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Webinar transcript: Fire, health and safety expert panel Q&A 2022
Tracy Seward 00:03
Good morning, everybody, and welcome to the Praxis 42 panel q&a webinar roundup for 2022. Today our expert panel will be answering questions regarding fire health, safety and compliance challenges faced by our clients and fellow practitioners. I’m Tracy Stewart, the marketing manager at Praxis 42 and today I’m joined by our expert panellists Mike Stevens, the CEO of praxis, 42, and a chartered safety practitioner. Mike is one of our founding directors and has worked in health, safety and compliance for over 35 years. Adam Clark, MD of consulting, Adam has a background in occupational health and safety for over 15 years. And Tom Paxman, MD of digital art practice 42. Tom’s focus is on using technology to support our customers compliance needs. So hopefully today we can share some of our expertise and learning with you when we answer some of your questions that have already been sent in. Just a couple of admin bits, your mic will be muted, but there are buttons at the top of your screen, where you can join the chat or ask a question, which will be addressed in the q&a session at the end of the webinar. So we’ve already had some questions come in. But please do feel free throughout the webinar to send in some more questions. We also have some downloads related to the event that will be sent to you following the webinar, and you’ll be able to share the event on social media. Though, as I say we do have quite a number of questions that have come in. But if you do want to send in a question during the webinar, and we will do our best to get to it, but if we don’t have time, we will answer those questions and they will be put up on our resources page after today’s session. a recorded version of today’s webinar will also be available after the event and a link will be sent to everyone who signed up. So over to Adam to introduce our panel webinar roundup for 2022.
Adam Clarke 02:00
Thank you, Tracy. So it would be hard to start without mentioning COVID-19. This year has seen restrictions finally come to an end as we live with and manage the virus. Seeing the COVID Allah lowered to two organisations have then spent some time adjusting to a to a post pandemic era which has created a number of different challenges when it comes to work life work life balance, adapting environment to a new way of working. And we’ve had some interesting questions, which will, we’ll get to later on. The focus for those who’ve got responsibilities for property this year really been on the Building Safety Act and the fire safety regulations. The Building Safety Act is a groundbreaking reform to give residents and homeowners more rights powers and protection. The Act itself creates three new bodies to provide a really effective oversight of the new regime. So we have the building safety regulator, the national regulator of construction products, and the new homes ombudsman. The fire safety regulations can impose requirements on responsible persons or others, including building owners and building managers in relation to mitigating the risks to residents for specific premises. And we’ll see those regulations come into force in January. The 2020 were published showing that 123 workers died in work related accidents. Whilst any any deaths at work are a great tragedy, the HSE has reported a long term downward trend in fatal accidents, which is great news. And speaking of the HSE the HSE released their strategy document for the next 10 years, taking us through to 2032 which is titled protecting people and places. Some of those headlines strategic objectives, which will no doubt hear more, more about over the coming years include reducing work related ill health, specifically focusing on mental health and stress increasing and maintaining trust to ensure people feel safe, where they live, where they work in their environment, enabling industry to innovate safely to prevent major incidents supporting the move towards net zero and maintaining Great Britain’s records as one of the safest countries to work in. So there’s some great, great objectives there. And I’m sure there’ll be some, some excellent campaigns to give us a real drive to achieving those.
Tracy Seward 04:46
Thank you, Tracy. Thanks, Adam. So when we were asking for questions, we had quite a few come in regarding fire safety. So we’ve thought we’d start by looking at those fire related questions. So, first, so first question and this one I’m going to put to Mike. What, Marshall? And how can an organisation best Manage Roles and responsibilities regarding evacuation? When flexible working is the norm?
