With Valentine's Day done and dusted, let us please continue to respect the vital and essential role red items play in the well being of others, including our employees. Fire extinguishing material should never be overlooked. Their condition should be audited regularly. Forgetting to buy red roses can seriously dent ones relationship; forgetting to inspect your fire extinguishers could be fatal for your employees and business.
Every workplace in South Africa needs to be equipped with fire fighting equipment in order to remain compliant. The presence, quantity and quality of such items are anchored in almost every regulation that is related to the South African Occupational Health and Safety Act (No. 85 of 1993). The Application of the Building Regulations by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS 0400) for instance, has a specific section (T:Fire Protection) in which is dictated how many fire extinguishers are required per square meter or where the extinguisher(s) should be located. How these items are to be serviced or what flow rates they should be capable of meeting, is described in SANS 1475; Fire fighting equipment. And although the red coloured items are hard to ignore, SANS standard 1186-1 describes the use of, and requirements for the signage that should be used to direct people to the fire fighting equipment.
It is evident that the South African authorities place much emphasis on fire fighting equipment. They rightfully do so as, of all possible disasters that can occur, the impact of fires is the most damaging. It is also irreversible hence the importance of having an unbiased and regular update about the condition of the fire fighting equipment through a compliance audit. Compliance audits conducted by independent health and safety practitioners provide a company with an unbiased and clear update about the status of their fire fighting equipment. As the significance of the condition of fire fighting equipment cannot be underestimated, it is important that such compliance audit is conducted in a systematic approach. In order to do so, auditors are required to have extensive knowledge and understanding about the equipment as well as the possible consequences of the presence of non-compliant fire fighting equipment or the absence of these items. The ability to describe and visualize these possible consequences is often vital to convince management and to speed up the release of funds. It also helps to have mitigating measures taken.
MAKROSAFE Health and Safety officers continuously acquaint themselves with trends and solutions. They conduct Compliance Audit services every day. Each compliance audit conducted teaches them about possible pitfalls and situations that can affect the quality of fire fighting equipment. This allows them to bank on extensive knowledge and experience which they use to advice clients to remain complaint. Just like no sustainable relationship will be built on an inferior gift wrapped in a nice (red) bow, the presentation of the fire fighting equipment will not matter either. Have the quality and status of its content and mechanisms verified often. Only then will you know that the systems will be there to assist you when you need them most.
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