Don't trip up or get burnt this Christmas

Mark Owen – Health & Safety Expert

November 27 2015

As we run up to Christmas, businesses across the country will have recruited seasonal staff to cope with increased demand for goods and services. Stock levels will also have been increased in anticipation of the extra seasonal demand and post-Christmas sales. Employers who don’t think about the consequences of these actions will also notice an increase in accidents, stock and property damage. Experience dictates that seasonal staff can often put to work with minimum training, stock stored in access routes, in staff rooms, corridors and other unexpected places all contribute to this effect. Staff and customer’s trip over and stumble against stock stored haphazardly and you risk blocking fire escape routes. This is a time of the year when Fire Authorities find an abundance of blocked and locked fire exits – offences which usually lead to a court summons. For you own peace of mind make sure that any new recruits are properly trained and have the same level of fire safety awareness as permanent members of staff. At this busy and often cluttered time of year it may also be a good opportunity to remind everyone about fire safety arrangements Statistics show that in 2013/14 there were almost 2,500 fires in industrial premises and nearly 6,000 in commercial and retail premises. Don’t let your business become one of these statistics. Make sure all your staff are fully aware of potential health & safety and fire hazards / risks and know how to avoid them. Follow these simple steps;
  • Avoid the risk of slips and trips - store stock safely, keep corridors, stairs and exits clear.
  • Don’t store stock so that getting it out of store increases the risk of manual handling injury.
  • Keep doors, particularly fire doors, closed to stop fires from spreading.
  • Make sure that flammable materials are stored away from sources of heat and potential ignition.
  • Try to avoid using portable heating equipment at this time of year.
  • Check daily that fire exits are not blocked (inside and out) and are immediately available for use.
  • Make sure that all staff know what to do if they spot a fire, where alarm points are located and what to do if the alarm sounds.
Should you need further advice on this or any other work related health and safety topic call your allocated BusinessSafe Consultant or one of their colleagues on our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2785.

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