The safety of people occupying premises is an employer’s duty and is not the responsibility of the Fire and Rescue Service. For people who require assistance, the PEEP must provide the necessary information to enable them and anyone providing assistance, to escape from a building to a place of relative safety.
Advice for writing a PEEP
- Discuss with the employee what help they need (not all disabled people require help) and identify the persons who will provide assistance and make sure everyone knows their part. Ideally, there should be more than one, to cover for absences. Arrange for staff to receive training, if necessary, e.g. use of an evacuation chair or disability escape etiquette training.
- Write up the plan in conjunction with both parties. If you don’t feel confident the PEEP will always work, then you must make alternative working arrangements, e.g. relocate the disabled employee to the ground floor. Disabled people who have a PEEP should not be left to work alone. Wherever possible, PEEPs should be written for both fast and slow-moving people. However, where the person may need to rest or they feel threatened by people behind them, it may be appropriate to design a plan that allows for this, e.g. resting in refuges provided along the route.
- Review the PEEP at least annually and when something changes, e.g. the disabled worker moves to another floor or building.
- It isn’t practical to write a bespoke PEEP for every visitor or casual user of the building, so you should develop standard plans instead. By assessing the difficulty in evacuating the premises and the types of evacuation that can be provided, it will be easier to address needs and a system of standard plans may be used. A standard PEEP can be held at reception and may be advertised and offered to visitors as part of your signing-in procedures.
Where an employer does not make provision for safe evacuation arrangements for disabled people from their premises, this is likely to constitute a failure to comply with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO 2005) and may also be considered to be discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act.
Contact us should you require advice.