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After years of Brexit negotiations and an ongoing climate of prevailing uncertainty, businesses across the UK are still adjusting to the realities of life outside the European Union. Following the end of the UK’s transition period with the European Union, at the end of last year, the United Kingdom is no longer subject to European laws. However, for many companies, the last-minute nature of the Brexit negotiations mean that they remain unclear on what has actually changed in practical terms, particularly with regard to the day-to-day rules and regulations that govern how they do business. Post-Brexit workplace safety rules Workplace safety rules are likely to be a major source of questions in many cases Workplace safety rules are likely to be a major source of questions in many cases. Have any rules changed as a result of Brexit? Do any of the fire safety standards that were previously in place need to be amended now that EU standards no longer apply in the UK? And is it likely that the UK’s fire safety laws might change in the near future, to reflect the country’s newfound legislative independence? Here, we will explore the answers to these questions, in order to provide you and your business with an insight into what aspects of fire safety might change due to Brexit - and what elements are almost certain to remain the same. What has already changed? In truth, the reality is that so far, very little has changed in terms of how workplace safety regulations are implemented and enforced in the United Kingdom. Although many of the current rules around occupational safety and fire prevention were previously derived from EU directives, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 has since transposed all of those regulations into UK law, in order to provide as much legal continuity for businesses and communities as possible. Amendments to the supply of new work equipment By enshrining these former EU rules as UK law, the British government is now able to enforce them directly, as well as gaining the ability to adapt or remove them unilaterally in the future. Thus far, the most notable change affecting fire safety standards are the amendments to the manufacture and supply of new work equipment, which have altered the processes that are involved in certifying the safety and quality of equipment, which are used in the workplace. UK-specific UKCA standard Post-Brexit, newly-manufactured equipment will be tested and marked as per new UK-specific UKCA standard Previously, any gear purchased for workplace use needed to bear European CE marking to affirm its conformity to international standards. However, post-Brexit, newly-manufactured equipment will be tested and marked according to the new UK-specific UKCA standard instead. In practice, the impact of this change will not be significant for the time being. Products that conform to relevant European product supply legislation and correctly bear the CE marking will be treated as satisfying the requirements of the relevant UK legislation, until December 31st 2021, and will therefore not require UK marking. This is only likely to change after this date, if future regulatory evolution causes the UKCA and CE standards to diverge. What might change in future? At present, the vast majority of UK legislation on fire prevention and general workplace health and safety, remains in close alignment with EU standards, partly in order to maintain an international consensus on best practice, and to facilitate economic cooperation. However, the stated purpose of Brexit was to provide the UK government with scope to amend and create its own standards and regulations, and as time goes by, it becomes more likely that we will see increasingly significant changes to how fire safety is regulated. For example, in recent months the government has pledged to make a number of updates to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, following a series of inquiries and consultations prompted by the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017. The proposed move could usher in the following changes for all regulated buildings in England, both residential and commercial: When carrying out a fire risk assessment, there will be a new requirement for any person engaged by the responsible person (RP) to undertake any part of the assessment to demonstrate competence. RPs will be required to record their completed fire risk assessments, and the identification of RPs will also be recorded. Penalties for failure to comply with fire safety regulations will increase. Steps will be taken to improve the effectiveness of consultation between building control bodies and fire and rescue authorities on planning for building work, as well as for arranging the handover of fire safety information. As such, businesses should be keeping a close eye on any moves by the government to update its approach to fire safety regulations, and make sure they are ready to make these changes as and when they are needed. What will remain the same? The UK has always been committed to maintaining high standards when it comes to fire safety Although a certain amount of regulatory change is to be expected in a post-Brexit UK, it is also important for businesses to be realistic about what is always likely to stay the same. The UK has always been committed to maintaining high standards when it comes to fire safety, and there is no reason for any organization to allow these standards to slip in the wake of Brexit. No matter what happens in future, you will always be expected to fulfill the following responsibilities: Carry out regular fire safety risk assessments to identify potential fire hazards within your workplace, and then create a plan to eliminate, minimize or manage these risks. Make sure your workplace is properly equipped with fire detection systems and equipment, and maintain them regularly to keep them in proper working order. Keep your fire exits and escape routes clearly marked, well-lit and unobstructed at all times. Invest in fire extinguishers, fire blankets and other equipment to ensure you are able to contain any fires that break out. Provide appropriate training for all of your staff on procedures they should follow in case of fire, including fire drills, as well as getting their buy-in to create a company culture where fire risks are managed and dealt with proactively. Political circumstances may change, but the core principles of workplace fire safety will always remain the same. As such, the best way to ensure your business is properly equipped for the future is to hold fast to these timeless principles, using them as a foundation for future changes and advances as the reality of post-Brexit trading slowly takes shape.
