Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

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Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
November 27, 2014

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Responsible Persons Often Wrongly Prioritise Buildings and Equipment Over Fire-Risk Management: Auditor

Ben Bradford 3

BB7 MD Ben Bradford was a key figure in the development of PAS 7

Management failings are more important than badly designed buildings or lack of equipment when it comes to causing fatalities in major fires, according to a key figure in the London Fire Brigade (LFR).

Echoing those sentiments an auditor in quality standards believes that organisations often overlook fire-safety management in favour of focusing excessively on equipping buildings.

“It is recognised that the quality of fire risk management can play a greater role in managing fire risks than fire protection measures,” says LFR fire-safety regulation management expert Nick Coombe.

Paul Stock of SGS, a specialist in auditing whether companies meet a wide range of quality standards, says: “In terms of fire risk, businesses and organisations concentrate too much on the physical buildings and not enough on the way they manage the people.”

The PAS 7 fire-risk management system, which has been developed by leading industry figures like technical author and BB7 MD Ben Bradford and the Chief Fire Officers Association, has recently been developed to counter this trend.

PAS 7 has reframed the parameters of best practice for fire safety in commercial premises.

“PAS 7 is designed to help demonstrate that an organisation is taking responsibility for managing fire risks and complying with the law,” says Coombe. “It also provides assurance to Fire and Rescue Authorities in undertaking an audit under the Regulatory (Fire Safety) Order 2005.”

“Undertaking the process of achieving PAS 7 certification helps organisations understand the true fire risks and how best to manage them. It ensures they spend their allocated budget in a way that truly makes their people and their premises safer.”

The SGS Academy runs a PAS 7 Introduction and Awareness course.

“The course is useful as an introduction for anyone involved in the development, implementation and management of an organisation fire risk management system,” explains Stock. “Delegates are not expected to have prior knowledge of auditing or PAS 7 before attending this course.”

The course covers the following aspects of fire safety:

  • Key pressures on organisations to adopt a fire risk management system
  • The purpose of a fire risk management system
  • Key concepts and approaches to fire risk management
  • With reference to Plan/do/check/act cycle, the structure, scope and purpose of PAS 7
  • Key definitions and terminology used in fire risk management
  • Key requirements of PAS 7.

“London Fire Brigade welcomes any system that will help reduce the risk to people in their workplaces and homes,” says Coombe. “The new specification aims to help businesses to manage risks in a formal way and is one way to demonstrate to enforcers that fire risk is being robustly managed.”

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trv8mike

Couldn’t agree more on importance of fire safety management. Look at recent findings in Glasgow School of Art fire.
Student using flammable propellant foam can. Projector running = FIRE. (DOH!)
ie
no proper control of COSHH, DSEAR inadequate fire risk assessment or
inadequate control of what students bring on the premises or maybe all
above.Do get a bit fed up when PAS 7 is continually mentioned as
if it invented this concept. The FPA has run courses in this subject for
30 years, as well as several other well known training providers.