Specialist insurance broker urges food industry to be proactive in reducing workplace fire risk
Insurance broker Arthur J. Gallagher is urging the food industry to take practical, proactive steps to lower their risk of a workplace fire following the publication of 14 new core requirements by the Fire Protection Association (FPA).
Garry Moseley, who leads Arthur J. Gallagher’s specialist Food and Drink Practice, explains that effective fire prevention is not only an intrinsically important management issue but also a critical one for firms to demonstrate to insurance companies: “Firms that can demonstrate they have taken all conceivable steps to implement a loss prevention and business recovery programme — one which proactively manages, mitigates and minimises fire risk in the workplace — will differentiate themselves and help insurers to take a more favourable underwriting stance.”
The FPA recommendations highlight 14 core areas where companies can take action to prevent fires in its white paper ‘Food for Thought’ — for example, protection against arson; strict control of hot work permits; regular maintenance of electrical and lighting systems; effective waste management; heightened premises security; and the implementation of strict smoking policies.
Howard Passey, Principal Consultant at the FPA, said: “The Fire Protection Association has been working closely with the insurance industry and the food manufacturing industry for a number of years. Our experience has shown that through taking action in key areas the risk of fire can be reduced. We would always recommend seeking advice from your insurer and a fire safety expert before acting.”
Garry continues: “Fire and the consequential interruption to production continues to be a major risk for industry and, with the losses resulting from a variety of different causes, the challenge is to adopt and maintain a proactive approach to mitigating fire risks. Fire safety legislation that came into being in October 2006 for England and Wales firmly places the onus on employers to be compliant with the Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) Order 2005 and emphasises this point.
“Identifying and analysing conditions that could result in property damage is a key area where employers can help themselves.
Assessing the fire initiation and fire spread potential are crucial areas for organisations, as well as ensuring safety and control devices and equipment are maintained and operating procedures installed. Communication failure, loss of administrative function, the costs of rebuild and the time it will take to build the business back up are all key considerations that should be included in a company’s action plan.”
Garry concluded: “There are so many different elements that should be included in a loss prevention and business recovery programme, and proving that all these have been actively considered will carry a positive significance for an underwriter assessing fire risk in your company.”