Mathew Baxter is the Founder and CEO of the echelon group with responsibility for the management of echelon Consultancy, Pretium Frameworks and echelon Improvement Partnerships. Mathew has spent most of his working life in the construction sector. The devastating Grenfell Tower fire has prompted what the government has referred to as ‘the biggest change in building safety for a generation’. So what do the Building Safety and the Fire Safety Bills mean in terms of emergent legislation and is the housing industry prepared for substantive change on this scale? Fire Safety Bill Let’s start with the new Fire Safety Bill, which has been designed to give clear definitive guidance principally around areas of responsibility for fire safety. One way of looking at the new Fire Safety Bill is as a piece of legislation designed to beef up the existing legislation, focused specifically around the envelope of the building. The Fire Safety Bill makes it clear that the person designated as responsible has undertaken a fire safety survey around exterior walls (including cladding, balconies and windows) and individual flat walls entrance doors, where they open onto common parts to make sure they are compliant and if not, then to take any necessary remedial action and precautions to make that building safe. We suspect that demand for fire experts may rapidly outstrip supply. Building Safety Bill The Building Safety Bill proposes a significant amount of consultation is going to be required with residents The Building Safety Bill proposes a significant amount of consultation is going to be required with residents. Every ‘higher risk’ property has to have a strategy around the program of change that it will need. Resident consultation exercises will result in organic documents that will live as long as that building is occupied. Ideally all stakeholders (for example repairs contractors) coming in and out of properties should be encouraged and trained to take a holistic view of that property, and to be prepared to raise an alert, if they see something that is not right, for example, a fire door that has been propped open. Checking and replacing old appliances Many fires are caused by residents’ own appliances. Some local authorities are checking tenants’ appliances and if they seem unsafe, either removing or disconnecting them and in some cases, they are also providing free replacements. Housing associations and landlords will need to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of their property and stock. For example, if you have a cladded building, you need to know exactly what the specification of that cladding is. Not all cladding is equal and risk profiles vary. Intrusive surveys may be required to ascertain the exact construction and product used. There is still a clear issue that many building owners/managers are unsure of what their building is clad in and how the cladding is fixed for the building. Effectively, this is something landlords need to get a comprehensive understanding of immediately, for fear of very rapid enforcement action from the Local Authority. Adherence to fire safety regulation compliance Local Authorities are entirely within their rights to approach housing associations and ask for copies of the fire safety regulation compliance of these buildings and if it has not been done then they can take action and that can include decanting the whole building and ordering remedial works As previously mentioned, two new roles are also specified within the Building Safety Bill, that of the Accountable Person within an organization for fire safety and the Building Safety Manager. It is anticipated that the role of the Accountable Person role will need to be fulfilled by a senior member of staff within the client organization and the Building Safety Manager will have a high level of responsibility and accountability for maintaining the safety of the building. Competency frameworks and resident engagement strategies The Building Safety Bill may have a grace period, before it comes into force on existing buildings The Building Safety Bill may have a grace period, before it comes into force on existing buildings and elements that are likely to be included are already being discussed, for example competency frameworks, resident engagement strategies and two separate roles, namely Building Safety Managers and Accountable Person. One of the most significant changes that the Building Safety Bill will create is a new definition of buildings as ‘higher risk’ buildings. This category will obviously include high rise, but also student accommodation and supported living accommodation. High risk buildings Any building over 18 meters, or more than six floors high is immediately defined as high risk. The Bill also makes it clear that the new Building Safety Regulator (created under the Bill) can also add other buildings to the category at their discretion. The Bill places a lot more responsibility on landlords and owners of those buildings. In fact, the Accountable Person has legal responsibility for those buildings, as long as they are occupied. Assessment of fire safety risks Responsibilities include the assessment of fire safety risks, co-operation with any remedial action in terms of fire safety, the registration of high-rise buildings, building safety information and the appointment of the building safety manager. The Accountable Person has a duty to report the name and details of the Building Safety Manager to the Building Safety Regulator. This individual’s contact details