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BAFE offers guidance for businesses in wake of Government's workplace advice

18 May 2020

BAFE HAS recommended that companies with scheduled work and ongoing agreements should ‘remain in touch’ with clients on matters relating to fire safety provisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BAFE has reported on the Government guidance outlining the ‘recovery strategy’ for returning to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which outlines a ‘roadmap to lift restrictions step-by-step’. On returning to work, it states that ‘all workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open’.

Further, the Government notes: ‘Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open. For example, this includes food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories. Workplaces should follow the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. These will ensure the risk of infection is as low as possible, while allowing as many people as possible to resume their livelihoods’.

The Government added: ‘It remains the case that anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is resident in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work. Those people should self-isolate, as should those in their households.’

From a fire safety sector perspective, BAFE recommends that all registered companies ‘with work scheduled and ongoing service and maintenance agreements’ to ‘remain in touch with their clients’ as to ‘whether they are currently still operating or closed and planning to re-open in the near future’. They ‘must ensure their fire safety systems and provisions remain operational and well maintained’.

This might ‘also require an updated fire risk assessment and any issues actioned for any changes to the building to comply’ with COVID-19 measures, because the Government guidance noted that the ‘changes to policy in this step’ were to apply from Wednesday 13 May. ‘As the rate of infection may be different in different parts of the UK, this guidance should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements’ for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

BAFE has also reiterated that workers should ‘continue to remain safe’, not only by following the guidance, but also by using ‘appropriate’ personal protective equipment.

BAFE's CEO Stephen Adams (pictured) commented: “Fire safety legislation is still very much being enforced in the interest of life safety. It is crucial at this time that the industry reminds its clients of their responsibilities, and the recommended actions of the appropriate British Standards, to mitigate risk from fire as best as possible. We are fully aware this will have to be performed in a sensitive manner, but statistically speaking companies affected from fire do struggle to return. The last thing anyone wants on our exit out of lockdown are devastating fire events causing further dire complications for businesses.”