Mike Stevens 05:17
Thanks, Tracy. Yes, it’s so pretty much heard a favourite question I suppose about fire marshals fire wardens. What they do, I think a good place to start is that what typically people first think of is the fact that you’re gonna have a fire marshal or a fire warden is going to go and put the fire out. And that’s not what it’s all about is the the idea is that it forms part of the emergency arrangements, which you have within the premises in which an employee is occupied in. So the role of the fire marshal will very much depend on the requirements placed on them by the business and, or the organisation and the nature and size of the premises. So the fire marshal could have a range of different things. And typically, it can be as simple as sweeping a designated area to ensure that all occupants have left. So undertaking periods of periodic checks of the building, looking at fire precautions, so are there any issues relating to the buildup of materials, that there are means of escape, which might be blocked, maybe giving training, or assisting with the fire risk assessments and the emergency plan? To name a few. The main thing about it is that the individual needs to have training and be very clear on what their responsibilities are. So that they do support the plan and support the building emergency officer in the event of an evacuation. So that sort of answers the question about well, do you have to have people signing in and signing out. And that can become problematic, as you can imagine, is that you can’t always guarantee that by using a piece of paper where somebody or a mechanism where somebody signs in and out, there are issues. So the fire marshal is key and making sure that all those areas are the areas which they’re designated to look at are actually clear. So you can then tell the emergency officer when they arrived from the five services, that the building is empty, and they can then proceed to deal with the fire if that’s what is necessary. So the challenge that we’ve seen is that people have asked us about, what about flexible working then because it could be you you don’t know who’s in the building, you don’t know whether or not there’s a fire marshal there. So yeah, it is a problem for many organisations, however, the legislative requirements still remain the same. We’ve had some people saying, you know, we can’t meet the requirement. Well, that’s, you know, that’s something which you’d have to work through. And that’s about managing fire safety. So the emergency plan should be reflect that in terms of who might be in the premises. And it may also mean that you have more people that are actually able to take on that role. And that when we do have people coming in working flexibly that they understand that’s what they must do is that they take on that responsibility based on the occupancy for that time. So the idea is then to make sure that those people have been trained and understand what is expected of them. So going back to that point, but also making sure this dynamic in terms of what’s happening each week, and then planning ahead to make sure there’s adequate cover there.
Tracy Seward 08:44
Thanks, Mike. Next question for Adam. How do we balance the decision to instal sprinklers and where?
Adam Clarke 08:53
Thanks, Tracy. So the decision to instal sprinklers will be dictated by the relevant building regulations. And that would then cover off construction for a new build or during any alterations or refurbishment to existing buildings. Retrospective installations will then be dictated by the fire risk assessment process. So your your competent virus assessor should be able to give you a steer on where where they should go if that’s appropriate to do so.
Tracy Seward 09:33
Right, thank you. Next question. What is the legal requirement in Scotland for fire detection in small offices? That one, two, Mike, please.
Mike Stevens 09:45
it’s not surprising that actually there’s no specific legal requirements and it’s about its assessment and valuation based on what you see. And it can be that fire detection can be as simple as somebody shouting fire if they see one because of the size of the The premises. But to go into the sort of the niceties of what it does say. So to have fire detection any premises in Scotland, and the fire safety Scotland regulation imposes a requirement on the person with duties under Section 1353 and 54. To ensure that the relevant premises are to the extent that is appropriate, equipped with with appropriate means of giving warning in case of fire. And what is deemed appropriate, is based, of course, around the fire risk assessment. So, as with all fire safety, related matters, and also about fire design, it’s about making sure that it’s relevant to a particular building, and the premises and the way it’s being used. So that’s what you fall back on. So one of the primary reasons for the requirement of automated detections in commercial premises. Well, some of them seem a bit obvious, but we’ll just state those. But it might not be in your particular verses here, it might not be in your particular area of responsibilities, but you’d have automated detection where people would be asleep. So it’d be in a hotel or in a caring community, where you need to have that automated detection, because it’s not something that’s going to be obvious if we’ve got to sleep in risk. This also were automated fire detection forms part of a fire engineering solution. So where a premise has been subjected to a design by fire engineers, then don’t apply to be part of the requirements that there is an automated system, because that’s what’s been determined from the design. So where fire protection systems such as door closing facilities or smoke control systems are to be operated. That’s when an automated detection system would be put in place. So we’re talking about where doors are held open by devices. So point detection, automatic detection would then deploy those so that they would close. So that would be one of the reasons where you’d have automated detection. And so finally, we’re what primarily, the reason for it will be is where the low level of occupancy of a particular building or part of the building is such as to create a potential for fire to prejudice the means of escape. So that’s where it could be somewhere it’s not visited. Often, it could be somewhere where it’s that particular risk, where fire could start. And that detection, that automated detection will actually provide the level of safety for the occupants to get to a place of relative safety to the place of ultimate safety. And that’s why it’d be automated. So I’ve gone through quite a lot there for for the question, which about a small office, but gives the answer in the round, basically. So it’s all based around the fire risk assessment and the findings of that.
