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EMERGENCY EVACUATIONS


LIGHTING THE WAY TO A SAFER FUTURE


Too many building owners are cutting corners when it comes to emergency lighting, despite past tragedies. Tomorrow’s Health and Safety spoke to two experts to understand the issues at play.


Anthony Martindale, Field Product Manager of Lighting at Eaton:


Q: WHY ARE OUTDATED AND/OR SUBSTANDARD EMERGENCY LIGHTING SYSTEMS SO COMMON


IN THE UK? AM: Emergency lighting in a building can quickly fall out of compliance due to damage, lack of testing or maintenance and shifting regulation. A ‘fit and forget’ mindset is at the heart of why outdated and faulty emergency lighting systems are so prevalent today. Compliance often falls between the accountability cracks, particularly as building owners and facilities managers frequently employ third parties to test and rectify issues with emergency lighting systems – washing their hands of the upkeep, yet remaining accountable for compliance in the eyes of the law.


Q: OTHER THAN THE POTENTIAL HUMAN IMPACT, WHAT KIND OF CONSEQUENCES ARE THERE FOR NON- COMPLIANT EMERGENCY


“MANY ARE SWAYED BY THE FALSE


ECONOMY OF OPTING FOR


LIGHTING IN A BUILDING? AM: Sub-standard emergency lighting systems could lead to inefficient evacuation during an incident – bringing about injuries or worse still, loss of life. Yet in addition to the potential human impact, there are financial consequences. While the use of fire safety equipment can aid in the reduction of insurance premiums, it can


22


THE LOWEST COST DEAL TO TICK A BOX AT A MOMENT IN TIME.”





also have the opposite impact when done incorrectly. Insurance companies can use non-compliance with fire safety orders as a reason for not paying out. Beyond this, the reputational impact must be considered, from putting off potential employees and customers to impacting share prices.


Q: HOW CAN FMs AND BUILDING OWNERS AVOID THESE


CONSEQUENCES? AM: To avoid the variety of consequences that come with outdated emergency lighting, a series of best practice initiatives can be followed. First, an up-to-date risk assessment must be kept for all buildings and needs to be updated on a regular basis in order for your building to comply; this will determine the type of emergency lighting system required.


Ultimately, the goal of fire specific risk assessment is to identify and mitigate the number of fire hazards in a building. It is performed by an assessor who considers all the potential dangers within a premise. Naturally, the risks identified should be balanced by appropriate fire protection systems to both meet regulation standards and ensure fire safety shifts from afterthought to fundamental safety requirement.


Chris Watts, Fire Safety Consultant, BAFE Board Member and Chairman of British Standard committee responsible for BS 5266-1 (code of practice for emergency lighting). As convenor, he introduced CEN EN 1838, CENELEC EN 50171 and 50172 European emergency lighting standards and is recognised as an industry expert on their development.


Q: HOW CAN FMS MEET THEIR LEGAL DUTY OF SAFETY?


CW: FMs are responsible for the safety of occupants in their premises so they have a duty to check the competence of fire safety providers when sourcing


www.tomorrowshs.com


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