The past few months have seen FTS stretched to the limits, carrying out all the range of health and safety inspections at various locations and for different clients, visiting offices, village halls and hotels and even a hospital.
I really need to stop and switch off when I’m not at work, but that is sometimes easier said than done.
It is so Hard to Switch Off When You Work in Safety
I was attending a launch event for the new Portable Appliance Testing Trade Association when I noticed an issue within the function room that made me look a little harder. The first thing that I noticed was that the signage in the function room was incorrect for the type of extinguisher in the room, the sign said “Water” but the extinguisher was a foam-based extinguisher. Not that it is a big problem, as a foam extinguisher is water based but it is still incorrect and this should have been picked up by the person doing the fire extinguisher servicing or the responsible person who carries out the weekly safety checks.
On noticing this I had a look around the room and I saw a few other things: neither the fire call point nor the exit point had any Fire Action signs, and one of the emergency exit doors had a push bar to open but no sign to say “push bar to open”.
The next day I double checked these issues with my colleague who carries out the Fire Risk Assessments. Yes, there should be fire action signs and the door should have the push bar to open sign. Maybe the hotel, which is part of a big chain, should get a risk assessment completed as they clearly do not meet current safety standards for signage and extinguishers.
Anyway, on to my next point, I had to go into hospital for minor surgery and was giving the bed next to the fire exit and extinguishers. Of course, I had to have a look and instantly noticed that the extinguisher had not been serviced or even commissioned correctly. Looking carefully at the extinguisher, I noticed that the original transportation seal was still in place, indicating to me that the commission service had not been done correctly nor had the next years’ service as this should have been removed. There was even the original pressure gauge seal in place which again should have been removed and the gauge checked. Obviously, this indicated that the quality of servicing did not meet with the current standards and does cause concern as this is one of a few hundred extinguishers in the hospital which may not have been servicing correctly and that if there is a need for the extinguisher to be used, would it work, I hope so.
Recently my Risk Assessor sent me a picture of an extinguisher in a Warehouse he was assessing. Highlighting not all fire extinguisher service engineers have been trained to BAFE or FIA standards. In this instant the original transportation seals were still in place and a tamper seal had been placed around the handle and pin as required, however there is a seal that is removed allowing the gauge to be tested, once that is completed a new seal is placed over the hole in the gauge usually with the year date on. In this case the gauge dot had been put on the tamper seal and the gauge seal was still in the original position from when the extinguisher was new.
I see all sorts of things when I’m out and about, I can’t help it, even going shopping I look at things, I guess my eye is automatically drawn to it… and when you’re in the safety business you do tend to take your job seriously as a mistake could have dire consequences. Which is exactly why I get so frustrated with these sloppy practices… are you as passionate about your work? What really frustrates you about your industry?
Until Next Time… Stay Safe