"Businesses must make time to practise and train"
23 January 2013
Businesses and organisations are putting staff and visitors at serious risk by not considering those who are mobility-impaired when carrying out evacuation drills, according to new research Areport by Evac+Chair Internati
Areport by Evac+Chair International shows that while companies on the whole are carrying out evacuation drills regularly, many are failing to incorporate additional safety equipment into these drills.
A worrying 40 per cent of those surveyed said that they owned evacuation chairs but did not use them in evacuation drills and 15 per cent of respondents have never carried out a practice session with the equipment, leaving mobility-impaired employees and visitors in danger in an emergency.
Public sector organisations are trailing the private sector, with 41 per cent of those surveyed in the public sector admitting they own evacuation chairs, but do not use them in evacuation drills; this is compared to 33 per cent of companies surveyed in the private sector.
The education sector came out the worst with 50 per cent admitting they own the equipment but do not use it in evacuation drills, again putting people at risk.
The survey also revealed that in the current economic climate many companies have lost the trained employee responsible for health & safety equipment, such as an evacuation chair.
While the majority of these companies (73 per cent) have transferred this responsibility, worryingly 40 per cent are not yet trained in using this equipment.
According to health & safety regulations, specifically the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and Medical Devices Regulations, organisations need to be trained and appropriately practised in using specialist safety equipment to be compliant.
Mark Wallace, managing director at Evac+Chair International, comments: "For many companies, buying a product such as an evacuation chair enables them to comply with certain legislation.
However unless staff are fully trained and the equipment is regularly practised on, it will not serve its intended purpose in the event of an emergency." "It is encouraging that companies recognise the importance of carrying out evacuation drills, but those responsible for organising the drill should ensure that any equipment which may be called upon in an emergency is part of the practise."