Tracy Seward 13:06
Great, thanks, Mike. Okay, final fire question. For now. It’s on for Adam, the company I work for own residential property, is there a requirement for us to certify all of our fire doors?
Adam Clarke 13:20
Thanks, Tracy. Another great question there. So I adore certification is generally done at the point of installation and evidence should have been provided and, and kept. However, we recognise that this, this doesn’t always doesn’t always happen. Suppliers don’t always remember to do this or or evidence doesn’t get doesn’t get retained well enough. So if no evidence is available, then retrospective certification can be undertaken. However, without evidence that the doors in question are actual fire doors. The only definitive way of establishing this is to undertake a destructive test of a sample door, which is not ideal. An alternative solution is to ask a different question and look at the fire risk assessment. So based on the fire risk assessment, are the doors adequate to ensure the safety of all occupants? Now, your your competent fire risk assessor should be able to answer this question and provide you evidence of compliance with relevant fire safety legislation.
Tracy Seward 14:29
Great, thanks, Adam. So moving away from fire. Now some of the questions that we’ve had come in. With people working from home and the office, should users have separate DSC assessments for each location. And should the company be responsible for paying for DSC equipment at home? And I guess that’s a question for you Adam and Tom. Really?
Adam Clarke 14:51
Yeah, okay. I’ve had a bit of first Tracy So unsurprisingly, this this question has come up a lot and continues to be debate Seated on one what the right way forward is. So, for me whether the assessment covers both locations or they are assessed separately, both both workplaces needs to be assessed. For ease of doing this users with some training will be able to carry out a self assessment to help determine what needs they may have. And these needs may be different between those two environments, we expect that most office environments have will will have a typical setup. home environments MC can vary considerably from from person to person. You don’t necessarily need office furniture at home to achieve a good posture. However, employers should ensure that those working at home have the right equipment to achieve a comfortable sustainable posture whilst working on the SC equipment. So regarding paying for DSC equipment, we’ve we’ve seen people take various different approaches to this. Some of our large corporate clients have created a catalogue of standard equipment which their employees can order, get delivered to home for free. Some employers are contributing towards the cost, and some where an employee’s working from home perhaps a day a week, and not contributing and are asking employees to provide their own. For those who are contracted to work from an office location, any of the examples above may be deemed as as reasonable, the self assessment will help determine the need. And in complex cases, managers may require additional support in determining the right action, especially if their staff have the underlying health conditions. So Tom, did you want to talk about what your your solutions have looked out?
Tom Paxman 16:56
Thanks, Adam. Yeah, so we’ve been working on the practical side of this challenge for for some time, so so I can certainly help answer this in part by how the our learning platform shine handles assessing both office and the home environment. So essentially, our our tool will allow, enable customers to either roll out separate assessments home office, or merge them into one assessment. And in the case of one assessment, we use what are called Gateway questions. So the example here would be you ask the user if they work from home as part of their role? And if they answer yes, they complete questions about the home environment. And if they answer, no, they don’t. So you’re only presenting relevant questions to the individuals scenario. Alternatively, if the employer wishes to keep these two environments treated as separate assessments, that’s what they can be. That does introduce though the challenge of the fact that you don’t always know who your occasional home workers are as an organisation. The way we overcome that is we would use an auto assign feature that we developed. So you would roll out your standard office based DSC assessment question set, it would ask the user as part of that process if they also work from home in any capacity for their role. And if they answer yes, the system would automatically assign them a home working assessment as well. So it’s, it’s managing it by making sure the organisation has a mechanism for knowing who works at home and who doesn’t, but also giving you the flexibility to treat it as two separate things, or as or as one assessment.
