We’re living in a changing world where post lockdown many businesses are planning their return to work with the need for additional precautions. Those precautions will need to include greater protection for staff, clients and members of the public. Fire safety procedures remain of the highest importance but how do you adapt them to be in accordance with social distancing?
MidlandsFRS are acutely aware of the need for careful planning to ensure that business premises and sites remain safe while considering the new demands that #Covid-19 place on us all. Here is some advice and guidance for your safe return.
You may be dealing initially with changes to your workforce. Perhaps some staff have been furloughed and been away from the business for some time. You need to consider if all your fire marshals have returned to site and if not how will you maintain full fire safety at your site.
It may be good to ask a trusted provider to run an accredited refresher course for returning staff. This would help staff to refresh their knowledge while considering the new Social Distancing measures required. You might consider appointing a company to carry out this training via Video Conferencing, or on site where your own particular challenges can be addressed first hand.
The Practicalities of Social Distancing
Simple things like regular Fire Drills are now going to be more challenging in this new environment. Perhaps an initial desktop walkthrough for all Managers and Fire Marshals would be appropriate, to reconsider risk assessments and acceptable evacuation procedures. However, this cannot replace the need for actual fire drills.
You’ll need to consider if the physical surroundings of the business have changed during the lockdown. Are the previous escape routes still appropriate? Can more routes be added safely? Once your managers have been able to assure you of the correct routes for everyone to exit the building safely, you can then move forward to an actual socially distanced fire drill.
Preparing for a Socially Distanced Fire Drill
Before the drill, you’ll need to review if your fire assembly points are still appropriate. Is it possible and practical for your assembled staff to remain safe while also being 2 metres apart? You’ll need to calculate the number of staff that would congregate at that point and then maybe use distance markers for staff to be safely distanced. You may need additional assembly points.
Remember that a new assembly point should have its own fire marshal and register and remain accessible to people with mobility issues. It’s also important for all staff to be informed well in advance of the location of each assembly point and which one they will be assigned to.
Once the Drill is over and wherever possible, staff need to be directed to various re-entry points to avoid crowding. If this is not possible then a staggered re-entry would be appropriate to comply with social distancing measures. It would be ideal for each entry point to be equipped with hand sanitation products or close to a washing facility.
Help, Training and Support is at hand
This world has certainly added some new challenges for business owners and staff. If you would like some practical and professional support and staff training then please contact MidlandsFRS on 03333 449908