Fire Safety in the Workplace
Workplace fire safety is a legal responsibility for every employer. This is a mandatory, legal requirement. There are many specific aspects of fire safety that must be complied with, such as making sure that emergency routes and exits are kept clear and are well signposted; fire detecting and fire-fighting equipment must be installed correctly; there must be a clear emergency evacuation plan that is made known to everyone in the building; the needs of vulnerable people must be taken into consideration; fire safety staff must be adequately trained and the removal or safe storage of dangerous or hazardous materials must be carried out. These are just some of the mandatory requirements, but every organisation is required to carry out their own fire safety risk assessments to identify and prioritise every potential hazard so that control measures can be put in place to mitigate the risk. The employer’s responsibility extends not only to employees, but everyone who is on the premises, including visitors and contractors.
Do you know who is on your premises?
It can be challenging to know exactly who is onsite at any given time. When employees come and go during their normal working day, how do you know who to account for in the event of an emergency? Many organisations have some sort of electronic access control system where employees use a card, PIN or biometric to enter and leave a building. This is a very useful source of information when knowing who is on or off site. In addition, visitors are usually required to sign in via a visitor book or electronic visitor management system. Electronic systems have the advantage of being able to access the information in real-time. If you are using a manual, paper-based system, how is this information made available to the fire safety team?
Do you conduct a sweep of your site in an emergency?
In order to make sure that your site is clear in an emergency, many businesses train fire safety staff to conduct a final sweep of a building. When everyone has left the building, fire marshals conduct a systematic sweep of all areas of the site. The two main benefits of this are that a fire marshal can assist anyone who may not be able to swiftly exit the building on their own, and they will check for any danger, such as fire or smoke which can then be reported back to the safety team.
Is your information accurate and in real-time?
One of the challenges regarding fire safety in the workplace is how to get the information on safety statuses over to the fire safety teams and the emergency services. Paper-based roll calls, even if they are generated from a system like an access control, can be useful in an emergency. However, paper-based information cannot be reconciled in real-time; if a member of staff presents themselves to assembly point 1, how does a member of the fire safety team at assembly point 2 know that they are safe? If a fire marshal conducting a sweep of the building is in need of assistance, how do they communicate that to the rest of the team or to the fire service when they arrive? Ideally, you would not want to wait until the fire marshal has made their way outside of the building.
Time really does matter!
In a real-life emergency, every second counts. At its most extreme, it can make the difference between life and death. It is vital that the information is both accurate and readily available. Businesses need to be able to do more than just say, “I think everyone has been accounted for”. If there is any doubt or uncertainty, emergency services may have to decide to enter a burning building to make sure there is nobody trapped inside, and this can put lives at risk, unnecessarily. If you can show the emergency services that you have a reliable system in place that can account for the people onsite or the status of a sweep and clear process, then this allows the emergency services to direct their resources to where they are most needed.
Musterd Evacuation Management
Musterd is an innovative roll call and sweep & clear solution, developed by Thinking Software. It is considered by many, to be the most advanced solution of its kind. Musterd is two powerful solutions in one application and can be relied upon in an emergency to provide fire safety teams with valuable information to assist them with a fast and effective evacuation.
Musterd Roll Call
Musterd Roll Call can be integrated with your access control system or installed with its own hardware, to process people on and off site. When an emergency happens, whether it is a real emergency or part of an evacuation drill, Musterd will create a list of ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ people, based on who was reported to be onsite when the alarm was raised. Musterd also has a visitor/contractor management system to allow the reporting of people who may not necessarily be employees.
Musterd Sweep and Clear
Musterd Sweep and Clear uses a series of unique QR codes that are printed on luminescent signs and are placed near to the exits of areas or zones within a building. When fire marshals conduct their sweep of the building, they can quickly and easily report that an area is safe, by scanning the QR code on the Musterd app. Any number of people can log in to the application and see, in real-time, all areas that are clear, all areas that are still to be checked and if any danger has been identified or if assistance has been requested. No longer does the fire safety team have to wait until the fire marshals have made their way to a rendezvous point; the information is available as it happens.
Musterd not only gives you peace of mind, it will help you ensure your emergency evacuation compliance. In the event of a real-life emergency, it will also give you the information you need to protect your personnel.
For more information about Musterd Roll Call and Sweep & Clear, why not book a free, no obligation, online demonstration?
Tel: +44 (0) 1993 878 671