Tracy Seward 18:40
Right, thanks, Tom. Another question for you actually, Tom. With the influx of elearning training during the pandemic, do you think face to face training will come back? Or will elearning continue to be the preferred medium going forward?
Tom Paxman 18:54
Okay, thanks, Trey. So, pre pandemic elearning was already the most popular method for learning in the workplace. And I think since from the pandemic, it took an even more vital role. And the best example of this is in education, where content was very quickly authored to enable teachers to continue to develop as much of a code of the curriculum to their students up and down the country. But moving away from trending that was kicked on by pandemic, since I think that 2000 There’s been the year 2,900% growth in online training in the UK with with half of the organization’s making use of elearning or online training in some form or another. So that’s a very, very well established and already the most popular mechanism. But in terms of face to face, and you know, the term making a comeback. Well, I don’t think in my view, it’s gone away. Some content will always need to be delivered face to face as certain topics require practical elements to check understanding And, but also individuals have different learning styles and some simply are more suited to a face to face, instructor, instructor learner scenario. And lots of organisations are still able to facilitate this. And lots of trainers still exist out there. So it certainly hasn’t gone away. But it’s also worth noting, as it evolves, that some face to face training can actually be delivered online as well, via zoom or teams or these webinar tools that we all we all got. So, so used to using during the pandemic, just to keep in touch. So, yes, it still exists, I don’t think it needs to make a comeback because it is still being used. And it may well be that it adapts and evolves to be delivered in different mediums.
Adam Clarke 20:46
And I think of just just jumping in on that one, then Tom, you’re thinking about, for example, manual handling training, where there’s actually a kind of a hybrid approach that can be undertaken there, you know, you very much can give some underpinning knowledge to people via your learning, learning training. And then, you know, focus on face to face training on the specific activities that those users are going to be going to be doing so that you get the most out of the resources that you’ve got got available to you. And you know, one of the great things that we can see these days is actually what you’re doing this as opportunities to record what’s being what’s being done. So you’ve got opportunities to reuse that as a refresher from from time to time.
Tracy Seward 21:32
Great, thanks, Adam. Next question, I work for a small organisation and have a basic health and safety qualification. Am I okay to be the organization’s competent advisor? Or Should this be outsourced? And give that one to Mike, please?
Mike Stevens 21:49
Thanks, Tracy. And, yeah, it’s a good question. Because it’s a bit of a dilemma, even within big organisations about who’s competent, who should be the advisor, or, or whatever. But to answer this one, in particular, there’s some factors to be considered, which are really for the employer to consider, rather than individual. So any of these appointments which are made, and appointing people to be their content resource is about an employee’s decision that the this is the competent resource, and they are competent. So that it should all be about in consultation or in discussion with who is the employer or who’s that the manifestation of that has been the manager. So the there is some legislation around it, which is the management regulations, where it’s stems from, and the requirement there is 2.1, or more competent persons to assist in undertaking the measures needed to comply with the requirements of those regulations. So that sort of drops in some concept here of it’s not just about having one because that the the competent resource can be a number of different people. And, and it depends on what their competence in. So it could be that they are some somebody who’s more competent, in terms of safety on things like mechanical safety, or to do with electrical safety in comparison to somebody else who’s more competent and say economics. So I think that’s the concept to consider here. But I can see why the question has been asked is that is it about having an advisor or not having an advisor within the organisation? So the other factor to consider is, in addition, the employee should provide time available for that person for you, the person that asked the question, or who else is appointed to fulfil their functions, and it depends on the size of the undertaking, and the risks to which the employees are exposed. And the distribution of those risks, for example, who’s who else is within the organisation, and of course, contractors perform a big part of organisations where things get outsourced or done by others. So I think that’s an important part about the appointment is about how much time is going to be given to those that are going to undertake that role, and is sometimes overlooked. So how can it be achieved or what needs to be achieved? And is there going to be enough resource in terms of time to do that, and that’s what it’s trying to get out there. The other piece to consider is a person would be regarded as competent, where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them to provide and to assist. So going back to the fact that this is a basic health and safety qualification, which the person has asked the question about here, it may well be that that’s enough. The point being is that it needs to be a judgement. And it may well be that competency today is one thing, but tomorrow, it’s something different and that’s that continuous improvement element of what competency is all about. So I think that’s something that needs to be factored into answering that question for or the you know the Enquirer here that you need to have that discussion with the