Using COVID-19 to revamp fire and security protections at your business
COVID-19 has caused a huge range of challenges for businesses – but it is important that companies do not dwell on the negative. Instead, it may provide you with the opportunity to upgrade and revamp the fire and security protections at your premises, says Dakota Murphey.
The space to make changes
COVID-19 has created a change in the normal circumstances of working. Throughout lockdown and beyond, businesses have had to adapt their working practice – and much of this has meant reducing the amount of time and the number of people at the business’ premises. This can certainly be used to your advantage.
In effect, COVID-19 has given you – and any contractors/installers you may hire – the space and time that you need to make major changes to the fire and safety procedures in a building. When a staggering 1.5 million SMEs in the UK do not have a business plan in place, this may be an ideal time to implement large scale plans, such as adding fire exits and putting in new security systems such as CCTV, without causing disruption to a normal working day.
Are workers safer at home?
COVID-19 has forced many employers to reconsider working from home – it has now become, in some cases, essential. But importantly, it could be the case that this has benefitted some workers, as they can do their work more safely from home.
Additionally, if some workers are at home, it may provide the other members of staff with more space at the premises – potentially making things safer for them too. It may allow for a reconfiguration of the office to ensure a safe and straightforward emergency procedure process.
It can never be understated how important the layout of the premises is to the fire and safety considerations of a business. Providing safe escape routes out of the building and ensuring that they are as easy to navigate as possible is one of the most vital ways to keep everyone in the building safe and secure.
Making safety and security a priority
If we have to take anything from the COVID-19 crisis, it is that it shows exactly how damaging it can be to a business when it is not safe for staff to work or for customers and clients to come to your premises.
Consider how much emphasis you have been putting on safety and fire safety in your company – it may not be enough simply to be doing the bare minimum anymore. This is the time to start working on the details for your new safety and security measures in the post-COVID-19 world, so do it right. Ensure that everyone involved now understands this is a priority.
What biosecure measures can you put in place? Perhaps now is the time to invest in thermal temperature screening devices, or a contactless access control system, for instance.
Make information readily available
As a part of making safety a priority, it is essential that there is information available to everyone accessing the premises – this includes both staff and clients. For example, evacuation plans – if guests on your premises don’t have quick access to on how to evacuate the building in an emergency it can put everyone at risk.
“We have had a large number of clients come to us regarding printed materials for post-COVID-19,” says printing specialists YouLovePrint. “We are seeing them wishing to provide a greater level of detail and transparency around health and safety through leaflets, flyers and printed signs”.
Legal requirements are still in place
Finally, you must remember that when it comes to fire safety and security, all standard legal requirements are still in place. This means that your business is still obligated to deal with safety protocols and procedures as normal – such as having fire extinguishers and alarms serviced and checked.
The pandemic is not an excuse to lower the standards of safety in a business – instead, it is actually an opportunity to strengthen and improve them. Check out your current legal obligations and ensure that you are following them closely – even consider strengthening them if this is something that is relevant to your company.
This article was originally published on IFSEC Global.