Ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals during an emergency evacuation is of utmost importance for businesses and organisations. Evacuation chairs play a significant role in providing a means of escape for individuals with mobility impairments. In this guide, we will explore the legislation, regulations and requirements surrounding evacuation chairs to help you understand their role and ensure compliance with key legal obligations.
Are evacuation chairs a legal requirement?
Evacuation chairs are not explicitly mandated as a legal requirement in the UK. However, legislation places the responsibility on building owners, operators, or tenants to provide means of escape for everyone using their buildings. This includes individuals with disabilities or mobility issues.
While evacuation chairs are not specifically mentioned in the legislation, they are often considered an effective and practical solution for safely evacuating individuals with mobility impairments, especially in multi-story buildings or locations with limited accessibility.
As a person responsible for business premises, you have an obligation to your staff and the people who use your building, to ensure there are adequate fire precautions in place. This includes having suitable risk assessments and emergency evacuation equipment in place.
Have you planned your escape route?
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a responsible person must carry out a Fire Risk Assessment on the building as part of the compliance and identify all appropriate escape routes for use in an emergency. Under this legislation, once you have purchased an evacuation chair, there is a duty to instruct staff on how to use it safely.
Have you made sure people can escape safely, even at night if necessary?
In order to meet legal requirements and regulations, building owners, operators, or tenants must provide means of escape for everyone using their buildings. This means having the correct safety equipment in place, ensuring all emergency exits are clearly identified and emergency lighting is installed to aid escape in the dark or during a power failure. Evacuation chairs have emerged as one of the most effective and safest solutions for evacuating individuals, both for the user and the operator.
Does all of your safety equipment work?
There is no point in having safety equipment if it is not in full working order. All equipment, including evacuation chairs, should be properly maintained and regularly checked and serviced by approved contractors. Regular maintenance intervals should be recorded to comply with evacuation chair regulations outlined in RRO & BS9999 and PUWER standards.
Will people know what to do and how to use the equipment?
Ensure that all your members of staff are fully aware of the evacuation procedures and the designated people are fully trained on how to use evacuation chairs and other safety equipment. Refresher courses and practice sessions should be held on a regular basis.
How does legislation impact your business?
Legislation plays a vital role in shaping how businesses operate and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of employees and customers. Understanding the impact of various regulations is crucial for business owners and managers to maintain compliance and create a secure working environment. Here are some key pieces of legislation that directly influences business operations, safety measures and the use of evacuation chairs.
Fire Regulations – Regulatory Reform
Article 4 of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (general fire precautions). All employers and building owners must carry out fire risk assessments.
Provides guidance and measures that enable disabled people to be assisted to safety in the event of a fire.
PUWER – Fit for Purpose Regulations
Work equipment must be adequately maintained and used by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training.
This sets out a new offence for convicting an organisation where a gross failure in the way activities were managed or organised resulted in a person’s death.
Regulation 5 of manual handling regulations require employees to make full and proper use of safe work systems introduced by their employer to reduce injury risks from manual handling.
Part B places the requirement upon the building owner to ensure compliance with full protection measures. Part M covers the requirement with respect to access to and use of buildings.
Health & Safety at Work Act: 1974
Employers must protect the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees as far as is reasonably practicable.
Equality Act 2010
Adjustments must be made to ensure that a disabled person is not put at a substantial disadvantage compared to persons who are not disabled,
Places of employment, schools, clubs, shops, offices and public buildings must provide adequate access and egress facilities for all persons with disabilities who may enter or exit a building.
An employer can be deemed liable for the action of another, i.e an employee or a third party, and any subsequent accident at work.