The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – High Risk Fire Hazards & Precautions – Part 103

November 25, 2019 2:25 pm

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, our aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 102, LWF considered potential fire hazards during building operations, maintenance, alterations or extensions. In part 103, we will continue to look at the impact of outside work contractors and works on the fire safety provision in a healthcare environment.

Outside contractors employed to work in a healthcare environment can be a very high fire risk, due partly to the activities they must undertake to complete the work and largely because they are unfamiliar with the buildings and are therefore unable to appreciate the fire risks, required precautions or the appropriate action to take if a fire starts on the premises.

An outside contractor is any person engaged to work on the premises who is not an employee. Sometimes it will be necessary to have more than one contractor (or group of contractors) on site at any time and it is important to predict how their work will affect each other and the surrounding environment.

It is important to communicate effectively with outside contractors to ascertain the likely and possible risks involved in their activities. It is also necessary to familiarise them with any relevant health and safety procedures they should follow while on site and what they should do in case of an emergency.

A legal duty is in place to ensure contractors are made aware of particular risks involved in working in healthcare premises. The use of permit-to-work systems and ‘hot work’ permits are necessary to define agreed upon access arrangements, limits on activities and stipulations about fire safety.

Where work is being undertaken by outside contractors in occupied premises, there will be an increased risk to patients, visitors and staff on the premises from a fire originating in the area or an adjoining location. Staff must be advised of the nature of any work ongoing in their work areas and be made aware of any remedied instructions or additional instructions which are resulting. The local Fire Service should also be advised of any increased fire risk or particularly high hazard.

All site activities undertaken by contractors must be supervised and controlled even during small works or sporadic maintenance. Estates staff should be aware and undertake all necessary precautions against fire and the healthcare fire safety adviser should provide guidance and give oversight to such activities in order to check compliance.

In part 104 of this series, LWF will continue looking at areas of potential high risk in healthcare environments by discussing medical gases. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information

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