employer? So what I’d suggest is that you speak to your employer about the organisational risk profile, because it may well be that it’s a small organisation, but what is it you do? How big is the risk? And how difficult is it to manage that risk? And if it’s not difficult, or it seems to be low risk, then you take one path. And if it’s more difficult than you take another path, also about understanding how established the safety management system is already. So if it’s well developed and well defined, then that’s one thing. If it’s not, and it needs a lot of input, then that’s something else. We’ve talked about the time allocation to undertake the responsibilities and and what are the competencies or resources that you might be might require, because sometimes not everybody can do everything. And the best example I have about is that we see that our growth in fire risk management and fire risk assessment in particular is that individuals understand that the technical elements of fire risk is different to maybe what the expectations were five or 10 years ago. And in doing that, bringing somebody else that’s competent to do the fire risk assessment is probably a good decision. Unless it is very simple in terms of the way that the building has been designed, the age of it, etc. But it still comes down to how it’s being used. So risk assessment is really important. But the other part about it is where do you go and get ad hoc advice and guidance? Because sometimes things appear, sometimes things happen like we’ve had with a pandemic, and how do you then deal with that? So where would you go to find that additional support. So what can happen and what you see does happen, and we have a number of clients that do this, and we’re part of their competent resource is that you’ll have some in house competency, and then you’ll have some outhouse support. And that often works really well to bring a level of experience and competency, a different view from outside, but also, the person inside understands the workings of things on a day to day basis. So hopefully, it’s been useful. And you know, it’s given a rounded picture for the whole thing. And hopefully, that you’ve made the right decision. And if you need any help with that, then let us know. And we’ll be happy to give some more advice if that’s what you’d like.
Tracy Seward 27:31
Great. Thanks, Mike. Next question for Adam, please, is there a best approach to assess the mental wellbeing of our employees?
Adam Clarke 27:42
Okay, so best best approach? That’s a difficult one to answer. Measuring mental health and well being of employees is is really important. And I think I mentioned at the beginning, the pandemic has only helped push that agenda forward. So there are however, lots and lots of different ways of achieving this. So I’ll try and keep it a relatively simple, simple answer. So when, when trying to assess, there’s really kind of three key areas that you should consider employee experience, organisational culture, and mental health. So for employee experience perspective, it’s trying to look at things like do your employees feel that their work is meaningful, and that they are valued and supported? Try to drill down into this further, you can look at individual elements such as their workload, their development, their autonomy, etc. Do they feel that what they’re what they’re doing is inclusive of not causing them any mental health issues? Secondly, then the organisational culture? Does the organisation actually live up to its values and treats people? Well, we’ve we’ve all seen organisations that have very clear values on their on their website. However, they don’t actually follow any of them. This can look at things like work life, balance, leadership, etc. And then lastly, we’re looking at mental health. So what does the organisation say about mental health? And is that reflected in its policies and procedures? And is it actually on the is it actually on the agenda? So depending on where you are in your, your, in your journey with with dealing with mental health, some simple starting points would be to look at information from sources that you already have. And this may be your your HR department if you have one, such as employee turnover rates. It’s not a huge surprise that if your turnover rates are significant, then perhaps there’s something not quite right there. And maybe you need to look at your exit exit interviews or if you’re not doing exit interviews, start that process sickness absence data, you know, what’s that? What’s that telling you? Are there people who are recording incidents of off stress? And how are those being held those being managed? Where does it but as your rates, look in terms of industry data, things like appraisals or performance review data, you know, when you’re having those, those opportunities to directly ask questions, to your teams of how things are, how things are going, or what you’re actually doing with that information. And what’s it telling you? And then lastly, if you if you’ve undertaken any surveys, what, what did the data tell you? What have you done? What have you done with it? People often do suffer from survey fatigue in large organisations. So just simply going and sending out another survey isn’t necessarily the right, the right answer. Yep, all of these needs to be wrapped up into a into a strategy, which can then be turned into focused objectives. You know, too often we see organisations try and implement measures without first thinking through the why. Classic example of that would be companies providing free fruit, whilst then having terrible sickness policies. So making sure that we get the balance, right. For organisations that have well established systems, they may want to consider working towards ISO 45,003, which is the global standard on managing psychological health in the workplace. However, if you’re, if you’re new to this, then that’s not necessarily a good starting point. But lots of great information out on the, on the web, lots of practical tools that can be used to help with this, and getting the assessment. Right.
