Impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on the risk from legionella bacteria

Importance of health and safety and wellbeing of the staff, visitors and the public has been a focus and priority of many employers and building owners. Even more now, when we all are being affected by the pandemic. When tackling the spread of the virus it is easy to lose focus on our general day to day obligations. As our work patterns, movements and behaviour change, this can have a significant impact on aspects of the safety of our properties, and this includes the risk associated with legionella bacteria. Health and Safety Law continues to apply, and duty holders still maintain a legal obligation to protect those in and around their properties from exposure to legionella bacteria both now and in the future. Legionella bacteria can grow at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C, where a suitable nutrient is available and where turnover of water is low. As businesses increasingly move […]

Fire Stopping Surveys – Taking Action

Fire stopping is the sealing of gaps, breaches or issues found around fire resistant floors, doors and construction. These elements have been put in place to help slow the spread of fire through a building, and they must be able to resist fire for a reasonable period of time. However, cracks or openings around them might prevent them from doing the very job they’re in place for, which ultimately puts lives at risk. In order to determine whether there are any issues, a Fire Stopping Survey is conducted. This will assess where fire resisting walls have been breached, and highlight where remedial works need to be performed to restrict the spread of fire and smoke throughout a building. The survey will identify problem areas and the surveyor will go through a detailed inspection above suspended ceilings, loft spaces and between floors to ensure fire cannot extend through the building by […]

Taking Fire Safety Seriously

A few weeks ago, Fire Safety Matters reported that more than 7,000 Londoners are to get new fire doors. This is part of a £9,000,000 project to upgrade fire doors in six London boroughs across twelve City of London Corporation-run housing estates. All front, communal and fire escape doors will be replaced in over 2,300 homes, ensuring that there is an enhanced up to 60 minute fire resistance. This enormous project comes down to one simple thing: keeping residents safe. Since the Grenfell Tower incident, there has been a new focus on residents’ safety, and it is the duty of all responsible organisations and people to make sure that all the necessary steps are taken to minimise any risks when it comes to fire. Big Costs One of the more recent cases to hit the news that demonstrates how important fire safety is has been the incident in Palmer’s Green. […]

Quarterly Fire Door Checks to Become Law

Following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the upcoming fire safety bill will state that fire doors in all blocks of flats will need to be checked every three months. The FIA (Fire Industry Association) last week reported upon this proposed big change in the law. Currently there is no specific legislation in place that requires fire doors to be checked, but these sorts of assessments play a huge role in fire safety. Although changes such as the fire door checks have come about following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Report, the report in itself only stated that “all fire doors, including their closers, should be routinely checked or inspected by a suitably qualified professional.” However, it seems the government wants to take this more seriously and it will be insisting on checks every three months. The FIA’s article highlighted that “Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has stated that a fire safety bill that […]

Understanding Your Legionella Risk Assessment

There is often a misconception that a Legionella Risk Assessment is just looking for the presence of Legionella; as if it’s a tick boxing exercise to state whether it’s there or not. However, a Risk Assessment of this kind is actually exactly what it states: it assesses not just whether Legionella is present, but what the risks are of the bacteria emerging. It’s about making sure your site is safe and recommending actions to reduce the risk from Legionella bacteria. To give you guidance on what’s involved in a Legionella Risk Assessment and how you should use the report, we’ve answered some key questions: What is a Legionella Risk Assessment? During a Legionella Risk Assessment, we’re not looking for Legionella in the system, the assessment is instead designed to identify potential conditions that would encourage Legionella to grow. Then we recommend steps to eliminate or reduce that risk, making sure […]

Notification for tenants and service providers regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic

The government has stated that based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate regarding the Coronavirus. Whilst the number of cases in the UK still remains low and we must keep this in mind, this rise in the risk highlights the importance of planning ahead. Services to properties must be maintained with as little disruption to everyday business activity as possible, but we must ensure that we are prepared to take action to reduce any risk to tenants and workers alike. Adequate resources need to be in place to minimise the spread should there be an outbreak, and procedures should be planned in and communicated so that all relevant parties are aware of the situation. We believe it is important that discussions take place between […]

What are the different types of fire strategies, and do I need one for my building?

In recent years, the fire safety industry has had a massive shake-up. In light of recent events such as the Grenfell Tower fire, and other large-scale fire disasters, there has been uncertainty from building owners and property managers regarding the fire strategy for their buildings. Necessary questions are now being asked by the responsible figures as to whether they have a suitable fire strategy, or whether they need one at all. A fire strategy acts as the bible for a building’s fire safety measures and consolidates all the building information into one simple report. Any questions surrounding fire safety for the building can usually be answered by consulting the strategy. However, fire strategies often go missing or get lost during a building’s sale or changeover of management. So, what is a fire strategy? A fire safety strategy is a prescriptive document that will ensure your building will comply with the […]

New Government Measures to Improve Building Safety Standards

Last week the government announced new measures to improve building safety standards. The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, detailed that the new Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive will go “further and faster to ensure residents are safe in their homes.” The new Regulator will give effective oversight of the design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings. A press release from the government stated that “from next month [Mr Jenrick] will start to name building owners where remediation has not started to remove unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding from their buildings.” It also stated that “the government will consult on extending the ban on combustible materials to buildings below 18 metres and will seek views on how risks are assessed within existing buildings to inform future policy.” The new Bill has been driven forward following both the fire at Grenfell Tower and more recent high-rise fires such […]

Poor Evacuation Methods Prove Costly for Rotherham United

Rotherham United football club has been fined £150,000 after pleading guilty to a single offence under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The offence dates back to January 2015 where, on a non-match day, two functions held in the conference and events suites had to be evacuated following a fire alarm. It turned out there was no fire and nobody was harmed during the evacuation, however a club statement detailed that “the incident highlighted issues in the co-ordination of evacuation measures for non-match day events at the stadium between the Club and its third party hospitality partner.” Following the events, the club launched an internal investigation and quickly took action to introduce more robust procedures. However, it can sometimes be too late to review things after an event, and Rotherham was lucky that this incident turned out to be harmless. Emergency procedure planning can literally be the difference between […]

Tier 3 NAFRAR Accreditation for RM MD

Tony Fogarty, Managing Director at RM Risk Management, has been accredited and approved to be entered onto the Tier 3 National Accredited Fire Risk Assessors Register (NAFRAR). Tier 3 is a list of individuals who are able to carry out Fire Risk Assessments on high risk and complex buildings. They have registered through a process that has recognised their achievement at the highest standards and levels of competency for fire risk assessors that is available. Tony says, “There is a great deal involved in any Fire Risk Assessment, but with high risk or complex buildings it’s even more important to know what you’re doing. We pride ourselves in giving our clients the best support possible, and that means we believe in training and development and always understanding what is happening in the area of risk.” Tier 3 is the highest tier on the Fire Risk Assessors Register, a system set […]