Health & Safety Newsletter January 2018

Do you need fire extinguishers?

You’ve heard that the Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging businesses to reduce the number of extinguishers they have. Is this right?

Although you’re legally required to have a sufficient number of fire extinguishers on the premises, the Fire & Rescue Service (FRS) is not keen on staff using them. One or two breaths of toxic smoke can kill and the FRS doesn’t want your staff putting themselves at risk. Its current line is that extinguishers ought to be used in limited circumstances only, e.g. to extinguish clothing which has caught alight, to aid  escape in the event of a fire, or where there are very early signs of fire which can be tackled safely by trained staff.

If you have many fire extinguishers, you may have been the victim of an over-enthusiastic salesperson and there could be grounds for a cull, but you shouldn’t get carried away and scrap the lot. If you do, you will fail to comply with your duty to have “appropriate fire-fighting equipment” available to those who may need it.

The safest option is to consult with whoever completed your fire risk assessment. They should be able to identify how many you need. Make it clear that you  require the bare minimum as you don’t want to encourage staff to tackle fires.


Fork lift training just got tougher

Accredited bodies which oversee the training regime for fork lift truck (FLT) drivers have changed the rules to make it  harder to pass the end-of-course test. Why have they done this and what is the effect?

From September 2017 the ABA has updated the test taken by FLT operators at the end of their basic skills course to make it more relevant to the modern workplace. As a result of its review, the test now matches the tougher standard which was already being set by Lantra and the Construction Industry Training Board.

The changes to the FLT courses will affect new entrants as well as those undertaking refresher training.

The HSE advises that there is no legally required period for refresher training but it recommends that you arrange it for every three to five years. In addition, you should organise a refresher if there is good reason to believe its needed, e.g. someone has bad driving habits or has been involved in an accident.





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