Keeping Clients Safe in the Serviced Office Environment
We should all be familiar with the requirements of Health and Safety at Work legislation especially as high-profile failings, mainly by employers or building owners, get a regular airing in the media.
So, given the generally transient nature of occupants in serviced offices, it is incumbent on owners or managers of such facilities to adopt extra measures to ensure the safety of everyone at all times. Regular review of policies and procedures is, therefore, vital to ensure they continue to meet requirements, not least because any failings could invalidate key insurances for both clients and landlords.
Offpro Ltd, as a service provider, takes its responsibilities for safety very seriously and also actively supports its clients to ensure they are compliant as failings by either could put lives and businesses at risk.
We have outlined below the principal actions we take to ensure that our environment is as safe as possible. While fire safety is our primary concern as, arguably, it has the greatest potential impact on our occupants and their businesses, we also work closely with our clients on other aspects, such as provision of qualified first-aiders.
We take direct responsibility for the following tasks:
i) Arranging an annual site Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) covering common areas within the centre, e.g. corridors, kitchens, washrooms, etc.
ii) Developing and maintaining an Emergency Evacuation Procedure
iii) Arranging annual Fire Warden training and a periodic practical session on fire extinguisher use, through our Health and Safety Consultant
iv) Arranging annual service contracts for portable fire extinguishers and the fixed fire alarm system, including call point alarms, detectors and sounders
v) Weekly testing of the fire alarm system and a six-monthly, unannounced fire drill to test familiarity with the Emergency Evacuation Procedure
vi) Arranging annual ‘Emergency First-aid at Work’ courses with the aim of having around 20 qualified first-aiders to ensure there is always at least one available during the working day
vii) Arranging a maintenance contract for our extensive Emergency Lighting units which ensures regular checking and an annual extended battery test
We also actively support all our client organisations with their responsibilities:
a) Carrying out an annual FRA of their own office(s) and their escape routes and copying this to the Landlord as evidence of compliance
b) Nominating a Fire Warden, who acts as the principal client contact for health and safety matters
c) Ensuring Fire Wardens train all colleagues on the requirements of the Emergency Evacuation Procedure so the role is covered when the nominated Fire Warden is absent
We have found that, increasingly, potential and existing clients ask for evidence of our approach to this and other topics, such as energy conservation.
Clearly, therefore, compliance can be a useful tool to help with the process of winning new clients and, indeed, the ongoing retention of existing clients.