have to be available to everyone in the building, a safety case report has to be undertaken and managed along with a risk assessment and an ongoing strategy for the safety of the building and information provided to the new regulator. If the Building Safety Manager is found to be non-compliant then she/he risks a prison sentence. Many of the clients are appointing Building Safety Managers directly with a salary between £60,000 – £70,000. The guidance is that they should not look after more than five buildings each, as the responsibility carries too much weight for more and as such, this represents a significant resource for many landlords with a large portfolio of ‘higher risk’ buildings. Undefined transition period for Act rollout The new Building Safety Regulator will become the Building Control Authority for higher risk building There is expected to be an as yet undefined transition period before the Act applies to existing buildings. As well as the changes that will be necessary to existing buildings, it is essential that consideration is given to the design and thought process behind new developments and new builds. There is a whole new regime for the design and construction phase. The new Building Safety Regulator will become the Building Control Authority for higher risk buildings. Developers are no longer able to choose their building control authority at will. This imposes strict competency requirements on all duty holders working on higher risk buildings, including the client, the principal designer and principal contractor. Impact of the two safety bills The impact on these two Bills will have an enormous impact on leaseholders and indeed everyone involved in construction and building maintenance. The administrative burden and personal responsibility on those accountable will be equally enormous but, in our view, in the light of Grenfell, absolutely necessary. Our advice to all our clients is to start planning ahead and to develop a strategy of how they will deliver all the aspects of the Building Safety Bill once it becomes legislation.
Mental health wellness is a requirement for firefighters and emergency medical responders. Seeking to address the need is the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome (HERO) Act proposed by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). In the current 117th Congress, a bipartisan group of 31 legislators led by Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) reintroduced the HERO Act into the House of Representatives. The proposal had previously been passed in the House but not in the Senate during the 116th Congress. HR1480 is vital to address the real need for increased mental health resources within the fire service. The Senate companion bill is to be reintroduced by Sen. Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.) Detecting, Treating, And Preventing Mental Health Challenges Tragic experiences on firefighters and emergency medical responders can lead to psychological injuries and even suicides “Firefighters and emergency medical responders repeatedly witness human trauma and scenes of devastation over the course of their careers,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “The cumulative toll of tragic experiences on firefighters and emergency medical responders can lead to psychological injuries and even suicides,” he adds. “The HERO Act will help ensure emergency responders receive necessary resources to assist in detecting, treating, and preventing mental health challenges,” says Schaitberger. IAFF’s Commitment IAFF, a labor union representing paid full-time firefighters and emergency medical services personnel in the United States and Canada, has served as a leader in mental health and wellness. The HERO Act bolsters the IAFF commitment in four ways. Establishes a new grant program to train firefighters and peer counselors Directs the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop new guidance for fire departments on identifying and preventing post-traumatic stress disorder Directs the CDC to provide information to mental health professionals on the culture within fire departments and evidence-based therapies to treat psychological issues common to firefighters Creates a database to compile statistics on suicide among public safety officers Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) Up to one-third of firefighters and emergency medical responders will demonstrate some or all of the criteria used to diagnose Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). The rates of diagnosed PTS among firefighters and emergency medical responders vary due to inconsistencies in data collection; however, reported rates are between 16% and 37%. Peer-support behavioral health and wellness programs within fire departments will allow trained peer counselors to conduct outreach to firefighters and their families to assist with issues associated with PTS, substance abuse, and co-related conditions. Database And Guidance Establishing a specialized database to capture incidences of suicide among firefighters and other public safety officers will provide scientists information to examine PTS more fully and to understand broader mental health concerns. New guidance for departments will provide education on how to better identify and prevent PTS and co-occurring disorders in public safety officers. Meanwhile, new resources for mental health providers will promote understanding of the culture of fire departments and evidence-based therapies for common mental health issues.
