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Emergency exit

Welders, Fire Exits and Stilettos

It’s funny how a discussion about welding can lead to a discussion about stilettos and grass!

I often attend the Midlands Branch, East District IOSH meetings as part of my continuing CPD and with Fire Risk Assessments on the bill for the January meeting it seemed a good one to pop along to. It’s always interesting to hear an experts view point on something and there is always a little nugget of info that you can take away with you. This meeting was no exception, I had my ‘nugget’ but was unsure how I was going to spread the word to the world at large about it……..

The Fire Risk Assessment Speaker had a lot of photos, one of which was the ‘grass area’ immediately behind the factory, onto which the fire exit door opened. This ‘grass area’ looked like a lot of ‘grass areas’ behind factories I’ve seen before. It was generally over grown, the grass was a bit long, and there were some brambles and rubbish. Fairly easily you could make a path to the other end, but not sure that you would want to be busy hacking through long grass and brambles in the event of a fire.

Meeting for a coffee with a few Banbury Business Networkers the day after to discuss welding, I realised how important my nugget was and how it ties into our everyday life whether at work or at a wedding.

We got onto the topic of tagging businesses in the Banbury Business Network Group on Facebook and how this can be beneficial for all involved. We discussed cakes, non-slip decking and shoes, but not necessarily in that order.

I love a good wedding and usually choose my shoes months before I’ve even thought about the dress I’m going to wear, but I have to admit I have graduated to wedges for a number of reasons:

  1. I like dancing and it makes my feet hurt the whole of the next day if I go dancing in stilettos
  2. The photographer always seems to think that it’s a good idea to get everyone on the grass to take a photo – don’t they know that stilettos and grass don’t mix!
  3. Gravel, decking and cobble stones……..need I say more Ladies.

After I had imparted my thoughts on shoes at weddings, one of my fellow Banbury Business Networkers was in total agreement, whilst the other two were more than a little confused at the ‘stilettos and grass’ demonstration.

The ‘nugget’ from the Fire Risk Assessment speaker was one that had not crossed my mind, but then I am in the business of helping you to make workplaces safe for people to work in.

If you’re undertaking a fire drill and someone exits the factory through the fire exit door into the over grown grass area and trips up, what then? They might sue you!


In the grand scheme of things, it’s not overly important whether the driving force behind cutting the brambles down is because you need to have a clear fire exit route or in case someone trips and sues you, as long as there is a clear fire exit route so people can escape in the event of a fire. However, in the long run, making changes to your business premises or working practices on the basis of improving safety and the safety culture of your business is a far better way forward and considerably more sustainable.

You see your business every day, you put your heart and soul into the development and running of the business, you need to get things done to satisfy customers and clients, but you also need to ensure that you are working in an environment that is safe for you, your employees, your clients and your customers.

So tomorrow when you go to work, be it the garage at the bottom of the garden, the golf club, the beauty salon or the factory on the industrial estate, take a moment to look at it through the eyes of an employee or customer. Think about whether your fire exit route is clear from debris, how long have you been tripping over the lead between the printer on the desk and the wall, are all the stair treads secured and the myriad of every day obstacles we over look because ‘we’re too busy’ working.

Thanks for reading

Amy Jackson

Banburyshire Info Business editor. Drake Lapthorn Owner

Website: www.drakelapthorn.co.uk


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