Tracy Seward 31:46
Thanks, Adam. Next, any learning question for Tom? How will elearning evolved to be more engaging going forward?
Tom Paxman 31:56
Thanks, Tracy. Really good question. Because it can be answered in so many different ways, depending on your role in the process, so whether you’re a l&d or if you’re actually in content development. So for me, engagement isn’t just about the content. It’s it’s also largely about the process. And I would suggest the best form of engagement starts with making sure that all training is relevant to individuals that are undertaking a course. Now, this can be achieved automatically. So automated means via a needs, needs analysis tool, or a pre qualification process, delivered on a learning platform. And certainly, as platforms develop, I expect this to be an area that gets a lot of attention. And I expect there to be quite significant advancements on on that being an employee led process as opposed to sitting with the training matrix. And, and the more relevant the training is, the more the more engaged the audiences are when it comes to actual content. There are already so many excellent techniques and tools to create engaging interactions and experiences. And I think these will continue to be developed at a rapid pace, as authoring tools are all competing for our attention. But similar to the platform angle, I expect to see personalization of content being key to this, anything that you can do to get that content relevant to the user and allow the user to make it more specific to them as they go, will really help push those engagement levels, which ultimately, is what we’re all aiming for. Because a more engaged learner. The more engaged the learner is the the more successful the knowledge transfer will be.
Mike Stevens 33:57
To add in there is something which we get asked about is that what training should we give to our employees? And that’s really quite difficult, but the answer is about what is the risk? What’s the risk assessment show? What is required? And what are the competencies that are needed for individuals? So I think part of that engagement part is that when people get given something which isn’t relevant to what they do, and the risks which are exposed to, then the engagement levels go down. And I think that’s important for employers to look at that. And for us to help guide in the selection that you refer back to what are the risks? What does your risk assessment show what the controls through a risk assessment, which includes training as a control measure? I think that’s a good point to to consider as in the engagement and discussion.
Adam Clarke 34:50
Yeah, and I think and also just very, it can be quite simple and just adding relevant parts into the into the into the training Because, yeah, great point like there in terms of, you know, be be bold enough to plan what training people actually need. And don’t just don’t just always do a blanket approach. If people don’t need to have that, that training, then you know, they don’t, they don’t need it. We’d much rather see that people have some really focused training on, especially on the risks that are critical to them, making sure that they’re aware of, you know, what they are and what the measures are in place to keep them to keep them safe. Invest your time into doing the best, the best training that you can on the things that are going to cause people harm. And unless I want the things that are somewhat insignificant.
Tracy Seward 35:41
Thanks so, next electrical safety question. For Mike, who is responsible for testing an oven and aircon that has been hardwired? Is it any CI EC or portable tester?
