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FOCUS


Red alert


Alan Field looks at routine checks and procedures that should be undertaken by those responsible for fire safety, irrespective of future policy changes


carried out, comes under the microscope here. Division of responsibilities


T


A facilities manager should always be clear about what their responsibilities are for fi re safety at a particular site. This sounds an obvious point, yet the complexity manifests itself where there is, for example, a multi tenanted offi ce building, or where there are multiple parties involved in managing different aspects of such a building or estate. Ideally, the contract between the various


parties needs to be clear on all aspects of fire safety. Sometimes it will require the in house manager to be involved with fire risk assessments (FRAs); sometimes they may only be involved in managing the subcontractor who tests fire alarms. There should never be any ambiguity as to who is responsible for any fire safety routine,and, if ambiguity does arise, this needs to be escalated to senior management. Where the landlord or their representatives undertake FRAs, the fire safety manager


24 FEBRUARY 2019 www.frmjournal.com


HE IMPORTANCE of ensuring that fi re safety routines are understood and followed correctly, and that fi re risk assessments are


should be consulted, both at the time of the assessment and of ongoing reviews. Different parties conducting their own FRAs without sharing them with one another is rarely, if ever, a wise way to proceed. This is especially true if the in house manager is managing a number of contractors of hard and soft services whose processes – and any potential risks – may not be immediately apparent to the other parties, such as landlords. In any event, health and safety related


matters should always be reported to those responsible for risk assessments, and senior management should ensure that there is an agreed mechanism for this to be done on a continuing basis. Effective records need to be kept of all communications to other parties that relate to safety in order to avoid disputes at a later date over who told whom what when. Normally, the facilities manager or health


and safety manager will have contractual and other rights, to ensure that their subcontractors follow an agreed approach to fi re safety and, in some buildings, this may include formal ‘permit to work’ arrangements for certain activities. These need to be fully understood, and changes of staff within any party may need rebriefi ng.


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