By Bill Adamopoulos, national accounts group sales manager at Wormald
As more manufacturers undertake rationalisation programs and centralise procurement services, the conversation around fire protection for the manufacturing sector is changing.
Manufacturers want to minimise inconsistencies across sites and capitalise on the economies of scale associated with using one national fire protection provider. As a result the management of fire safety processes and systems is shifting from the plant manager to category managers and procurement personnel.
How do you establish clear parameters and systems for the management of fire safety?
Generally under Work Healthy and Safety (WHS) legislation, officers must ensure that the business meets its WHS obligations and can be held personally liable for failing to do so, so it is important to ascertain who is responsible for what and implement consistent and rigorous systems.
To assist with standardising fire protection across the board, and manage legislative, regulatory and insurance requirements, manufacturers are wise to engage and outsource fire protection planning, installation and servicing to a reputable provider.
Here are a few tips for choosing a fire protection provider and effectively managing the relationship:
- Ensure the provider offers adequate and convenient support, both online and face-to-face. A provider’s back of house operations should be streamlined to facilitate easy communication and reporting and avoid administrative frustrations.
- Communicate with your fire protection provider often and thoroughly, including details of operational changes. This can help to minimise the risk of overlooking an important legislative, regulatory or insurance requirement. For example, fire protection providers should be advised of changes to the size and layout of the site, number of staff or manufacturing process.
- Always work with a reputable fire protection provider. The Fire Protection Association of Australia’s Providers of Choice are bound by a stringent Code of Practice and are required to hold a minimum of $10 million public and product liability insurance. They are also required to hold all necessary state or federal licences or certification as may be specified, and to be suitably qualified in all practicing activities.
- Appointing a national provider can help to streamline fire safety and minimise inconsistencies. Consider where the provider is located in relation to your operations and its ability to service all sites.