Businesses and organisations around the UK are putting staff and visitors at serious risk by not taking those who are mobility-impaired in to account when carrying out evacuation drills.
This is the finding of a report by Evac+Chair International which shows that whilst companies on the whole are carrying out evacuation drills regularly, many are failing to incorporate additional safety equipment into these drills.
40 per cent of those surveyed said that they owned evacuation chairs but did not use them in evacuation drills and 15 per cent of respondents have never carried out a practice session with the equipment, leaving mobility-impaired employees and visitors at serious risk in an emergency.
The survey also revealed that in the current economic climate many companies have lost the trained employee responsible for health and safety equipment, such as an evacuation chair. Whilst the majority of these companies (73 per cent) have transferred this responsibility, worryingly 40 per cent are not yet trained in using this equipment.
Mark Wallace, Managing Director at Evac+Chair International, comments: “For many companies, buying a product such as an evacuation chair enables them to comply with certain legislation. However unless staff are fully trained and the equipment is regularly practised on, it will not serve its purpose in the event of an emergency, such as a fire.”
“It is encouraging that companies recognise the importance of carrying out evacuation drills, but those responsible for organising the drill should ensure that any equipment which may be called upon in an emergency is part of the practise.”
The survey showed that public sector organisations were less likely to use their Evac+Chair as part of an evacuation drill than their counterparts in the private sector. 41 per cent of respondents from the public sector said they did not use the equipment as part of their evacuation drills compared to 33 per cent in the private sector.