Do you know where your nearest fire extinguisher is? 75% Don’t

Britain’s workers at risk from lack of basic emergency training

Over three-quarters of British workers don’t know where to find their nearest fire extinguisher or alarm actuation button, it’s been revealed.

These are the shock findings of a national health and safety law consultancy that’s also uncovered widespread ignorance about basic knowledge such as workplace emergency exits or the location of the first aid box.

The Protecting.co.uk company says that there’s an attitude of “somebody else’s problem” in many offices, factories and stores which could put the lives of employees and customers in danger.

“These are truly incredible figures,” Protecting.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall says, “Many workers are just plain ignorant of what’s expected of them in an emergency, and that’s simply not good enough.”

In a telephone poll of over 1100 people who said they worked on a commercial premises:

• 76% said they didn’t know where to find the fire equipment
• 80% said they didn’t know which extinguisher to use on a particular kind of fire
• 79% said they didn’t know where to find the nearest fire alarm point
• 51% didn’t know fire evacuation procedures
• 67% can’t remember the last fire evacuation drill at their place of work

When it comes to other emergencies:

• 74% didn’t know where the First Aid box was kept
• 87% didn’t know how to report an accident or incident
• Only 7% were offered the chance to go on a first aid course or learn fire drills

Protecting.co.uk says that employers – particularly in smaller companies – appeared slap-dash in teaching both new and existing staff about emergency procedures, thinking that the absolute minimum training was somehow good enough.

“The problem we heard again and again is that many employees are told about emergency procedures on their first day, and they’ve forgotten it all,” says Hall.

“One person we spoke to was not ashamed to admit that when they saw a fire for real, they just ran away and left others to eventually raise the alarm,” the Protecting.co.uk spokesperson said.

Safety training should be an ongoing process in which new staff are told about emergency procedures at the earliest opportunity, with short refresher courses for all staff at regular intervals.

“In fact, refresher training could take only a few minutes to complete, and probably only needs to take place once every year or so,” says Hall, going on to say that some organisations already do this as part of their fire certificate.

“Even basic fire extinguisher training shouldn’t take very long, and it is knowledge that sticks with employees throughout their careers.”

Protecting.co.uk says that companies should act now to turn this dangerous tide before lives are lost.

“There’s no excuse, and it’s not somebody else’s problem,” says Hall, “After all, it’s far cheaper to teach your staff useful skills than it is to deal with an unnecessary fire disaster.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Spokesman Mark Hall is available for comment

For more information please contact Mark on 01943666555 protecting@disturb.co.uk

Images are available

Protecting.co.uk is a national health and safety law consultancy that aims dump the jargon and get Britain’s businesses up to code with a no-nonsense, transparent approach.

The company employs six NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) accredited staff, and hopes to double its head count within the first six months.

Protecting will help British businesses forge a straight and simple path through the maze of health and safety regulations, offering honest advice with transparent pricing options.

Website: http://www.Protecting.co.uk
Company name (correct): Protecting.co.uk