Evacuation chair training – a legal requirement?

evacchairThe Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 recognises the importance to ensure all occupants, including occupants with disabilities, have reasonable access throughout a building, and places duties on all those that provide services to the public to make changes for disabled access where needed. These adjustments need to ensure that no person is at a disadvantage and requires the responsible person to provide a means of escape for everyone, including those with a disability.

In an emergency, lifts can usually not be used for evacuation, so stairs become the main escape route from the premises. For physically disabled people this can be a problem. In this situation evacuation chairs have to be considered in your evacuation planning. They offer safe evacuation for any people unable to use stairs. For evacuation to lower floor levels the chairs are usually operated by just one person. However, there are a range of evacuation chairs available, including chairs for evacuation to higher floors, on the market and Safelincs, as an approved partner of evacuation chairs from UK manufacturer Evac+Chair, is able to provide all of these. Please visit our website to see the full range of Evac+Chair models and accessories available.

Once you have chosen an evacuation chair as part of your escape route plan, do you need to provide training for your employees? According to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, equipment provided for use at work needs to be “used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training.” This means that the employer, building owner, or the responsible person is to ensure all appointed employees (those responsible to use equipment in an emergency) receive adequate training as to the correct use of the equipment. By simply installing evacuation equipment alone you have not necessarily satisfied your requirements as the responsible person.

Should you have to renew your fire risk assessment, checks will normally be carried out as to whether training has been given for all the fire safety equipment located in the workplace. If an evacuation chair has been installed but no training has been provided for your employees, this would be seen as a  non-compliance and risk by the assessor.

When choosing an evacuation chair training course, ensure your employees receive comprehensive theoretical and practical training from a fully qualified and experienced trainer. At Safelincs, we offer nationwide on-site evacuation chair training, suitable for up to 6 participants per course and completed on a time and date to suit you. For more information regarding our evacuation chair training, please visit: https://www.safelincs.co.uk/evacuation-chair-training/ or call our friendly customer services team on 0800 612 6537.

References:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/50/contents
http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/puwer.htm

Information about Evac+Chairs

The Evac+Chair is the original and the world’s leading evacuation chair, designed to allow people who are mobility impaired to be moved out of a building should the normal lifts be out of action or cannot be used due to a fire. The evacuation in such a situation must then be along the  staircases and evacuation chairs allow this without the need for lifting or great physical strength.

The Evac+Chair can be used in all non-domestic and commercial buildings to assist organisations in complying with health and safety regulations.

It is no longer the responsibility of the Fire and Rescue Service to evacuate persons from a building, and businesses should not rely on their intervention. In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 reiterates key elements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which places a legal duty on those with ‘responsibility’ over the management and operation of premises to provide adequate means for emergency escape in the event of a fire for all building occupants – and not just their employees.

Evac+Chairs are used in a wide range of sectors including:

  • Leisure and Tourism
  • Education
  • Business
  • Retail
  • Hotels
  • Council Buildings
  • Healthcare
  • Finance

A responsible approach to safely evacuating those with mobility problems requires internal training, which incorporates ensuring Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) are established and regularly reviewed in order to make certain occupants are as familiar as possible with the procedure to follow in the event of an emergency.

The standard Evac+Chair 300H has now been replaced with a new Mark 4 edition, which has a payload of 182kg, an increase of over 30kg on the earlier model. We can also offer a brand new chair, the 440 which has the capacity to hold an individual weighing 200kg.  The new chair includes a foot rest, which doubles up as a support handle when the chair is used in the 2-person operation mode. We can also supply a variety of evacuation aids and accessories, including evacuation sheets and sledges and evacuation cots.

We provide essential training in how to use our evacuation chairs, as well as the correct procedures to follow. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not enough – we tailor each session to the specific range of risks presented by each customer. Evac+Chair Key Trainer classes provide a high level of training for ‘key trainers’. An employee who receives the Key Trainer training can then competently train other employees. This makes it a useful and cost-effective method of training large numbers of staff within organisations, particularly for large or multi-site operations. Key trainer certification is valid for 3 years, after which re-assessment is recommended.

Hand-in-hand with robust training techniques is the need to ensure the equipment is regularly serviced to guarantee it can be operated in the event of an emergency. As a Class 1 Medical Device, an Evac+Chair should be regularly serviced and maintained to ensure its safe operation. This requirement is included within the PUWER (Provision of Use of Work Equipment) Regulation. To help clients meet this legal requirement, we offer an annual service contract. In addition to an annual service, the contract also includes one additional site inspection per year and a 12-point visual check.  An optional installation service is also available.

The Evac+Chair is classified within the EU as a ‘medical device’ and therefore conforms to the provisions of the Medical Devices Directive, 93/42/EEC (2002) which requires all such devices to carry the CE mark.

Safelincs supply these quality evacuation chairs and related training and are experts in responsible evacuation planning.