With employees and customers returning to workplaces and stores following the pandemic, new research by fire safety specialist JLA has revealed that many companies are ill-equipped to deal with the growing risk of fires at their sites – posing huge risk to employee and customer safety.
According to the nationally representative survey of 250 business owners, over a third of businesses (38%) do not have suitable fire-risk assessments in place and more than 80% of businesses do not have written regulations against false fire alarms, and the risks they pose, within their company handbooks.
What’s worse is that almost 40% of the businesses surveyed have not given all of their staff training on the common causes of false alarms and how to mitigate the risks of these happening within their workplace. This was particularly prevalent in restaurants, bars and cafes, where this figure rises to 75%, suggesting that if businesses do not train their staff in fire prevention, the associated risks could be huge. In particular, damaged reputation, loss of revenue and a decrease in business efficiency are all potential consequences if businesses and employees are not prepared to deal with the impact of a false fire alarm sounding.
The research, carried out by JLA, as part of its ‘False fire alarms’ campaign, revealed a huge lack of business preparedness in mitigating the risks associated with false fire alarms.
To best prepare for these risks, businesses should:
- Ensure effective, regular maintenance of all fire-alarm equipment;
- Provide training to employees on how to prevent false alarms
- Ensure employees know how to respond to a false fire alarm to minimise disruption to the business
Commenting on this research, Peter Martin, Operations Director, Fire & Security at JLA, said: ‘The events of the past year have understandably caused businesses attention to move on towards more “business-critical” decisions. However, with a potential 18 months of fire-safety complacency, the risks to businesses now, as staff and customers slowly start to return to sites, could be much worse than anticipated.
‘Our survey revealed worrying statistics around businesses both not maintaining their fire-safety equipment, or delivering vital fire-safety training to their staff. This suggests that if a fire were to occur, many organisations could be placing their customers, and employees, under extreme risk.
‘At a time when British businesses need the continued loyalty of their customers and staff, prioritising safety and reducing the risk of false fire alarms is a priority for every organisation. Ensuring fire alarms are being frequently tested and maintained is absolutely essential. Failing to do so could not only risk the lives of employees and customers but could leave the business facing extreme fines and a damaged reputation.’
For more information about JLA and the research findings and products which can help with fire safety, please visit jla.com/blog/fire-safety/a-third-of-uk-businesses-are-failing-to-test-their-fire-alarms-as-often-as-legally-required/