24 November 2016
Failed building lock-up checks creating health and safety nightmare
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SmartTask allow NFC tags to be placed at key points, which are then scanned by the member of staff using an enabled Android smartphone
There are serious health and safety consequences of missed or inadequate lock-up checks in highly-populated public buildings and retail stores according to Paul Ridden, Managing Director of Skillweb. Building and property managers need to have stringent processes in place to ensure that inspections of all facilities – including toilets, changing rooms and play areas – take place and the risk of an ill or vulnerable person becoming trapped inside is minimised.
“Anyone responsible for a building has strict health and safety and duty of care commitments to visitors,” explains Ridden. “All public buildings and retail stores will have something in place for lock-up checks, but how do you ensure the correct procedures are being followed, especially if you are responsible for many properties? Without any historical evidence of checks taking place, there is no way of actually investigating an incident or even testing the robustness of the measures that are in place.”
Recent high-profile incidents that have been reported in the local and national press, highlight the real danger of members of the public becoming locked in a building after closing time and the dangers they subsequently face. Such a situation will not only cause considerable distress to those involved, but also increase the risk of injury or even loss of life, especially if someone has fallen ill and not been found. In addition, a company could face financial penalties if found to be in breach of health and safety laws, as well reputational damage resulting from any negative publicity.
Ridden goes onto say: “What is needed is a cost-effective solution that records actual checks as they are completed. This would monitor in real-time that staff have visited all at risk areas following closing time and trigger an alert if checks have not been completed to plan. Accurate performance management information can also then be collated to allow regular reviews of pre-lockup checks to confirm everything is working to plan.”
The latest mobile workforce management apps, such as SmartTask, allow NFC tags to be placed at key points (such as toilet cubicles), which are then scanned by the member of staff using an enabled Android smartphone. Therefore, the health and safety team can be sure that planned checks are taking place and management information is being gathered electronically. A web portal will then provide everything needed to complete regular reviews of store compliance, identify poor performing stores and put in place a plan of continued improvement.
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