Specially designed for fire safety trainers, the LEADER range of fire training equipment can be used to organize particularly realistic and dynamic fire training. Any company firefighting policy would be incomplete without training on what to do in the event of a fire. For over 20-year, LEADER has designed and manufactured fire training equipment like flame generators which perfectly meets the training requirements of any company’s fire safety officers, whilst respecting the environment, health, and learner safety requirements. Leader is one of the forerunners in the design and manufacture of propane gas-supplied fire extinguisher trainers. A fire trainer/flame generator that allows for the reduction of the impact on the environment, whilst reproducing intense and realistic fires with a flame height of up to 3m. Training Modules To personalize training and familiarize learners with all fire situations, LEADER has designed training modules compatible with all fire trainers (also called flame generators). These modules can simulate specific situations such as: Computer screen fires Bin fires Power cabinet fires Motor fires Aerosol explosions LEADER fire training modules allows learners to: Recognize the type of fire (Class, A, B, C, D, or F fire) Select the correct extinguisher (spray water extinguisher, water + additive, powder, CO2, or foam) Use the correct technique to extinguish the fire (spraying extinguishing agent over the fire, covering the fire with a wet cloth, etc.) Equipment Range LEADER fire training equipment range perfectly meets the needs of fire training for any company staff In order to supplement the fire training equipment range, Leader, the well-known fire training equipment supplier, also offers different types of refillable extinguishes for fire extinguisher training; (auxiliary pressure extinguisher, permanent pressure extinguish, CO2 extinguisher). LEADER also supplies smoke generators able to create realistic smoke for safe evacuation exercises and training. The LEADER fire training equipment range perfectly meets the needs of fire training for any company staff while respecting the environment and health and safety requirements. Totally autonomous and supplied by a rechargeable 12v battery, the environmentally friendly flame simulator can be used for training without polluting or leaving residue on-site (ash, non-consumer hydrocarbons). There is no need to add wood, hydrocarbons, or other fuels to the fire. Specific Products Fire Trainer / Flame Generator Pyros 3 Pyros 3, the most powerful fire trainer in the range, produces very powerful flames (up to 3 meters high) and high thermal radiation for realistic and impressive training. For safe training, closer to the trainee, the fire trainer is equipped with a control panel and remote controls for perfect control of the fire (ignition, extinction, and flame height) and control of the gas supply. The water in the pan allows a homogenous distribution of the fire on all the surface of the pan giving it a strong thermal radiation with flames rising up to 3m high. PYROS 3, the largest flame generator in the range, has a very large fire surface area of 0.83m2. PYROS fire trainer is well-equipped to be able to carry out training with full safety: Two remote controls supplied for controlling the fire (ignition and extinction) at distance. A handy wireless remote control to accompany the trainee towards the fire, without cable and wired remote control. Integrated solenoid valve for automatic and immediate gas control Emergency stop button located on the console PYROS 3 fire trainer has been specifically designed for ease of use: Easy drainage ensured by handles for secure handling of the pan and wheels that allow the pan to be moved easily and titled effortlessly Storage space next to the igniter for the wired and wireless remote controls Storage space under the console to accommodate a bottle of gas PYROS 3 fire trainers is equipped with a control console: Lightweight and stable. Easy to transport: store in the pan during transport Control of flame height with 2 gas supply taps and 1 flow rate adjuster 1 pressure gauge for continuous gas pressure monitoring 1 emergency stop button Possible to connect 1 to 2 bottles of industrial-type propane gas or 4 bottles of domestic gas Fire Trainer / Flame Generator AEROS 2 The AEROS 2 fire trainer is the ideal compromise between the power of PYROS 3 and the compactness of GF42. With a fire surface area of 0.50m2, it generates flames of 1.50m high. Compact and lightweight, it is easily transportable. With a weight of 20.8 Kg, AEROS 2 fire trainer is easily transportable. The water in the pan allows a homogenous distribution of the fire on all the surface of the pan creating an impressive oil-slick fire effect with flames rising to 1.50m high. AEROS 2 is equipped with a wired remote control for controlling the fire (ignition and extinction) at distance. In addition, the fire trainer has an integrated solenoid valve for automatic and instantaneous gas control. AEROS 2 flame generator has been specially designed for ease of use: Easy drainage thanks to the flame generator tilting legs Increased ground contact surfaces areas, allowing it to be used on soft ground Fire Trainer / Flame Generator GF42 Compact, lightweight, the GF42 fire trainer is easy to carry in a vehicle. Water-free, it is simple and quick to set up. With a fire surface of 0.42m2, it generates flames with a maximum height of 1.20m. The GF42 is 63cm wide and 70cm long and weighs 14.3kg, allowing it to be easily transported and stored in a car boot. Fire training without water, the GF42 requires no preparation before use, no water filling necessary.
