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