Health & Safety Risks During Evacuations

Health & Safety Risks During Evacuations

When an evacuation takes place, it’s easy to assume that the greatest risk is whatever the evacuation is for. A fire, public safety threat, hazardous substance. It’s only with prior consideration into your evacuation procedure and equipment that other unrealised risks are minimised? What are these risks?

Evacuation poses issues. The most obvious are physical barriers like stairs and doors, and even cultural issues such as equality come into play. The hierarchy of employees in a business, for example, should be put to one side when an evacuation takes place. In this blog though, we specifically consider the health and safety issues during an evacuation.

In order to get yourself and others in or out of a building or danger area in the quickest and safest possible way, we need to acknowledge several things.

Correct equipment to evacuate

People with reduced mobility (people who use a wheelchair, for example) may need help should the usual escape route be blocked or inaccessible to them. This scene from hit comedy series The Office, quite brilliantly shows us what happens when correct equipment is not at hand, but also highlights the importance of needing the correct equipment.



Trying to carry an adult in a chair down several flights of stairs will endanger the lives of the impaired person, the people who volunteer to help, and whoever may need to use that that access route.  In this scenario a stair climber such as the Super Trac TRE-70 would be perfect.

Dignity for the escapee

This also rolls into the issue of dignity. No person wants to be man handled in an emergency situation due to the fact that the correct equipment not being available. Having the right equipment properly installed and readily available will inspire trust and reassurance amongst the people who use the building.

Responsibility and risk

Reason’s for evacuating a building are often out of our control. For example, a natural disaster. However, the safety of the people evacuating the building can be completely controlled by proper preparation. It is the responsibility of the business, building manager, site manager etc to ensure that ALL steps have been taken to minimise all health and safety risks. THIS IS WHY you can be prosecuted for not having ticked all of the necessary boxes. You could be putting your reputation on the line, as well as being faced with a hefty fine and legal action, but most importantly you are endangering the safety of the evacuees.

When it comes to the movement of people for evacuation, Evaccess are #1 in the UK. We eliminate the manual handling of people, we eliminate material handling, and we therefore eliminate related risks to your staff, visitors and business in general. Take a walk out of your escape route today, and decide if you have done enough preparation.

Maintaining your machinery

If your machinery isn’t maintained or checked, it may malfunction. If a malfunction occurs, the equipment may go awry, the equipment may overheat and subsequently cause a fire. Along with your machinery, your fire alarm systems and protection should regularly be maintained and checked, so as to ensure it will still adequately function in the case of a fire outbreak. So make sure your fire alarm system is regularly serviced and maintained!

Manufacturing Fire Safety Emergency Procedures

Fire drills where loud machinery and equipment are being operated, are often difficult to carry out. You will need the right alarm system that can be heard over these. However, drills must be carried at least once a year. All full time and temporary members of staff should be aware of the full evacuation process. If your staff are more experienced in fire procedures, the smoother the evacuation process! Additionally, staff need to understand how to use the fire protection equipment available. To get your staff confident with the use of the fire protection equipment, get them fire warden trained!

Therefore, for more information on manufacturing fire safety and the right fire protection, installations and maintenance for your premises. Call our friendly team on 0845 402 3045 or email for more information on Fire Protection Service and MaintenanceFire Alarm InstallationsFire Safety Training or any Fire Risk Assessments!

Published August 2018