Ensuring emergency planning compliance requires teamwork, and everyone in the facility has a role to play in preparing their site for any emergency. While facility managers are ultimately responsible for the safety of their site, tenants and general occupants also have an obligation to ensure their tenancy’s compliance with workplace safety laws. However, getting all these parties to work together towards having an effective emergency plan is not easy.
One major hindrance is the lack of a close collaboration between facility managers and tenants. Each business is unique, and each tenant has different safety requirements and priorities. However, regardless of who the tenant is, workplace safety is still both an ethical and a legal obligation that all businesses must comply with. Facility managers are then faced with the challenge of engaging their tenants on workplace safety, with consideration to individual tenant’s needs.
Here are surefire effective ways on how to raise tenant’s engagement in workplace safety:
Actively collaborate with tenants about the application of emergency procedures and their compliance obligations.
One factor that could have caused people’s lax attitude towards emergency planning is the lack of information about their compliance obligations. The goal of these safety laws is simple: to ensure that everyone will have an emergency or contingency plan in case of accidents or emergencies, and to hold building and business owners and managers responsible for safety during an emergency. Loss of life and damage to property are two of the most devastating results of an emergency situation. Mitigating these risks can only be done by proper foresight and planning on the part of those involved – the building owners and tenants.
In order to ensure that there will be a smooth flow of applied emergency procedures, it is recommended that both the building management and its tenants adopt an open communication and information flow. This way, the potential of combined risks can be successfully minimised and mitigated.
Because of the strict implementation of safety regulations, violators – tenants and building management alike – could very well be meted out with penalties. Before the emergency plan is laid out, therefore, those in charge of designing it should ensure that all plans, procedures and diagrams complement each other.
Reiterate to tenants the importance of occupant training.
A demonstration that all tenants are compliant, or are active in the process of becoming compliant, is required under the regulations. Among these emergency planning requirements are the following:
- Evacuation Routes
- Exit Doors
- Fire/Smoke Doors and Walls
- Evacuation Signs/ Diagrams
- Evacuation Signs – Accommodation Units
- Exit Signs/ Emergency Lighting
- Fire Extinguishers
- Fire Hose Reels
- Fire Detection and Alarm System
- Sprinkler System
- Evacuation System
Of course, a number of these elements are only useful if the occupants of the building are properly aware of it. Hence, training is just as crucial as having the plan in place. The regulations also reiterate the need for the building owners to make sure that the building is not overcrowded. The population headcount must be sufficient enough to be accommodated by the floor space. Otherwise, if this factor is not taken into account, the emergency plan may fail because there are too many people inside, and there are not enough fire exits and equipment for all of them to get to safety as quickly as possible.
It is not just the building owners who are to be held accountable for the safety of the occupants. Tenants themselves also have emergency planning responsibilities to uphold. Because they are the ones using the units in the building, they naturally become the immediate authority responsible for their unit and respective team in it.
It is important to note that legislative requirements relating to emergency planning vary from state to state. In Queensland for example, tenants that employ in excess of 30 staff are required to have a designated Fire Safety Adviser, according to the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008. As per the QFRS, in multiple tenanted buildings, such as shopping complexes, an FSA must be “appointed for the whole building in consultation with tenants and managing entity if there are common areas… common passageways or stairs even if the managing entity does not employ 30 or more workers in the building.” Individual tenants, on the other hand, also have the option to make their own appointment of an FSA. What is most crucial in appointing an FSA, however, is that they should have completed training on the eight competencies required “within the three previous years”.
The QFRS also takes note of the Tenant safety procedures compliance requirements. Each secondary occupier or tenant needs to demonstrate and show evidence of:
- Tenancy Specific Evacuation Diagrams in relation to the individual tenancy
- Tenancy Specific Documented evacuation procedures and plan
- Tenancy Specific on and offsite training records
- Annual occupiers statement detailing service history for all tenancy specific fire safety installations
- All of the above must meet Regulatory fire safety requirements.
Use a tool that can make compliance easier and more achievable for your tenants.
Facility management technology has improved significantly over the years. These technologies make it easier for facility managers to oversee building maintenance and meet the needs of tenants.
Now, there is also a tool that will make emergency planning easier and more achievable. You can use EvacConnect to manage facility compliance, from setting up locations to empowering users to participate in the compliance process. The tool allows Tenant Responsible Persons (TRPs) to nominate wardens and run compliance reports for their tenancy, so they are made aware of their compliance gaps in just a few taps. Wardens can also update their own details or resign from their warden role using EvacConnect.
At EvacServices, we are one with the government in keeping residents and building tenants safe in times of calamities or disasters and are therefore ready to impart our expert knowledge with those who need it.
Do you want to know your emergency planning compliance obligations? Take our FREE survey to identify your compliance gaps. Upon receiving the results, you can also consult with our experts to help you get started on meeting relevant legislative requirements.