What are the Consequences of Poorly Managed Fire and Electrical Safety?

Being responsible for the safety of a business is by no means easy, and there are probably times you forget to carry out the odd check here and there. However, when it comes to your business’ fire and electrical safety, there is no room for mistakes because the repercussions could jeopardise people’s lives and the future of your business. In 2020/21, the Home Office reported that fire rescue authorities attended 8,153 fires in non-domestic premises and we have no doubt they’ve impacted the future of those businesses in some way or another.

To put your responsibilities into perspective, help prevent you from becoming part of that unfortunate statistic and keep you compliant with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, we’ve outlined the main consequences of poor fire and electrical management in this article.

The main consequences

Harm, injury and potential fatalities

No matter what type of business you run, it’s up to you to protect your employees, visitors, and customers whenever they’re on your premises under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999). If a fire broke out in your business, it could lead to life-changing injuries such as burns, scars, breathing problems or even worse, fatalities.

In 2018, a seven-year-old boy named Harvey Tyrell was electrocuted and killed at a local pub after touching defective lighting – a tragic event that could have been avoided if the pub owner had appointed a qualified competent person to carry out the essential checks.

To find out more about the Harvey Tyrell case and how it affected electrical legislation for businesses across the country, you can listen to our safety testing experts discuss it on The Citation Podcast.

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Legal action

It goes without saying that business negligence is punishable by law and the severity of the negligence can determine what type of punishment you get. Types of penalties include:

  • Fines
  • Compensation requests
  • Alteration, enforcement, and prohibition notices
  • Prison sentences
  • Immediate closure of your business

Tarnished reputation

One aspect of a business that is almost impossible to rebuild once it’s damaged is its reputation, because any sign of negligence can cause clients and customers to lose faith in the business. Once you lose that trust with your customer base, they’ll look elsewhere for the products or services you offer which means you could lose sales in the long-term – and that goes for potential customers too!

Loss of employee confidence

No employee wants to work for a company where their Health & Safety is at stake while they’re working, so you should be able to prove to your people that their safety is your priority. If an employee was harmed because your fire and electrical safety measures weren’t properly managed, there’s a good chance they’ll want to find employment elsewhere. Not only would your negligence impact your current employees, but it might deter potential employees from applying to work in your business, making the recruitment process even harder.

How to avoid the consequences

To avoid the consequences listed above, keeping on top of your fire and electrical safety responsibilities is your golden ticket. To make sure you confidently continue to run a safe and compliant business, we’ve outlined the essential steps you need to take.

  1. Make sure your competent person is up to the job

Finding the right, qualified individual to trust with your business’ fire and electrical safety might feel daunting but the time and effort you put into sourcing them can only benefit your business. To help you get started, we’ve put together some recommendations when appointing your competent person.

  1. Make sure all your fire and electrical safety checks, testing, and services are up to date

Whether your electrical installation, electrical items, fire prevention and protection equipment require annual servicing or routine visual inspections, it must be done without delay by a qualified person. By keeping on top of your checks, you’re reducing the risk of fire and electrocution in your workplace.

  1. Check your paperwork reflects any changes to the business

As well as updating your logbook to reflect your business’ fire and electrical safety checks, you need to make sure your Fire Risk Assessment is faultless and reflects any new changes to your business. These changes may include:

  • Structural alteration to the building
  • A significant increase or decrease in people present on the premises
  • The introduction of new machinery or hazardous substances in the business

 

  1. Make sure your employees are equipped to spot any warning signs and can act in an emergency

As an employer, you’re responsible for making sure your business is a safe environment to work in and that includes providing your employees with relevant fire and electrical safety training so they know how to act should they ever have to. To help remind employees of their responsibilities and what danger signs to look out for at work, our experts have created an Electrical Appliance Safety Checklist and Fire Safety Awareness Checklist which you can print out and display in your business.

 

How Citation Fire & Electrical can help

Our main priority is to make sure UK businesses are operating safely and compliantly by helping them keep their fire and electrical safety measures in check. As a BAFE accredited business with decades of experience, we can act as your competent person to carry out all your fire and electrical servicing, so you don’t have to!

To find out more about how we can support your business, get in touch by calling 0800 055 6559 or by filling out our enquiry form.

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