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Office fire procedures - H&S incidents case studies to reinforce message pls

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TWDB
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Office fire procedures - H&S incidents case studies to reinforce message pls

Post by TWDB »

Hi All,

I'm reviewing my new company's Fire procedures and finding some holes in their procedures for the office.

I'm keen to reinforce the importance of these through a communication and want to use a case study from H&S incident.

so I'm reintroducing the signing in and out register for all staff attending the office - because I want to know / want fire wardens to be able to know when people have left the building, even for a pop to the shops, and to write down where people are once they have left the office to work else where for lone working.

but I want to support this procedure with a case study example - showing an example when staff did not sign out and due to this it caused considerable disruption and or resulted in a incident.

does anyone have any case studies they can share on this?

i always describe / give an example of the fire service being told to attend a fire , staff leaving the office when fire alarm sounds, and some managers went to lunch without signing out believing it was just drill again, and not waiting for instruction by fir warden - the fire service arrived and had to access the building as there was no record that all staff were out of the office , but the office then collapsed in places due to a real fire and the firemen / women where injured / killed.

but this is only an example and not a true case study I don't think?

any help is appreciated and good real life examples

thanks

T.
n
Update: taken a new job :D hopefully confidence and positivity will return with new challenge - scary though leaving current place after 16 years (6 years H&S !) :shock:
(previous signature: was motivated once ..................... searching to get it back ! .scratch)
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Re: Office fire procedures - H&S incidents case studies to reinforce message pls

Post by Alexis »

Bump. Many thanks in advance.
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Re: Office fire procedures - H&S incidents case studies to reinforce message pls

Post by Messy »

Hi TWDB

I have been involved in the fire safety industry for 44 years, 32 years of them as an operational fire officer and fire safety inspector. I have plenty of examples of poor roll calls and especially over breaks, but I am afraid nothing as dramatic as that on your wish list.

But let's back track a little and consider your booking in system.
Of course it is an accepted method of accounting for staff, but in my experience it is fraught with difficulties and rarely reliable. For it to be an effective system, it has to be 100% accurate on 100% of occasions. Good luck with that as it relies on 'people' - all staff - doing what they should do- and we all know how reliable they can be!!!

The people we are talking about might be your entire workforce, visitors, contractors, the public and so on. You (the employer) will have variable amounts of control of each group. We have 4,000 people in one of our buildings (in non covid times) and keeping control (by training, instruction and exercises) of such a large group is impossible if you wish to keep to a high standard.

I much prefer the 'sweep' method. There is no booking in, and no roll call (unless you want one). As the building is evacuated, trained fire wardens follows staff out and sweep a pre-defined area to ensure its clear of persons. Depending on the size of the premises, several evacuation zones might be required and staff recruited as fire wardens for each zone - enough to cover absences.

As the fire wardens leave the building, they report to a evacuator controller (manager?) who has a form and is able to annotate the form as wardens report to him/her

The fire brigade will want to know "Is everyone out of the building?". A sweep will give to a rapid assurance everyone has left and doesn't get bogged down by people popping out to buy fags or genuinely forgetting to book in or out

There's a bit of work setting it up, and some maintenance costs training and recruiting staff to fill gaps. But your training effort is concentrated on to a small cadre of volunteers, so they are far more reliable and controllable. Fire drills are essential perhaps 2 or 3 on the first six months that you established the plan and annually or six-monthly thereafter. Allowing full staff and warden feedback is essential


Honestly, I admire the motivation you have demonstrated by the energy in your post, but my advice is, unless there is a real need, bin the roll call and introduce the sweep system. Its far more resilient and robust
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Re: Office fire procedures - H&S incidents case studies to reinforce message pls

Post by bernicarey »

I'm very much with Messy on this one. Signing in and out rarely works, unless there are other factors, such as Control of Entry/Exit using turnstiles.

If you're going to have a role call sort of system, it is best done by teams or departments. That only works of course if the workplace is organised along such lines.
Let's take an example of 100 people.
9 teams/departments of 10, each lead by 1 person who knows who is off, who is visiting another site elsewhere, who had gone to early lunch etc., etc.
10 people in the management department, including a secretarial position perhaps who knows where all the managers/directors are.
Then when the evacuation happens, 1 person from each team, plus the person from the management, each report their team status to the person controlling the scene.

One person with a register from the front door just doesn't work.
Messy wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:40 pm Good luck with that as it relies on 'people' - all staff - doing what they should do- and we all know how reliable they can be!!!
Back in the day, when I worked in a very secure building, with electronic swiping in/out, the system relied on roll calls of the people swiped in at the time, since everyone had exited without swiping out. This was a Military facility with about 50/50 split uniforms/civilians.
One alarm activation, there were 2 civvies unaccounted for...We're just about to report to the fire service we had 2 missing, when they were spotted sat in a car, because it was a 'bit windy', no thought to being at the roll call before going to sit in the car. :twisted:
So even having control of entry/exit doesn't work if the staff are moronic!
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Re: Office fire procedures - H&S incidents case studies to reinforce message pls

Post by witsd »

Just to 'pile on' a little, I'm totally in agreement with the above.

I've worked in a small office relatively recently, and prior to that I worked in a 5 story Marks and Spencer with underground offices, multiple backstage areas, walk-in freezers, customer toilets and everything else you might expect.

In the office a role call would have been ludicrous - the only places out of sight were a laboratory the size of a wealthy lady's wardrobe and two toilets, all of which could be checked by whichever person was the most senior at the time. Total time to sweep and exit the building was less than 20 seconds.

In the M&S it was a totally different beast. We operated a policy of multiple fire wardens being available at any time, all meeting by the main fire panel. At this point, teams of two would be sent to ensure that each floor was empty, operating a strict policy of 'turn around and leave at the first sign of trouble'. This was slightly controversial, as it was sending staff deeper into a building that could have been on fire, but given the open-plan design of the majority of the building, we felt it was the best balance available to us.

The M&S busybodies also forced us to have clocking in / out cards for all staff. I cannot impress upon you how pointless these were. Maybe 90% of staff used them appropriately, but some forgot regularly, and a small minority actively messed around with them, moving and hiding managers' cards each day. It was absolutely a chocolate teapot.

Having said all that, you should certainly try to capture which members of staff are involved in an evacuation - very handy for seeing who has never been involved in one, and prioritising them for your next fire drill.
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'
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Re: Office fire procedures - H&S incidents case studies to reinforce message pls

Post by quality_somerset »

A similar incident to the scenario you quoted was the Atherstone-on-Stour fire. 4 firemen entered the warehouse looking for missing persons, the roof collapsed and 4 firemen died. The missing people had gone to the back of the building and not the fire assembly point. More information here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-c ... e-16651345

Evacuation of complex buildings is the bane of many H&S officers; hopefully we can put an RFID tag on all employees like my cat (not sure this is legal though...), although knowing some of the staff I work with they would quite literally forget their heads...

Regards

QS
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Re: Office fire procedures - H&S incidents case studies to reinforce message pls

Post by bernicarey »

quality_somerset wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:56 pm hopefully we can put an RFID tag on all employees like my cat (not sure this is legal though...), although knowing some of the staff I work with they would quite literally forget their heads...
Been happening in Sweden since 2015: https://www.yahoo.com/news/microchips-u ... 47071.html
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