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Friday, 1 November 2002

Not so Towering Inferno [spiro]

The broadcasting union BECTU has called on broadcaster and studio staff to implement additional fire risk assessments in preparation of the proposed fire service strikes to avoid studio shows being cancelled.

Studios will have to rely on their own fire safety staff in the event of strike action.

Now a few of the larger studios like BBC and Granada have fire safety staff (who generally are ex-firemen) who can deal with small fire or at least organise the evacuation of the building. But i'm sure that there are several studios like my workplace that don't have members of staff who can organise this sort of operation.

Management here have always in the past organised some sort of fire drill, about once every 6 months and we've had signs and maps up directing you to your nearest fire exit. Fire extinguishers could be located in all technical areas, and you were generally only a few paces from the nearest one.

About 6 months ago we started renovating the building to create a nice working atmosphere and to make the place generally more desirable to come to. All good as far as i'm concerned, not only do I get a nice new work place, but hopefully it will attract more external clients.

Having read the statement from BECTU I started to look around for the extinguishers, exit signs and route maps. I could find none, now I can't remember how long we've been working without these health and safety basics, but its been a while. The building has changed, not massively but it is different and one or two of my exits are blocked at the moment.

I'm absolutely furious, not only with my management, but also with staff members who deal with health and safety. I'm sure that should a fire occure then I would be able to find my way out within a few minutes, but this isn't the point. Just because things are changing doesn't mean they can lay off till its finished and then provide all the essentials. If anything, they should be more aware and provide us with up to date details of exit routes and extinguisher locations.

I mentioned this to the staff health and safety officer and he said he was going to deal with it. I've now been provided with extinguishers and exit signs and given a promise that it'll be updated as the work goes on. But should it of come down to a member of staff have to request the information and equipment ? I don't think so, especially in light of the possible fire service strikes in the next few weeks.

I'm glad to see things are being done, but we shall have to wait and see if they continue to be delt with as things progress. Anyway, whinge over, no roast dragon in the near future .......hopefully :-)

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