Mike Stevens 35:56
Okay, so the old question about portable appliances and fixed appliances or fixed wide systems. So typically electrical equipment plants and appliances which are wired into the electrical system will be covered under the fixed wire testing regime, which provides the employer or responsible person with an electrical installation condition report or an EIC R or often referred to as a certificate. So that sort of goes part of the way to answer the question here. But I think more importantly, to give a whole answer is that if you think about the testing of the system, under that regime as every five years, that might be a bit too long to wait to have a test done or to check to see whether or not those items are safe in their actual operation, because going to be used pretty much every day and intensely and they might have some risks associated with it. So organisations opt sometimes for a 20% test. So it comes up over five years that have done all of the system, but it still means that that appliance or that piece of plant could be sitting there for a period of time without having any be looking at it or to deal with it in terms of testing that it’s still safe. So what’s important is that plant and equipment must be regularly maintained. And in the case of another an air conditioning unit that should be undertaken by somebody competent. And it should be part of a regular inspection and maintenance programme or planned inspection or planned maintenance. And that’s then also supported by the workplace inspections that are undertaken. So looking for those things, which are obvious defects, or what are called sometimes called paitent defects in that piece of plant and equipment, but also for the users have the equipment also to be able to report any defects or any issues that they see to make sure that any into intermediate repair or maintenance is undertaken as well. So hopefully that’s so it’s a bit maybe longer than the answer that was required there. But it’s just gives the whole look at that. The idea is that it’s not just about the test, it’s about how do you regularly maintain this agenda requirement within a health and safety management system anyway.
Tracy Seward 38:32
Great, thank you. Next question, how can we effectively ensure adequate first aid and fire safety provision in a hybrid work environment? And that one for you, Adam?
Adam Clarke 38:44
Thanks, Tracy. As I mentioned a few times already, there’s been a lot of change to both health health both first aid and by having managed over the last three years and, you know, organisations have adapted based on what the requirements were at the time. So we’ve had long periods of time where people were not working in offices or were limited people who have worked in offices. Now we’re in a continued period of stability. If we haven’t done already we should be reviewing our arrangements. And and really the starting point for both fire and first aid should be looking at the the risk assessment and then the needs that come out of that. So when we’re looking at the risk assessments, we should really use a reference point as what the organization’s kind of framework is or approaches to hybrid agile, agile working, because that will really help us understand how we can assess the overall risk. Very few organisations that adapted to home working, have gone back to everyone being in the office five days a week. So there will need to be a considered approach to ensure your emergencies can be can be dealt with on those days when there might not be that many people in the In the office. And, you know, once we understand what the framework is even within the organisation, different teams will have different needs. So, you know, a good starting point, if you’re responsible for, for doing this assessment would be to try and to capture the typical expected occupancy rates across a working week. Some organisations are able to do this via a software solution. But a simple questionnaire would suffice. Once you’ve captured the data, then you can start analysing to determine what provision that you need against the current trained persons that you’ve got. And, you know, in our experience dealing with our clients most just needed to train a few more people to make sure there was appropriate coverage, make sure that the plans were were up to date, and that communication channels are operating effectively, much, much like my mic answered at the beginning of the session.
Tracy Seward 41:01
Thank you, Adam. Right, how would you suggest that an organisation measures the effectiveness of the positive health and safety culture? And that one for Mike, please? Yeah, I
Mike Stevens 41:16
think the big The question is quite challenging in some respects, because how do you how do you go about measuring things now, because we know that we can use lagging are leading indicators. And those are the ones where we use accidents and ill health reporting, which are the traditional, or the obvious measurements, but can really be a bit deceptive. So does it actually prove that a positive health and safety culture is being effective within the workplace in trying to prevent those things which you don’t want to happen? But you know, they are deceptive for many reasons. For things like under reporting, you don’t hear about all those things, which are going on near miss reporting. And whether or not those things are actually the true measure of how well you’re doing. Also, sometimes looking at those statistics that you get, and the types of accidents or incidents or ill health events that you’re having, is that good or bad in the context of that organisation. Because, you know, they may be good at reporting, or they might be bad at reporting, or how’s it look, in comparison to others. So there’s always that been that problem with the lagging indicators and things which have happened, that you’re just measuring basically, or keeping score on. So the other way of looking at it is those leading indicators and whether or not things like targets objectives, goals, provide a way of understanding how engaged