Companies “risking employee safety” due to poor fire and lighting system maintenance

Infographic of Hochiki's Efficiency Calculator

Infographic of Hochiki’s Efficiency Calculator

Extensive research conducted by Hochiki Europe – the specialist fire safety solutions developer – has found that a quarter of European businesses questioned are risking their employees’ safety due to poor maintenance of fire or emergency lighting systems within their buildings.

In a detailed survey of European fire equipment installers*, one third (34%) suggest that emergency lighting performance isn’t accurately monitored using a logbook in accordance with the law.

According to the study, similar levels of apathy towards accurate logbook recordings were found in relation to fire safety efficiency, with one third (33%) of installers’ customers who were questioned not currently in possession of up-to-date fire detection records on site.

Legislation such as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 dictates that all businesses adhere to prescriptive standards which comprise the quality of products adopted, maintenance of all safety systems and shared responsibility when it comes to protecting all members of the workforce.

Despite the environmental and total cost of ownership benefits to be realised, only 15% of installers’ customers use LED technology while just 9% have self-testing emergency lighting systems in place. The latter can reduce valuable resources spent by businesses on maintenance regimes.

Assessment and maintenance of safety provisions

Assessing the survey results, David Brown – product manager at Hochiki Europe – told Risk UK: “It’s absolutely crucial that businesses do not fall short when it comes to the assessment and maintenance of safety provisions designed to protect employees and prevent accidents that may not be legislated for.”

Brown added: “We’ve partnered with skilled installers to determine where businesses and their building owners can be better supported and have now developed a simple tool which directs them to solutions that promote both efficiency and optimum safety in accordance with the very latest regulations.”

The new online tool quizzes the user on the performance status of a building’s current solution(s) as well as providing guidance on methods of improving given solutions.

Ongoing problems with false alarms

Failing to properly maintain a fire safety system not only risks lives in the event of a fire event but can also lead to false alarms which may have severe financial repercussions for businesses in the UK.

According to recent data issued by the London Fire Brigade, the cost to the UK economy in lost productivity from false alarms is estimated at around £1 billion per annum, with the biggest culprits being hospitals and universities.

Given the fact that businesses are under constant pressure to be more efficient and reduce their costs, addressing a poorly-performing fire safety system could well make a significance difference.

*Data produced from a representative sample of European fire and lighting system installers during January 2015

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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