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  We aren't going to list them all here, but there are some pretty sobering statistics available showing the number of fires, casualties and fatalities in business premises over the past ten years. Yes, we know. You’d prefer to be thinking about more cheerful things - particularly at this time of year. But this week (8th – 14th December) it’s actually UK Business Safety Week 2014.  Its purpose is to encourage you to take some time to reflect on the safety of your business, particularly fire risk management and assessment and your business continuity plans. It’s a time when many businesses have additional fire risks for various reasons including an increase in less experienced seasonal employees or because they’re holding larger amounts of stock than usual. rr It’s estimated that 80% of businesses never reopen after a significant fire. There’s a far greater chance of recovery if the risks have been identified beforehand. It reduces the chances of a fire in the first place of course but it also helps considerably to mitigate the impact should the worst happen.   5d8e3047-5315-47d8-b61e-987c89052d24 Of course, business safety isn't just about fire. Winter brings some additional challenges for companies. This time last year the weather was making life really tough for everyone, not just businesses. Thousands of people lost power before Christmas and some didn't get it back for days. Flooding became a major issue for the UK with numerous businesses affected. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So what can you do?

  • Look out for local UK Business Safety Week events in your area. A number of bodies are involved including the Chief Fire Officers Association as well as theFire Protection Association, BAFE (the independent organisation for British Approvals for Fire Equipment certification) and the Fire Industry Association.
  • Visit your local fire ad rescue service's website where you will find comprehensive advice about identifying and minimising fire risks.
  • Think about your company’s key products and services. What are the critical activities and resources you need to deliver them – and what are the associated risks? How will you maintain these critical activities and resources in the event of an incident whether it’s fire, flooding or any other type of unplanned disruption.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Think too about your company’s administration infrastructure. - Have you planned how to protect your files and equipment and can you easily move key data (paper and electronic records) out of harm’s way? -Do you have access to an alternative power source and internet connection so you can communicate with customers to let them know what’s happened? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ A final consideration. At any time of year drivers on company business must take care, but it is worth reminding employees of the particular risks of winter driving. Remind them that safety comes first – something that can slip to the back of the mind when trying to get through bad weather to attend a meeting or make a delivery. There is some useful advice from the AA which you may want to think about sharing with your drivers. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to remind all employees about the additional dangers of winter driving. So take the opportunity to do some planning now. And that will mean the only thing you’ll have to worry about over Christmas is how many pairs of your trousers you’re likely to fit into come January. Or is that just us? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

We wish you a very happy and safe Christmas.