the organisation is in achieving what it set out to do. So on the basis of initiatives, programmes than that the number of inspections, the number of training days are all those things, which are those sort of leading or proactive activities, which you can measure and give yourself an idea about how well you’re doing based on what you said you’re going to do, which then sorts of gives you the intent and the fact that intent has been met. And you can audit, of course, which can provide some assurance and understanding of how the management system is being adopted. So that can be another way of saying that actually, the culture is effective. But ultimately, culture is something which is about, you know, the definition, which we sort of defer back to, as we say, it’s about what we do around here. And sometimes that can be, from a group perspective, quite difficult to say, well, we’re going to have this approach, but you’ve got a big organisation, which has many different ways of doing things, and have many different cultures or maybe operating in different geographies. So how effective positive health and safety culture is going to be, can be more qualitative. And I think from experience is for senior management to start to interpret what that means. So it’s about them understanding how the tone from the top and the behaviours that they have, and how are they being interpreted by managers and employees. And in some of my recent podcasts with Louise, Harry of Siemens and James Pomeroy of Arup, there seems to be a common theme that what would what they’re looking at is that good senior managers take time to meet the workforce, and listen, and don’t look for the hard measures. And they’re trying to get that understanding of is it good, you know, what’s going on? Are they seeing evidence? Are they seeing language being used, which is being used by senior management to influence change? ancients make sure that safety, ill health and prevention of harm is actually being interpreted in the right way. But it’s going and spending time with the workforce as well. So I see that there’s more evidence of that happening. So that you get that sort of understanding whether or not the culture is being effective. So it’s, as I said, it’s not something that’s easily measured, but you can go out there and get a qualitative, good feeling about it. And it’s that really, which is, I think, the way forward and a lot of people are talking about it. And that way, rather than trying to put the hard numbers around it, it’s about how does it look? Or how does it feel? What’s the sense you get? So hopefully, that’s useful. And, you know, if you do get an opportunity to listen in on the podcast, there’s so many now that we’ve got, which are influenced by those people, which have been leaders in health and safety, helping others to think about things in a different ways. So look to our resources page to try and find those, maybe post this this call.
Tracy Seward 46:04
Thanks, Mike. Yeah, and just to say that, we will send a link out to everybody that signed up for the webinar, to the Resources page. So you will get that and you’ll be able to link through to it. So yeah, that’s the end of all of our pre submitted questions. If there is a question that you suddenly think of and that you want to submit to us, then it’s not too late. Send it over to us at solutions at Praxis 40 two.com and and we will do our best to answer anything that comes in. And we will also post those to our resources page as well. So So yeah, thank you so much, everyone for joining us today. And I just wanted to mention our next webinar, which is going to be in the new year, Tuesday, the 24th of January at 1pm. It’s going to be a fire specific webinar with our guest from Hiscox. So hopefully, you can join us then again, we will send a link to that to all of you and you can sign up for the next webinar in the new year. And finally, just say Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year from all of us here at practice 42 And we look forward to seeing you in 2023
This webinar from Praxis42 facilitates discussion amongst our expert panel to answer questions regarding fire, health, safety and compliance challenges faced by our clients and fellow practitioners.
This webinar focuses on questions that are submitted prior to the event, and issues and challenges faced across 2022.
Mike Stevens | CEO | Praxis42
Mike, a Chartered Safety Practitioner, is CEO and one of the founding Directors of Praxis42. He has worked in health, safety and compliance for over 30 years, his previous roles include being part of the Occupational, Health, Safety and Fire department at Mercury Communications and Cable Wireless and before that a consultant at RoSPA.
Mike has worked with clients across many sectors including facilities, construction and retail, supporting and understanding their challenges and then working to create and deliver solutions to support and improve the management of risk and compliance in their workplace.
Tom Paxman | Managing Director (Digital) | Praxis42
Tom is Managing Director of Digital at Praxis42, having started his career at Praxis42 as Marketing Director 17 years ago. This depth of experience means Tom has a unique insight into compliance and risk management, having worked with our many partners and clients over the years, to tailor the right service and products to their specific needs.
Toms focus on using technology to support our customers compliance needs, has led to many innovations in our service offering, including our new risk management platform SHINE. Tom’s focus is always our clients and providing them with what they need make their risk management simple.
Adam Clarke | Managing Director (Consulting) | Praxis42
Adam began his career in Occupational Health and Safety as an apprentice and is now leading a successful consultancy. Adam’s wealth of knowledge and experience comes from working across a diverse range of industries, and he continues to seek new ways to improve health and wellbeing, empowering ownership of risk and utilising technology to make compliance easy.