Don’t lose focus on safety
Health and safety from two perspectives
As the UK’s leading smoke control care and compliance company – developing and maintaining quality fire safety systems while undertaking onsite contracting – safety must be our primary priority. That means the safety of our staff, other contractors and the public when we’re on site, and the safety of building users long after we’ve completed our smoke control works.
After a bruising few years the construction industry has been recovering well for some time now. But there are shadows of a new recession on the horizon, so as an industry leader we feel it’s timely to point out to businesses that safety is one avenue of expenditure that cannot be skimped upon, although best value can always be sought.
Let’s look at some figures. The Health and Safety Executive cites some startling numbers from 2014/15, showing 76,000 injuries were suffered by employees (as reported under RIDDOR, with a total of 611,000 injuries occurring at work according to the Labour Force Survey).
The same set of HSE stats reveals 27.3 million working days were lost due to work-related illnesses and workplace injury (albeit with 35% of these illnesses being recorded as stress-related).
Add to that national fire statistics from the Home Office (for England alone) that reveal no less than 155,000 fire incidents were attended by fire brigade services in 2014/15.
So this leaves us in a fairly unique position as a business – protecting health in terms of our own workforce and protecting the safety of the public at large:
Our H&S – what are we doing about it?
We’ve long been proud of our own health and safety record, but that resource has just been significantly bolstered with the appointment of Andrew Flaherty, who has a CertHE in Environment, NeBOSH General Certificate, NeBOSH Construction Certificate and NVQ Level 5 Diploma in Health and Safety (and is currently working toward a DipHE in Environmental Studies).
Andrew is our new Health and Safety Manager and will be responsible for ensuring our risk assessments and method statements are fully up to scratch as well as performing site checks to verify that our working practices, equipment and planning are all as safe as they can be. This is especially relevant as our processes often involve working at height, mobile access equipment and high-voltage electrical systems.
Your H&S – how to ensure the safety of your people
Smoke control in multi-storey buildings is generally a legal requirement, and with good reason. Smoke ventilation systems can drastically reduce the risk to building occupants and fire fighters if a blaze breaks out, maintaining smoke-free areas during times of escape or when tackling the flames. We all know the hazards of smoke inhalation, and it generally spreads much faster than the actual fire.
Thankfully, legislation also has provision for the maintenance of smoke control systems, ensuring their installation doesn’t simply become a box-ticking exercise. This is where our specialists come in, providing scheduled or emergency maintenance as well as equipment upgrades and aiding in building refurbishments or changes of purpose.
Can you save money without compromising safety?
Happily, the answer is yes. Like any other piece of equipment, smoke control systems and their components have a natural useful life. We at Brakel Airvent work to increase that working life, but when the time comes for system replacement we won’t hit you with a huge bill for a complete refurb or wholesale replacement.
Rather, we stage our works considerately so that all equipment is kept fully functional while new kit is installed a bit at a time. This minimises disruption and spread costs, without ever compromising safety of your people, property and assets.
We don’t claim to be able to eliminate all risks to health and safety – we all know that getting out of bed in the morning is enough to invite risk into our lives. But we work very hard to mitigate risk, to make our works safer and to make the people who use your building safer – Andrew’s appointment is a sign of that.