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Employee complacency over fire safety is a top concern for business leaders

As employees return to their places of work following the pandemic, new research has revealed that UK business leaders are most concerned about employee complacency relating to fire safety following false fire alarms in the workplace.

The research carried out by by fire safety specialist, JLA, as part of its ‘False fire alarms’ campaign, which surveyed 250 business owners found the biggest fear for a false fire alarm across all of the sectors surveyed, was the risk that staff would become complacent and would not react to a real fire alarm safely or as urgently. This was the highest concern for 44 per cent of respondents, suggesting that attitudes to fire safety worryingly decline in organisations once false fire alarms have occurred.

The findings highlighted several concerns from business leaders, such as worries that the site would have to close to deal with the aftermath of a false alarm sounding. This was the highest concern for 30 per cent of respondents, with loss of productivity amongst employees being another considerable concern for 38 per cent of businesses. This figure rose to 41 per cent for hospitality businesses and 46 per cent of office workers, suggesting that if false fire alarms sound, productivity is compromised, which can lead to businesses being forced to shut their doors, losing out on money and consequent damage to reputation in the process.

Commenting on the research, Peter Martin, Operations Director, Fire & Security at JLA, said: “False fire alarms present a real problem for employee productivity and efficiency and can have detrimental impacts to how a business operates.

“Whilst these false fire alarms are viewed as a minor inconvenience for many, we know that this is often a big concern for business owners. Knowing how to respond to fire risks can be difficult but finding the right fire services and training can ensure that concerns regarding false fire alarms will become a thing of the past.

“HR teams can communicate as best as possible to workers that fire safety training is absolutely crucial to all workers and is a legal requirement for all organisations. If employees do not have a thorough understanding of fire safety and the evacuation procedures, this can pose a significant risk to their safety, and business continuity, if a fire does occur.

“Frequent training can also be given to avoid this complacency and will ensure that all employees and businesses are as best prepared as possible to deal effectively with a fire, should an alarm sound.

“False fire alarms, whilst frustrating, are often a necessary reminder to employees of the right steps to take to safely evacuate and get to an area of safety. This, with an emphasis on checking fire equipment and alarms, will ensure that minimal disruption is made and that the business can continue to operate as usual.”

Facilities Management Survey 2022

Informa, the organisers of Facilities Show, together with FMJ magazine, have teamed up to launch a questionnaire which aims to offer a useful snapshot of where the facilities management sector is now, and an outlook on the future.

For instance, are you asking workers to begin to return to the office with a hybrid home/office work schedule? Are you revising your premises to enable more flexible ways of working and as such have your workplace strategies, including sustainability, wellbeing and engagement had to be radically rethought?

Your anonymised answers will contribute to a report on the biggest challenges and opportunities facing facilities managers; now, and anticipated in the next 12 months.

To take part click here.

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