The national retailer has a chain of stores across the UK and a longstanding relationship with Fire Safety Services dating back more than a decade.
“Fire Safety Services offer us a quality single company solution to fire safety across our network of 105 stores.
We have a single point of contact that provides a first class account managed service.
We are an ethical business and Fire Safety Services are a like-minded business that aligns with our own company values.”
Sarah Scott – Facilities Team Manager – Lush
Lush is well known for its fizzing bath bombs and fragrant, handmade cosmetics. The national retailer has a chain of stores across the UK and a longstanding relationship with Fire Safety Services dating back more than a decade.
Retail sector expertise
Retail is one of many sectors in which we have extensive experience. The years we’ve spent operating in the sector means we understand the customer’s business and any operational restrictions or expectations they may have. Retail business owners oversee and manage countless tasks every day. The safety of their premises and of every customer who walks through the door is one of their top priorities; not surprising when you consider the sizeable fine imposed on retailer New Look following a major fire at their Oxford Street store in 2007.
A retail space presents many potential fire safety hazards to the public and employees so it’s vital that you, as a retailer, comply with health and safety legislation. Fire hazards must be checked frequently; small, seemingly inconsequential things that we see each day such as wires from lighting or computers and blocked fire exits are, in fact, major fire hazards.
Our first step would be to carry out a fire risk assessment, which identifies all potential hazards and describes the precautions that must be taken to eliminate or reduce the hazard to an acceptable minimum.
How we worked with Lush
Of its UK stores, many are in business shopping centres. Lush needed us to commit to quick response times and flexibility when accessing these stores and given our experience in the retail sector, we were able to guarantee this wouldn’t be a problem.
Our consistent reliability and quality of service over the last ten years means we are Lush’s sole fire safety services supplier across 105 UK sites. We carry out all their fire risk assessments and take care of the maintenance for all fire alarms, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers. We also regularly manage fire safety installations and conduct fire safety surveys when Lush opens new stores.
We’re proud of the relationship we’ve built with Lush but that doesn’t mean we take anything for granted. Ten years on, we’re still committed to proving to Lush that they’ve made the right decision in choosing Fire Safety Services.
Retail fire hazards
Retail owners are responsible for a countless number of daily tasks including sales, staff, stock, customers, premises and safety of everyone who passes through the door.
As a retailer, you know it’s important to ensure that your retail space is a safe environment for both customers to shop and employees to work; therefore you need to ensure you comply with health & safety legislation. There are a number of ways a workplace can become unsafe, including poor attention to detail or inconsistent floor checks, that may lead to injury and even fire, therefore your retail store is only as safe as you keep it.
Fire hazards need to be checked frequently and you must be continually vigilant of any risks. Factors such as exposed wire from lighting or computers, open flames in a store display, improper chemical storage and blocked fire exits are major fire hazards that could harm both employees and customers.
Fire Risk Assessment in the retail environment
To ensure you are compliant with fire safety legislation you must carry out a Fire Risk Assessment (which needs to be in writing if there are 5 or more employees or the premises are licensed). This will identify the potential fire hazards, indicate what precautions are taken or are needed to remove or reduce the hazard to a minimum. For example, have all your portable appliances been portable appliance tested in line with regulations?
Fire Extinguishers in the retail environment
In order to ensure you’re prepared for any fires that may arise, always keep fire extinguishers in your store and make sure all employees are trained in how to use them. Ensure you have your annual routine fire extinguisher inspections in place to verify that they function properly. Fire Extinguisher maintenance needs to be carried out in accordance with BS5306. For more information on fire extinguisher service and maintenance click here.
Portable Appliance testing requirements in the retail environment
PAT testing is required by employers to ensure safety of portable appliances. However, in a retail environment you must take into consideration members of the public visiting your store.
With this in mind, it is advisable to ensure you have a regime in place with staff members to ensure that they report any electrical items that are damaged and have a system in place to remedy.
Through experience of working in these environments we know that ‘daisy chaining’ (multiple extension leads connected together) can be a real issue. Under tills we often see that there is one or two extension leads connected together, each connecting tills, printers, PCs, Audio systems etc, causing the electrical sockets to overload, presenting a real fire risk.
For more information on portable appliance testing in the retail environment click here.
Our Top 10 fire safety tips for retailers:
1. Maintain and Test
To create a good safety culture, regular tests of the fire safety systems and equipment is essential and should be implemented and recorded.
2. Fire Extinguishers
Ensure these are securely fitted to the walls. Where they are fitted to plasterboard walls they can easily work loose and could fall off and hurt someone. If they are loose they should be refitted with a backboard or placed in a floor stand.
3. Automatic Detection / Sprinkler Heads
Avoid storing stock too close to these as they will not work as designed. A minimum space of 45cm /18 inches should exist between the top box and the head.
4. Escape Routes
These can become temporarily blocked during deliveries. Once the delivery is finished clear the exit routes and move stock to the appropriate area/room.
5. Final Fire Exits
Check every day that the doors can open freely and any obstructions removed – a fire exit keep clear sign should be displayed on the outer face of the door.
6. Fire Drills
Ensure all staff (including temporary and seasonal staff) are fully aware of the fire evacuation plan and that they are involved in at least one fire drill per year.
7. Stock Rooms
Remove any empty boxes and other combustible items and ensure stock is not stacked too close to heat sources such as lighting or heaters.
8. Electrical Intake Cupboards
Remember these are not store cupboards! Regular checks should be made to ensure they are kept clear and locked shut.
Where toasters are used make sure they are regularly cleaned out of crumbs and are kept away from notice boards and other paperwork. Whilst in use they should not be left unattended.
10. A Retailers Dream
A crowded sales area! If customers are struggling to use the space and are queuing to use the stairs you probably have too many people in the store to safely evacuate. Customer safety is your responsibility whilst they are in your building so good fire safety management is paramount.
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