a calm head in an emergency, but also need to be able to carry out their role whilst under pressure. Different organisations adopt slightly different procedures for emergency evacuation and therefore will require their wardens to take actions that are tailored to the particular building or organisation.

However, all fire wardens must:

  1. Know details of the company’s fire risk assessment, emergency plan and evacuation procedures – actions to be taken in the event of fire.
  2. Know the common causes of fire and understanding the fire triangle – fire creation and spread.
  3. Understand the role and responsibilities of the fire warden.
  4. Know how to raise the alarm and how to call the fire service.
  5. Know which means of escape for which they have responsibility.
  6. Know how to search areas safely and recognise when it is not safe to enter rooms/areas.
  7. Be prepared and trained to use fire fighting equipment if it is safe to do so.
  8. Assist the evacuation of people by: donning a high visibility jacket or waistcoat in order to be easily recognised and assisting disabled staff members in accordance with individual PEEPs (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans).
  9. Understand human behaviour in a fire.
  10. Liaise with the fire and rescue service on arrival.

Keep your business safe and avoid enforcement action by ensuring your staff are trained properly.

Contact us should you require assistance.

 

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HSE Updates: Guidance on Driving for Work

By incorporating the four essential principles – Plan, Do, Check, Act – into your safety management system, you can reduce potentially fatal accidents and expensive costs.

Plan, Do, Check and Act Now to Manage Driving for Work Plan

  • Start by consulting workers and carrying out a risk assessment which considers: the vehicles, journeys and any drivers who might increase your overall level of risk.
  • From this, identify any priorities for action and keep a record of your findings. Plan for driver emergencies, such as vehicle breakdowns, bad weather, etc.
  • Develop a policy on how your company will manage road risk and ensure it is communicated to your workers.

Do

  • Consider drivers’ attitudes and competence on recruitment by asking about their driving history and any penalty points they may have.
  • Ask to see their original driver’s licence at least annually and keep a copy on file. Ensure they meet the DVLA’s medical fitness standard.
  • Consider further driver training, particularly if you employ younger drivers and workers who drive for long distances.
  • Make sure vehicles are right for the job and that they are maintained and serviced regularly. Where vehicles are owned by employees, request copies of MOT certificates and maintenance logs and evidence of tax and motor insurance, which includes business use.
  • Ensure drivers plan their journeys, following the safest route, and plan breaks from driving at least every two hours. If a journey is excessively long, it’s safer to allow your workers to stay overnight.
  • Consider using public transport as this may allow employees to carry on working, e.g. using a laptop when travelling by train.

Check

  • Check drivers’ licences to see if drivers are entitled to drive the class of vehicle to be driven.
  • Ensure all accidents and near misses are reported, recorded and investigated to monitor trends.
  • Develop daily and weekly vehicle safety check lists and ensure they are completed.

Act

  • Review your progress periodically to identify if you need to take further steps to manage driver safety and develop an action plan for improvement.
  • Remember to share any lessons learned from experience with your workforce to promote safer driving.

Manage your driving activities now if you want to avoid criminal convictions, financial penalties, negative publicity and serious accidents.

 

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Thinking of Employing Contractors? Make Sure You Manage Their Work Activities!

Contractors are at particular risk as they may be strangers to your business and thus unfamiliar with your organisation’s policies, procedures, rules, hazards and risks. Even contractors who regularly visit your premises need reminding of their joint health and safety responsibilities.

Top Tips for Managing Contractors

  1. Choose contractors who are competent to do the work, e.g. by checking evidence of competence. Look at risk assessments and method statements, decide whether sub-contracting is acceptable and if so, how safety will be ensured.
  2. Plan the work and consider eliminating or reducing risks to health and safety, ensure the precautions needed are understood and the job is discussed with the contractor. The aim of planning should be to ensure the work is carried out safely without putting contractors or your own employees’ safety at risk.
  3. Manage contractors while they are carrying out work. Check any safety certificates in relation to certain machinery, e.g. six- or 12-monthly checks for lifting equipment. Ensure site rules are being followed, the job is being done safely and when work is completed, the site is left in a safe condition. Give workplace-specific inductions, highlight the known hazards, make sure that contractors sign in and out and name a person as a point of contact to liaise with, report problems and answer any queries.
  4. Review the contractor once the work is completed to decide whether your system for managing contractors should be revised in the light of experience. This will include consideration of how effective your planning was, how the contractor performed, how effective the communication, supervision/monitoring systems worked or whether any improvements are needed to manage contractors in future.
  5. Ensure those with responsibilities for managing/working with contractors have enough knowledge, skills and experience (i.e. competence) to carry out their responsibilities effectively. This will involve providing training and information on the hazards and precautions for the work undertaken.
  6. Consider how you will deal with contracting firms or their individual employees who fail to work in a safe manner (e.g. removal from approved lists, loss of contract, financial penalties). This information should be made available to contractors.

Ensure that contractors are fully integrated into your company’s health and safety management system,  avoiding costly prosecutions.

Contact us if you require information and assistance.

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Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) for Disabled People

The safety of people occupying premises is an employer’s duty and is not the responsibility of the Fire and Rescue Service. For people who require assistance, the PEEP must provide the necessary information to enable them and anyone providing assistance, to escape from a building to a place of relative safety.

Advice for writing a PEEP

  1. Discuss with the employee what help they need (not all disabled people require help) and identify the persons who will provide assistance and make sure everyone knows their part. Ideally, there should be more than one, to cover for absences. Arrange for staff to receive training, if necessary, e.g. use of an evacuation chair or disability escape etiquette training.
  2. Write up the plan in conjunction with both parties. If you don’t feel confident the PEEP will always work, then you must make alternative working arrangements, e.g. relocate the disabled employee to the ground floor. Disabled people who have a PEEP should not be left to work alone. Wherever possible, PEEPs should be written for both fast and slow-moving people. However, where the person may need to rest or they feel threatened by people behind them, it may be appropriate to design a plan that allows for this, e.g. resting in refuges provided along the route.
  3. Review the PEEP at least annually and when something changes, e.g. the disabled worker moves to another floor or building.
  4. It isn’t practical to write a bespoke PEEP for every visitor or casual user of the building, so you should develop standard plans instead. By assessing the difficulty in evacuating the premises and the types of evacuation that can be provided, it will be easier to address needs and a system of standard plans may be used. A standard PEEP can be held at reception and may be advertised and offered to visitors as part of your signing-in procedures.

Where an employer does not make provision for safe evacuation arrangements for disabled people from their premises, this is likely to constitute a failure to comply with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO 2005) and may also be considered to be discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Contact us should you require advice.

 

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