Why Is Maintaining Evacuation Equipment So Important?

Knowledge Hub / Planning, Equipment, Maintenance

  • Calendar Icon 22nd May 2023
  • Tags Icon Planning, Equipment, Maintenance

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At Evacu8, all our evacuation equipment is hand-picked to be the most reliable and durable on the market. However, no equipment is completely invincible.

Having a well-planned evacuation strategy is essential for any company. You must be confident in your ability to keep everyone in your building safe. Fire safety procedures and other evacuation strategies are a legal requirement. This includes ensuring there are adequate processes in place for those with mobility issues and disabilities.

These legal requirements don’t just involve providing the equipment. You need to ensure that it is in good working order too. It could be tempting to “get it and forget it”, by procuring your equipment and storing it somewhere in your building. But it’s important that your evacuation equipment is always kept in optimal condition. This way, you can have confidence they will function correctly should you ever need to use them.

We understand that when running a business, you’re spinning many plates at the same time. It can be easy to forget about your evacuation equipment once you have ticked it off your health and safety audit list.

However, if you neglect your equipment and don’t proactively ensure it remains in good condition, this can pose a serious hazard to your staff members, customers, and users of your building.

The importance of preventative maintenance

In essence, preventative maintenance means being proactive. It involves regularly scheduled maintenance checks, so you can catch anything that may turn into an issue in the future. Inspecting your evacuation equipment regularly allows you to fix failures before they have even happened.

Well-maintained equipment runs optimally. By keeping it in great condition, you also boost its efficiency. When it comes to evacuation equipment, this is crucial. Without regular evacuation equipment maintenance, you run the risk of your life-saving equipment not working as intended during a crisis. Therefore, preventative maintenance increases the reliability of your evacuation equipment.

Another thing to consider is that regular maintenance extends the lifespan of your evacuation equipment. The cost of regular maintenance is far less significant than the cost of a brand-new evacuation chair or stair climber.

Duty of care

You have a duty of care towards all members of staff, customers, and visitors to your premises. It’s your responsibility to ensure that everyone can leave your building safely in the event of an emergency, regardless of their physical or mental capabilities.

Safety training alone is not enough. If your staff members know how to operate an evacuation chair, but it is broken or not working optimally during crucial moments – then the chair is pointless.

Accidents, injuries, and fatalities in workplaces are devastating from a humanitarian standpoint. They are also very harmful to your overall workplace morale. Keeping your evacuation equipment well maintained shows your commitment to creating an inclusive and safe work environment for everybody.

How often should you service your evacuation equipment?

Both manual and powered evacuation chairs are a Class 1 Medical Device, and therefore fall under PUWER regulations. PUWER (Provision and Use of Works Equipment Regulations 1998) apply to workplaces such as hospitals, care homes, shops, offices, building sites, factories, and farms. Essentially, anywhere that work equipment is used. Under PUWER guidelines, your evacuation chairs need to be inspected annually.

Evacuation equipment that is powered (for example, stair climbers) fall under LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations). Powered evacuation equipment needs to be inspected every six months.

By following these guidelines, you ensure that you remain legally compliant, and your end users remain safe.

What does evacuation equipment maintenance involve?

When one of our engineers visits your site to carry out an evacuation chair maintenance service, they will:

  • Thoroughly inspect your evacuation device, using a comprehensive list to check every function of the chair.
  • Clean and lubricate parts, if necessary.
  • Check the tracks on evacuation chairs for drying and cracking.
  • Carry out a functional test of the chair on your building stairs.
  • They will then write an individual report for each of your evacuation chairs, including photos and advisory notes.
  • You will also receive a quick and easily understandable summarised audit for your personal records.
  • Our engineers also provide recommendations. For example, is your chair suitable for the staircases on site?

How can you keep track of your evacuation equipment maintenance?

As a business owner, there are so many different things you must keep track of. It can be very easy to accidentally let a few slip through the cracks. But there are several ways you can make sure that you remember to book in your evacuation equipment maintenance when it’s required.

Pen and paper

This is a relatively quick way to keep track of your maintenance schedule. However, there are drawbacks. It is a messy and somewhat unreliable method of maintaining a schedule. Writing by hand can be time consuming, and there is a risk that you might lose the piece of paper. If you are a manager, you’ll have to spend time chasing your employees and checking that the work has been completed.

Spreadsheets

A more efficient method than pen and paper. All your evacuation equipment maintenance information is kept in one place. However, you still need to manually fill out all the data. You’ll also find yourself in the same predicament as when you used pen and paper. You must still spend valuable time following up with your employees to ensure that they have booked in maintenance services when they are due.

Evacuation equipment maintenance contracts

This is the easiest and most efficient way to ensure your evacuation equipment is kept in good working order. There’s no need for you to spend time creating a spreadsheet or a written record of your maintenance schedule. Everything is done for you by a reputable company, and all you must do is agree on a day that is convenient for them to visit your site.

Evacu8 offers evacuation equipment maintenance contracts for up to a three-year period – with a fixed price for the duration of your term. Let us keep on top of the organisation and maintenance for you. All you’ll have to do is file your reports when you receive them from your account manager.

And that’s not all. For every 2 or 3 year evacuation maintenance contract, we will plant a tree with the Forest of Marston Vale to help the environment. Read more about our partnership with Forest of Marston Vale here. Not only are you making your life easier and freeing up more of your time to focus on your business. You’re also helping to mitigate the climate crisis.

Conclusion

Evacuation equipment maintenance is essential for creating a safe and inclusive working environment. It is crucial for preventing accidents and injuries in the event of an emergency.

By implementing a regular preventative maintenance schedule, you can catch potential issues before they become problems, extend the lifespan of your equipment, and increase its reliability. It also ensures compliance with PUWER and LOLER guidelines.

Keeping track of maintenance schedules could be done manually by pen and paper or spreadsheets, but the easiest and most efficient way is through Evacu8’s maintenance contracts.

Want to ensure the wellbeing of your staff members, customers, and any visitors to your building? We’d love to help you. Contact us today.

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