Is Health & Safety Really Such a Burden?
TourTraxUK had a meeting this week with the Kent Fire Brigade which was eye-opening to say the least.
What is evident is that although the conundrum of staying on the right side of Health & Safety law in a hospitality situation is serious and NOT straightforward, it is also nowhere near as complex as some may have you believe. We will aim to clarify things in this blog by being clear, by avoiding legalese, and without scare-mongering.
What Happens When Things Go Wrong?
So let’s start by NOT assuming the worst-case scenario. If death or serious injury were to occur in any hospitality environment, a full investigation would be conducted by multiple public agencies, and criminal prosecution MAY result. There’s nothing we, or anyone, can do about that.
Instead, let’s say that an aggrieved customer or former employee has contacted the Fire Service because they believe that you are not adhering to good practice for whatever reason. Maybe they saw a Fire Extinguisher being used to prop a Fire Exit open, for example.
At this point the Fire Service would be obliged to act, and within 24 hours. This would likely result in an on-site audit being conducted by the Fire Service. In other words, a Hotel could have a fully qualified Fire Officer on-site ready to conduct an audit, within 72 hours of the Responsible Person being made aware of anything being (potentially) wrong.
What Would An Audit Involve?
So, what would they want to see? Firstly, it is NOT legally necessary for you to produce a paper log book. But, you MUST be able to prove your compliance to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 Act. Well that’s fairly grey isn’t it!
What this means is that you must have conducted a full Fire Risk Assessment within the last 12 months, and this must be up-to-date. It also means that any means of escape, any means of fire detection, or any other health & safety equipment designed to guide or protect people in an emergency, MUST be “suitable” and must be “suitably maintained”.
Again, these points could be viewed as being slightly grey, but what it really means is that any assets falling under the aforementioned categories must conform to and be maintained according to the appropriate British Standard. Such as BS 5839 for Fire Alarm Systems, for example.
How Can Activity Be PROVEN?
Digging out up-to-date Risk Assessments should be straightforward, and what was interesting in our recent meeting was that the emphasis should be on keeping these forms simple and straightforward and covering only necessary information.
But how on earth would you prove that assets are regularly maintained, or that a Fire Alarm System is fit for purpose and that it has been maintained in a way that British Standards see fit? Being aware of the legislation and of any British Standard around your health and safety equipment would be extremely wise (NB we cannot help here!) but PROVING your diligence around maintaining your chosen systems is most definitely something that we CAN help with.
So What’s The Solution?
Well we at TourTraxUK believe that we have a solution that is as good as anything on the market.
Firstly, we can supply a Fire Risk Assessment template form that can be completed on our F1 Android SmartScanner device in minutes rather than hours. It will be time, date and GPS stamped and be electronically signed by the Responsible Person. It will also be stored safely and securely in your document store in the cloud to be found at a second’s notice, or it can be printed should you prefer. But the Cloud always acts as a great (fire resistant) backup.
We can also supply maintenance forms designed specifically for the health and safety equipment that you own. We have standard templates for most of the obvious items (Fire Exits, Extinguishers, Alarm Systems) which are designed to be simple and to cover no more than what is required. They will therefore be quickly and easily completed. Each can be adapted to the exact specifications of your equipment should that be necessary.
But where our system gets really clever is that it can PROVE who has visited these assets and when. In other words, a full audit trail of activity plus PROOF of attendance. We will even generate activity schedules and alerts for you so that no maintenance activity will ever get missed.
Peace of Mind Is Great But Is There a Financial Benefit?
First of all, using the SmartScanner product would make an audit situation a whole lot less stressful. You may still get audited, but how priceless would it be to be able to prove how completely diligent you are beyond any reasonable doubt? With our SmartScanner product, you can do exactly that.
But from a financial perspective, insurers like businesses that can prove that they behave in this way, because they pose less Risk. Meaning they make fewer claims. We work with a specialist broker who is prepared to guarantee a MINIMUM 5% off your existing property and liability insurance, if you are using our SmartScanner product.
This makes the system comparable in terms of cost to the old-fashioned wand or fire-walk monitoring systems that are still prevalent in so many hospitality environments. Yet it offers genuine PROOF of activity, PLUS the capability to conduct and manage your risk assessments. And alerts!!
So let me ask the question… What price peace of mind… is SmartScanner a no-brainer?
We believe so!
For a TourTrax Worxforms free trial, please click here.