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Saturday, 20 September 2014

One in two sites fail safety audit

MORE than half of business premises inspected by Cumbria’s fire and rescue service in 2011-12 failed a safety audit, new figures show.

A study by Safety Management (UK), a fire-safety specialist based at Burton near Kendal, reveals that 201 of the 391 audits carried out in the year to March were deemed “unsatisfactory”.

Fire officers served 48 enforcement notices over that period.

Safety Management (UK) says that businesses and organisations are gambling by cutting back on safety.

Many wrongly believe they have fire safety covered.

The firm’s managing director, Brian Gregory, said: “The figures suggest that business is still not getting it right when it comes to managing fire safety.”

All businesses are required to carry out a fire-risk assessment. But, Mr Gregory says, many fail to act on significant findings identified.

He said: “Often, business owners and managers feel that by having fire extinguishers and a fire-detection system, they are covered.

“But critically, unless the assessment is completed by a competent person, there is no guarantee that the fire-detection system is right for the building.

“Also, does it need extending? Is the emergency lighting adequate?”

Safety Management (UK) believes that employers, under increasing pressure from the double-dip recession, are saving money by putting off fire assessments and cutting back on maintenance and investment in safety.

Mr Gregory added: “Small businesses are feeling the pressure and are looking to save money where they can, but putting fire safety to the bottom of their priorities is a false economy.”

Safety Management (UK) is the biggest operation of its kind in the country. It provides fire-safety training, fire-risk assessments and first-aid training.

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