This February saw the launch of Emergency One (UK) Limited’s (E1) flagship new appliance, the E1 Scorpion™ The event, hosted by E1 and sister company, Clan Tools and Plant Limited, at their state-of-the-art specialist appliance manufacturing plant in Scotland, welcomed attendees from Fire and Rescue Services throughout the UK, as well as many from the airport and industrial FRS. E1 has been at the forefront of specialist vehicle design and manufacture in the UK for 30 years, and they are now the largest such company based in the UK. Many of their developments have become widely adopted and recognized as the industry standards. Through detailed engagement with the UK FRS’s, dedicated research and development, collaborative engineering, and a passion for innovation, the E1 Scorpion™ was born Innovate and Evolve While the E1 Scorpion™ concept is not new (water tower pumping appliances have been around for decades), the manufacturing and systems engineering and technology employed with this vehicle certainly are new. The E1 Engineering and Design Project Team were issued with the following simple design brief: Improve firefighter and public safety Robust and reliable engineering Full BS EN 1846 compliance / Full pumping appliance capability Full water tower capability / High flow rates / Optimize monitor performance Offer Choice – Full customization of build and chassis options Develop and improve existing technologies and solutions Simplify operation The resultant development of the E1 Scorpion™, therefore, required the creation of many new and innovative systems and componentry, as well as the refinement of many existing technologies – all of which were also on display at the Launch event. HRET System 20m High Reach Extendable Turret (HRET) system is installed featuring the Fire-Spike piercing lance system A 20m High Reach Extendable Turret (HRET) system is installed (designed and manufactured in England by E1 UK partner Translink International), featuring the “Fire-Spike” piercing lance system. The installation facilitates up to a 20m vertical reach and 14m horizontal reach, with full 360° rotation. Water and Foam delivery is available via the boom-mounted high flow monitor (up to 6,000lpm), or via the “Fire-Spike” (1,000lpm). CCTV and Thermal Imaging Cameras are also installed, with images relayed to locations such as the cab or pump bay system controls and/or the chest-pack remote control system. Fire Engineering Installation The impressive Fire Engineering installation feature a Godiva Prima P6A pump (6,000lpm), along with an (optional) Cobra Ultra High-Pressure abrasive/cutting system. The pump features a custom E1 designed manifold system, facilitating the high flow characteristics of the appliance. Full BS EN 1846 Pumping Appliance capability is upheld, with the appliance featuring a 6-person cab/crew cab, individual crew seats (c/w integrated BA), a 1,800-liter water tank, 100-liter foam tank, and a 1,200kg operational equipment inventory capacity. A unique (optional) pump bay canopy door provides safe shelter for the pump operator, who benefits from the latest widescreen version (“Evo”) of the industry-standard E1 “ePumpControl” HMI system. Design and Functions The rear body superstructure includes the all-new “E-1” Roller Shutter Door system, and “E-1 Streamline” smooth, flush-sided profile – with no overhanging door furniture (a narrower body and reduced accident damage potential). The E1 Technology arm of the business was on the show, with the E1 Scorpion featuring the latest iterations of their “e1fleet” specialist appliance telematics system, the “e1Tag” Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) on-appliance asset management system, and the “e1Connect” mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. To enhance the list of firefighting options available only from E1, the “E1 Nebula” system was also launched. The Ultra High-Pressure firefighting system (38lpm @ 200bar) includes several lance options, robust PTO drive (low maintenance, improved reliability, and performance), full integration with ePumpControl, and e1fleet, and options for foam and abrasive cutting upgrades. The system was demonstrated in its alternative, portable (self-contained) form. Other product launched Also unveiled was the E1 Scorpion’s™ big brother, the E1 Manticore™; a fully configurable industrial