Wednesday 5 August, 2020

COVID-19 no excuse! Fire Service not condoning locked entrances

Bridgetown (FILE)

Bridgetown (FILE)

Proprietors are being warned that locked doors while conducting business is not only dangerous, but against the laws of Barbados.

The Barbados Fire Service is working to put a stop to this dangerous practice that has crept in along with COVID-19. That is, some business owners are locking doors to drive pedestrian traffic through one door under the premise that it makes life easier for sanitization.

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However, the Barbados Fire Service is reminding persons that locking the second set of doors is against the law. Furthermore, the Service noted that at one establishment in Bridgetown, the second exit/entrance was not only locked with signage stating 'Use the Front door', but boxes and stock were piled up blocking access as well. 

Speaking to Loop News, the Deputy Fire Chief Henderson Patrick said that that particular situation in The City was resolved because they made an intervention and the management was very cooperative “in understanding that it is a legal requirement to have doors unlocked when you have business going on and also that you cannot have the means of escape impeded by anything at all.

"So once we had conveyed that information to them they were very amenable” and they complied with the instructions.

In light of this development, he encouraged: “all other businesses to have, first of all, an understanding that they should avail themselves of the legal requirements that they have, that is to pay attention to both the Shops Act, and also the Safety and Health at Work Act, to determine what their responsibility is as employers for the employee and also the patrons who come in their stores. And they have an awesome responsibility to ensure that they are creating the safest possible environment, both in terms of access and egress, access to the business and also egress from it in the event that and emergency occurs and also to ensure that the safety of those people who do business in the facility is not compromised.”

Patrick reiterated that the Safety and Health Act and the Shops Act certainly give the employers directions to ensure and enhance safety, and “locking the doors and blocking the pathways are prohibited.” He stressed that doing this is "a real violation in Shops Act", especially locking doors during business hours.

He said that in Barbados people tend to do things in a reactive way, responding after things happen to put corrective measures in place, “but it is important to be proactive to ensure that you follow the systems that are there so that people do not find themselves in trouble when you have to respond after the fact.”

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