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Fire Service Warns Of Risks To Cleaners

Fire Service Warns Of Risks To Cleaners

Supermarket owners and employers of cleaners could be putting cleaners lives at risk, a senior Fire Service official warns.

This follows a case in which cleaning staff were trapped inside a supermarket after it was set alight by two teenage arsonists, who set fire to packaging and other materials stacked against a wall behind the supermarket.

Fire Service fire safety manager Gary Talbot says while the blame for the fire was clearly that of the teenagers, the supermarket owners and the employers of the cleaners might also be guilty of endangering the cleaners lives by possibly not complying with fire safety and health and safety regulations.

The regulations require owners of buildings to ensure that people can get out of a building and that flammable materials and waste are not stored so they create a fire hazard.

Employers are also required to ensure there are procedures in place to deal with emergencies including fire, and that staff are adequately trained in these procedures.

Recent research suggests the cost of deliberately lit fires accounted for between 26% and 35% of the total cost of all fires in New Zealand, says Gary.

He urges building owners and occupiers of schools and other public buildings to be extra vigilant over the holidays.

Ensure buildings are closed up for the traditional Christmas holidays and New Year celebrations so potential fire hazards are not created and buildings are safe from unwanted entry. It is also important that staff who need to enter buildings over the break can escape quickly in an emergency if they have to.


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