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Contractor competency needs to be questioned

12 September 2018

VISITORS TO Fire Safety Scotland heard how they can help prevent major incidents in hazardous environments by ensuring they ask contractors to see their credentials.

The culture of a company is the key to ensuring fire safety, and the entire organisation needs to be on board. It is essential that staff are trained to see dangers on a site.

“Fire prevention starts with you,” FirePro's Tony Hanley told delegates to the 'Preventing major incidents in hazardous environments' seminar. “In my experience we have this thing where we are surrounded by all this excellent technology, but it is only as good as the person who installs it and maintains it. You need to train the staff until the staff that work there know about the dangers.

“The culture starts with you. How you manage your staff, and how you impose the rules is key. It is easy to let a contractor off site only to find out later that the work has compromised the fire protection.”

We need to ask for evidence that the person doing the work is actually competent to carry out that work.

He told delegates, “As the market you have to do this for things to evolve and move in the right direction. You have to demand it. We need to make sure we are insisting on seeing evidence of this competency and that will drive change.

“The good news is that for the last three years the Fire Industry Authority has been on a journey and all the training can now lead to a qualification.”

The FIA now offers a series of qualifications developed by its own nationally regulated awarding organisation for the fire detection and alarm sector, the FIA AO (Fire Industry Association Awarding Organisation).