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WDMoores  
#1 Posted : 30 January 2020 21:01:13(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
WDMoores

I am looking for some advise please.  i look after the health & Safety for a number of charity shops so we have alot of volunteers over the retirement age. 

One of our shops is small so the sorting room, office and toilet is in the basement. The only way into the basement is down a wooden enclosed spiral stirecase, and this is also the only way out. I am concerned if there was a fire downstairs or even in the shop then if some of the volunteers who has an injury or uses a walking aid would not be able to evacuate the shop quick enough. i am not sure we can make any reasonable adjstments as its a rented building, small so unable to change layout.

I made a decision that if they require a walking aid or have any knee, hip or leg injuries they are to work in the shop and not to go down stair. is this OK?

peter gotch  
#2 Posted : 31 January 2020 11:47:42(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

W - how would such a blanket policy sit with the ethos of the charity?

SBH  
#3 Posted : 31 January 2020 11:54:32(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
SBH

So do customers have to go up the staircase to get to the shop? Hmmm

SBH

chris42  
#4 Posted : 31 January 2020 12:03:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

So, do they have access to another toilet if they are not allowed to use the one downstairs?

Have you actually tested how quickly they could get out?

Is the shop likely to spontaneously combust?

What are the real risks?

When they use the stairs now, do they actually use their stick or just the handrail?

Are the people it affects bothered by your decision?

Lots of things to consider

Chris

Roundtuit  
#5 Posted : 31 January 2020 13:20:15(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

and those who are deaf and cannot hear the shouts of fire, or those with poor eye-sight, or those with chest complaints/breathing difficulties your observations and control is unfortunately over simplistic for a scenario where the general public are involved

When you start weighing all the others for whom adjustment should be made your control is actually to change premises

jwk  
#6 Posted : 31 January 2020 13:45:38(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
jwk

Hi there WD, I've worked for three large Charities with big charity shop chains (350 to 450 shops) and I have to say I recognise the picture you paint.

I'd be concerned about having a wooden staircase to my basement to be honest, unless it is fire protected and kept clear of bags of donations and the like. It might mean that even able bodied workers could end up trapped.

Do you have a budget to pay for professional advice? You need a proper fire safety risk assessment here, because you have a number of issues that aren't easy to solve... If you have any contacts with one of the bigger charities they might be able to help with expertise...

It sounds to me like moving may be your best option, but try and get a professional fire risk assessment if you can, that might help,

John

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