appliance, available on 18, 26 or 32 tons GVW Chassis Day/Crew Cab variants. Authority Comment E1 Scorpion™ showcases the best of British engineering, innovation, and manufacturing Mike Madsen, Managing Director, Emergency One (UK) Limited and Clan Tools & Plant Limited, commented; “We are delighted that the E1 Scorpion™ has been met with such enthusiasm. It’s important to me that we offer our customers choice – hence the E1 Scorpion is fully customizable and offers a unique, no-compromise build solution along with a comprehensive option list.” “The build quality and truly innovative design features are testaments to the quality, passion, drive, and commitment of our employees and the collaborative approach we adopted throughout the design and manufacture process. Working closely with our partners in Manchester, Translink International, I am proud that the E1 Scorpion™ showcases the best of British engineering, innovation, and manufacturing.” Finally, key supplier partners on the E1 Scorpion™ project were on hand to discuss and display their own products, along with many of the E1 and Clan Partner Companies, such as Magirus, Lukas, Vetter, Leader, and BioEx.
On the 22nd December 2010, a routine operation took a dramatic turn for firefighters in Chicago, Illinois. Two of them died and 14 others were seriously injured after the collapse of a burning building. For many years this peril has always faced Fire & Rescue teams and even since this accident many others have occurred around the world. To help prevent such accidents, there is a simple and effective solution that monitors the movements of a structure and alerts rescue teams of an imminent risk of collapse or danger. Designed by LEADER in collaboration with international experts in USAR and victim location techniques, LEADER Sentry provides additional safety in operational areas where teams or crews may be working, including rescue teams, firefighters, doctors, workers, and other persons or victims. Design and Features LEADER Sentry monitors the stability of buildings during firefighting operations With a simple program setting, the harmless laser ray of the LEADER Sentry monitors for the slightest movement in a structure or mass that may endanger people: unstable building, vehicle accident, landslide, rockfall, snow shift, or avalanche. Two LEADER Sentry laser sensors can be linked simultaneously to monitor two different structures or two axis of movement of the same structure. If the movement of the structure under surveillance exceeds the warning threshold chosen, a powerful siren and a flashing beacon are activated to warn of an impending collapse allowing rescuers to take refuge or evacuation measures. LEADER Sentry monitors the stability: of buildings during firefighting operations (fire damaged metal structures, wooden houses or other buildings, post-incident) during operations of USAR – Searching for victims (after a collapse or natural disaster) during the work/inspections within dangerous underground structures (Sewers, tunnels, mines….) during emergency shoring and securing trenches and structures (Trenches, shorings…) during securing of fragile structures (snow on the roof of houses or stadium….) or dangerously unstable masses (cliffs, archaeological excavations landslides of dangerous rocks, felled tree…) of wreckage during Rescue following Road traffic accidents, Railway derailments (lifting of damaged vehicles (trucks, train…) or of structures during operations of road rescue (movement or collapse of a bridge or a road structure) Strengths of the product Simple and intuitive One or two laser heads can be plugged into the same control box to be used simultaneously A laser beam with a range of 30 meters (100 feet) A 98 dB alarm and a red flashing beacon for immediate warnings of possible dangers Quick and easy programming Selectable adjustment by increments from 5 to 100 mm (0.2” to 4”) to determine the acceptable maximum threshold of movement depending on the structure and context A clear display showing movement in real-time with the choice of measurement (meters or inches) Possibility of multi-source power to be operational in all situations Automatic switchover to AA batteries back up if the main power source fails A telescopic sight enabling precise pinpointing of the laser on the targeted area
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