Silly things such as coat hooks and bag storage were two of the issues that led to a school and their Risk Assessor being fined nearly £40,000 between them. A clear example of the dangers of choosing the wrong partner in Health and Safety!
Here's what they did wrong, and how YOU can get it right...
Fire Service Inspectors found failings in two schools and a nursery which led to a £10,000 fine plus costs of £14,533 for the Foundation.
The Health and Safety Risk Assessor employed by the Foundation was personally fined £10,000 plus £5,000 costs after pleading guilty to failing to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment.
In the Girls School there was:
Inspectors in the Boys School found:
Issues in the Nursery were:
Ultimately, the buck stops with the Responsible Person. And as we can see from this case, simply bringing someone in to do a Risk Assessment isn't enough. That person MUST be competent!
As Chris Kemp, Senior Fire Protection Manager for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said:
“This case highlights the importance of not only the duty placed on those responsible for the building, but also those contracted to carry out specialist services such as the Fire Risk Assessment.
It is a fundamental pillar in the principles of Fire Safety and anyone appointing someone to carrying out such an assessment or other specialist service needs to ensure they hold the relevant competence.”
It's crucial you ensure your contractors are actually competent to do a proper job... and then you have to follow through on the recommendations.
Not nearly as expensive as a fine! And when you think of the potential consequences of a fire, you can't put a price on the safety of school children and staff.
In the case above it would cost nothing to keep the blocked Fire Doors clear and leave the doors they removed in place. Space is at a premium in most schools but encouraging tidy storage of coats and bags comes at zero cost.
The Fire Doors that didn't close properly would have been detected during a regular maintenance check if they had a contract with a specialist Fire Door company like Blake's. Not only would this have kept them safe and compliant, but problems would have been fixed as they arose. Thereby avoiding issues getting worse and saving total replacements.
Blake's have been trusted to design, install, and maintain Fire and Security systems in over 200 Essex schools. Our NSI Gold and BM Trada accreditations are your guarantees that we are fully competent!
We've drawn on our many years of experience and written an e-book to help you with Balancing Budget and Fire Safety in Schools. It's packed with useful insights and completely FREE! Whether you're the Responsible Person or the Person with the Purse...