New COVID-19 restrictions do not affect fire safety work, but the industry can continue good practice to limit virus transmission

Wednesday 23rd September 2020
Information published 23/09/2020

New COVID-19 restrictions have been introduced by Government, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday (22/09/2020). Whilst this does not directly affect fire safety work, BAFE would fully support the advice that the stronger requirements for face coverings should be implemented consistently within the fire safety industry. This is especially important with technicians working on site at care facilities and other buildings where vulnerable people may be exposed to the virus.

Michelle Roberts, Health Editor for BBC News Online reports that “Coronavirus is spread when droplets are sprayed into the air when infected people talk, cough or sneeze. Those droplets can then fall on surfaces.

The WHO says there is also emerging evidence of airborne transmission of the virus, with tiny particles hanging in aerosol form in the air.

Homemade cloth face coverings can help reduce the spread from people who are contagious but have no symptoms, or are yet to develop symptoms.

Scientists in Singapore suggest the contagion risk is especially high in the 24-48 hours before an infected person is even aware they might have the disease.

Taking a face covering on and off can also risk contamination, the WHO says.” (information from 22/09/2020)

Stephen Adams, Chief Executive - BAFE, comments:
“The industry must lead by example. Simple actions such as wearing face masks and keeping hands sanitised when working on site can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 whilst continuing to help people meet their fire safety responsibilities. This is especially important in the upcoming colder months of the year, where ventilation may become worse inside.”
Fire safety personnel continue to remain Key Workers

Back in March Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association, was informed by James Brokenshire, Minister of State for Security at the Home Office, that “security & fire safety personnel can play a vital role at this time of national challenge. People working in these sectors who are essential to national infrastructure are “Key Workers” for the purposes of the Government’s guidance on COVID-19.”

This categorically has not changed, and fire safety legislation continues to be enforced. We continue to prompt all BAFE Registered Companies that they should be in contact with their clients to remind them of their legal obligations in the interest of life safety.

It is imperative with any changes made to accommodate COVID-19 safety measures that any fire safety in place has not been compromised. It is vital that Fire Risk Assessments are reviewed as soon as possible if they have not been already, and then any changes are implemented as quickly as possible to keep buildings compliant with fire safety legislation.