Some eight million workers could be at risk as managers fail to take the proper health and safety precautions by preparing them for a fire, it has been claimed.
According to insurance provider RSA, one in 20 UK employees stop to pick up their cup of tea or coffee before they file out of the building when they hear the fire alarm sounding.
Furthermore, a quarter of workers have never participated in a full fire evacuation since starting their job, even though government guidelines stipulate at last one fire drill should be carried out each year.
And one in 20 staff members have claimed that their workplace has no marked fire exits, while one in ten respondents admitted to sitting at their desk for more than one minute before they leave the building.
This is despite the fact the London Fire Brigade states it should take two and a half minutes to evacuate a building on average.
The average time an employee waits before reacting to the fire alarm was found to be 36 seconds, with 42 per cent gathering their personal belongings or work documents before evacuating.
David Geer, global UK business director at RSA, said: “Businesses that do not take fire safety seriously are risking their employees’ lives and their livelihoods.”
Meanwhile, the Health and Safety Executive has urged businesses to address the real risks they face, rather than falling for the myth that all substances and practices are banned by the watchdog.
Posted by Colette George