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New lockdown measures and the fire safety industry

Wednesday 4th November 2020


November COVID lockdown begins 05/11/2020

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement made on Saturday (31/10/2020), lockdown measures will be introduced across all of England this Thursday (05/11/2020).

 

Initial guidance, in relation to going to work, published following the Prime Minister’s announcement states: “To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where people cannot do so (for instance people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing) they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting vital sectors and employers.” - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november#going-to-work

 

We also recognise that there is different legislation regarding COVID restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but we will be making any Scheme guidance applicable to all parts of the UK, as far as possible.

 

Earlier this year, BAFE reported that Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association, had been 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.”


BAFE continue to emphasise the importance that fire safety legislation across the whole of the UK continues to be enforced and should be upheld despite the current situation. We stress that BAFE Registered Companies should continue to keep contact with their clients to aid in their fire safety obligations. It is suggested that this is an ideal time to gain access to buildings (if possible) whilst there are minimal people on-site to work on/maintain systems and provisions. If a building is not accessible during this new lockdown period, clients should be contacted following this to reschedule required fire safety work as soon as possible.

 

We have published this on a number of occasions, but still remains very relevant, Chris Auger (Director of Schemes – BAFE) specified in guidance issued 17/03/2020: “If a client is not permitting access on-site due to coronavirus precautions, please make sure you explain that this is their decision to not allow you to complete this work. It is the role of the premises management (i.e. Responsible Person/Duty Holder) to ensure they fulfil their fire safety obligations.

 

Advise them of any risk and if they still do not grant you access on-site, document this communication. This will provide evidence you have acted responsibly with your clients.

 

If you are allowed access on-site, please stay safe and follow appropriate coronavirus guidance to ensure you are not unnecessarily increasing risk to anyone in the premises or yourselves.”

 

Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, comments: “The resilience of the fire safety industry this year has demonstrated an excellent response to the coronavirus pandemic by clients and providers alike. BAFE Registered Companies continue to work in a safe manner and should continue to communicate with their customers regarding fire safety responsibilities. This is not an easy time for any business, but fire safety must not be overlooked in the interest of life safety and property protection.”

 

Chris Auger, Director of Schemes – BAFE, has issued guidance regarding the November lockdown and other UK restrictions and how this affects Third Party Certification assessment, Fire Extinguisher Technician assessment and exams/refreshers

 

Fire protection companies that are seeking certification or existing registered companies that have scheduled Certification reviews should contact their Certification Bodies to ascertain their working arrangements over this lockdown period.

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