44% of firms ‘don’t have correct emergency lighting’

SOME 44 per cent of firms in England don’t have the correct emergency lighting, a survey has shown.

Maintenance is also often singled out as an issue. Building owners tend to see emergency lighting as a fit-and-forget system and not, as industry experts argue, as an ongoing safety management programme.

This compares with just 8 per cent of companies of Scotland, a dramatic contrast between the two home nations.

While the figures are troubling, the research – conducted by the manufacturer Hilclare – show that the situation has improved since 2010.

Back then, five years after the 2005 Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 56 per cent of businesses in England and 40 per cent of firms in Scotland didn’t have the correct hazardous or emergency lighting.

According to the order, emergency routes and exits must be indicated by signs; and emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of normal lighting.

‘These findings are extremely concerning,’ Hilclare’s group commercial sales director Dylan Mansfield told Lux.

‘For almost half of businesses in England to not have the correct emergency lighting is a disaster waiting to happen’.

He urged businesses to review their emergency exit lighting with immediate effect.

‘Put simply, these businesses who do not have the correct lighting are quite literally playing with fire.’
Emergency lighting in a building can fall out of compliance as a consequence of internal refurbishments, when areas are reorganised to suit new requirements, but the emergency lighting is not altered to suit those changes.

Standards are clear that any change to a designated escape routes requires a similar adjustment in the lighting of that route.

A new risk assessment is also essential before any installation can be deemed to be fit for purpose and that includes an assessment of any designated illumination for fire-fighting equipment stations. If equipment is shifted from one place to another, then dedicated lighting needs to follow it.

Maintenance is also often singled out as an issue. Building owners tend to see emergency lighting as a fit-and-forget system and not, as industry experts argue, as an ongoing safety management programme.