We have collated a wide range of hints and tips designed to support your policyholder. Areas include Fire Prevention, Flooding and Theft.
From 1 October 2006, fire legislation in the UK has been rationalised to provide an entirely risk based approach to fire safety, extending to all workplaces and other non-domestic premises. The new fire legislation is called the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for England and Wales. Similar changes have been made in Scotland via the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and in Northern Ireland via the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.
The concept for rationalisation includes:
The following key areas must be addressed:
Arson and deliberate fire setting
The setting of deliberate fires by vandals, thieves or disgruntled persons is the No.1 cause of fire in the UK with over 50% of major fires being caused by arson.
Neglect and misuse of electrical wiring, fittings and equipment can easily cause fires in the workplace. This is now the second most likely cause of fire in the UK.
Rubbish and waste materials
Rubbish and waste materials left to accumulate contribute to the spread of fire.
Smoking is still a major (regularly the 3rd most likely) cause of fire in buildings.
Many small businesses have kitchens where staff may prepare food themselves.
Portable heaters can often be dangerous in the work environment, especially if placed too close to furniture, fittings and materials. Convector heaters are safer than radiant fires.
Combustible materials, such as packing materials increase the potential for fire to spread within the premises.
Precautions against theft
Break-ins and theft pose a significant threat. For instance, through damage or theft of critical equipment required to carry out the Policyholder's business. Of course, it is very difficult to stop a determined criminal. However, thieves rarely enter premises without weighing up the risk to themselves against the potential reward.
A few simple precautions can greatly reduce the chances of the premises being targeted:
Flooding, and the impact it can have on businesses, has been very much in the news over recent years. If a premises has been flooded before or is in an area susceptible to flooding than it is advisable to do some basic pre-planning.
To find out more about this contact the Environment Agency in England and Wales (EA) or The Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland (SEPA). Information is on their websites: www.environment-agency.gov.uk or www.sepa.org.uk. Both websites provide an overview of flood risk by postcode where you can check if you are at risk of flooding.
These agencies also have a 24 hour flood helpline 0345 988 1188 to alert you to potential flooding risks.
This may form part of a business continuity plan details of how to compile such a plan can be found in the Risk Management Guides. This will focus actions on the safety and well being of employees and keeping the business running, focusing attention on the issues that will really matter after a major incident.
If the premises are in an identified flooding area, consider the use of temporary flood defences. Products should be tested an approved by the British Standard Institution under PAS1188. Further advice on British Standard Kitemark approved products can be found at www.environment-agency.gov.uk.
Removing contents from the premises if there is a flood warning should be considered. Be proactive and move things out before the flooding starts.
If you do suffer flooding at your premises, you should take the following action:
Competent building contractors should inspect building roofs annually, with remedial repairs completed promptly afterwards.
Where possible, flat roof structures should be avoided this type of structure increases susceptibility to water penetration and reduces the overall security of the premises.
Roof edge guttering and valley gutters should be inspected and cleared of blockage at six monthly intervals. The frequency may require to be increased where premises are surrounded with trees and vegetation.
It is essential that drains are maintained free from obstruction and free-flowing. Where blockages are encountered, professional drain cleaning contractors should be instructed to inspect and clear blockages immediately.
Identify the location of the stopcocks. In a situation where there is an incident involving the pipes it is imperative the stopcocks are turned off to stop the flow of water. If the water cannot be turned off immediately, open all the cold taps to drain the pipes. Don't turn on the hot taps but do turn off any heating system.
Again, turn off the stopcocks. If the pipe is split, empty the cold water by opening the cold taps, by flushing any toilets or by siphoning water from the cistern. If the pipe isn't split, thaw it out slowly with hot water bottles or a hair dryer. Lagging pipes with foam pipe protectors can help prevent freezing.