Fire is one of the risks that organizations face. It is known that the fire risk has contributed to the fall and collapse of many organizations. The loss associated with fire is always severe and is beyond approximation; it is behind this background that there needs to be a well-organized fire control and reduction unit that is independent of other organization functions. Different organizations need different strategies and degrees of fire control.
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The degree of control depends on the fire risk exposure that the organization faces. The building materials used in any premises determine how much the premises can be exposed to fire accidents. Another contributing factor is the goods traded within the premises. Premises, where inflammable products are traded like petrol products, are more exposed to fire than those that host low flammable products.
The law requires that there must be an up to date fire protection devices in the building. The manager has to put in place strong mechanisms on how to control the risk associated with fire breakout. Such mechanisms should not be left at the hands of everyone, but a fire risk specialist. The risk specialist should continuously update the manager on the fire risk conditions in the company.
There must be an up to date fire fighting equipment and employees who are on the alert to avert any breakouts in the organization. The alarms should be sensitive and detect any sign of fire break out while there must be several inspection officers located in different places of the premises, this will reduce the possibility of a fire starting in extreme locations where there are no such officers. The fire risk control should start when the structure of the building is being put up.
The fire engineers should make the inspection and recommend the best materials that can be used in the building. This will depend on the kind of business that is to be carried out on the premises. They will carry out the safety analysis and come up with the best recommendations. The fire system and water supply in the building that can be used during fire breakouts will also be assessed by the fire engineers.
In cases of failure by the risk managers to execute their duties, the management may terminate their services. This has to be done within the law that protects the employees. The law that protects the employees does not just allow for impromptu firing. The employee must be given a warning for some set period. However much the employee might be in the wrong, it is not allowed in the face of the law to fire at will. The company must pay the benefits and services of the employee with a letter for the termination of his tenure. Before he is fired, he is also granted an affair hearing in the organization’s legal structure or seeks the same outside the company.
The managerial issues
Fire risk management should not be one time job when an alarm sounds but be an ongoing process that the manager keeps on inspecting and evaluating the outcome. The fire manager; through the overall management of the company, should always supervise and reassess all the possible causes of fire and the new threats of fire to the company. Before such fire breakout, the company should identify the possible causes of fire and the prone areas.
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Sections with a high possibility of fire breakout should be put under 24-hour surveillance by an attendant updating the management of any possible threat. When the fire risk areas have been identified, the management should then be prepared with fire fighting equipment and enough staff who will be fighting the fire in case of any breakout. The step was taken of firing the manager after the incident does not control the fire breakout in the future.
The management should have assessed the severity of such fire breakout risks and taken further action. You may pause “if the fire could destroy the whole building within one hour then it means that the company was highly prone to fire risk”. The company should have taken a measured approach to the fire risk. The preventive measures are the most effective when it comes to controlling risks. The manager to himself should not be the sole caretaker of the fire risk. In such a big organization, the company management should not have left such a sensitive risk to one individual to respond. If such a scenario happens in the future, then still the company will get into the same situation and incur the same losses.
When the fire outbreak occurs in any company, the workers who are the citizens get injured, some end up being maimed for life while others become incapacitated. These accidents rob the economy of its productive labors. To control such kind of losses to the economy, the government has put in place fire safety guidelines and relevant legislation to protect its citizens. The government supports the work of the fire and rescue service.
They have trained personnel to handle fire accidents and breakouts. When the fire alarm rang again, the company manager ought to have called the fire and rescue service rather than calling the same person who could not establish the source of the alarm. The company management should have noticed the incapability of the fire manager towards establishing the reasons why the fire alarm was alerting.
The fire control system should comply with the fire safety order 2005, which is aimed at reducing injuries and damage to property. The law emphasizes the degree of fire reduction and protecting all the various parties in the vicinity. The company management should have alternative courses of action when such an emergency occurs. The fire control should be of high concern to the company and not be left in the hand of a single person. Since the company has taken active action to hire a specialist fire risk manager, is services should be given an assisting hand by the fire agencies in the town.
For the safety of the company, the fire risk should be performed by the Fire specialists who will establish all the possible causes and also give the possible ways of controlling the fire breakouts. When these risks analysis is carried out effectively, the possible effect of fire breakout will be reduced to a greater level. The company must use the research provided by the agency to routinely check and protect the organization from a possible fire explosion in the company.
Fire fighting devices like the water and other extinguishing gases and powder should be in working condition at all times. The fire manager on his first arrival to the company when the alarm rang should have established whether the water source is in a working condition. When he later arrived and could not control the fire, “the water is also not available in the company”. This indicates that the inspection for fire control devices has not been done for some time. Fire risk fighting equipment should be in working condition at all times. The management must always have the full information of these materials. It is the laxity of the management not to have the full update of the fire fighting equipment.
The fire manager, after checking the possible fire causes and with no success, the information of fire alarm should have prompted him to ascertain the fire fighting equipment. Water and other fire extinguishers were to be his priority before leaving the company premises. As a good manager he should have just called for the alarm reset and leavening the company, he should have checked if there was a fault in the alarm system and adjusted it. Fire is a very dangerous calamity that should have not been taken lightly. Destruction of the company and the possible loss of lives by the company employees should not have been taken lightly by the fire manager. It is absurd that even the company manager accepts to reset the fire alarm without inquiring if the alarm was working well. This kind of management is not acceptable for any reputable business.
The legal issues
The fire that consumed the factory is not reasonable enough to cost a good fire manager his job. The fault may have been caused by other factors that were beyond his control. Let’s pause, “if the fire was caused by an explosion from the company?” this is technically challenging to the manager who orders the immediate termination of the employee’s services. The law protects the employer and can only be fired after a fair hearing is made.
The firing of an employee is not just telling him to pack and go; the employer must present clear evidence showing all the reasons why the employee must be fired. The law protects the employees from their employers if they violate the implied law of the contract signed during the inception of the work. Employees have job security and can only lose their jobs if proven to be unable to execute their duties effectively. Most employees make such commitments and the law expects the employer to respect such signed agreements. The employers in a bid to attract reputable and high experienced employees would create in their agreement form; legitimate job security. In such cases, the employer will have to follow the legal procedures of firing the employee.
The employee can file a suit against the employer claiming for violation of his rights (federal statutes) that protects an employee from unethical dismissal. The labor code stipulates when an employee is viable for dismissal, it follows a strict rule where previous records must indicate the negligence claimed and other labor violations. In many states, the employee can file a legal suit claiming discrimination and blame whilst it wasn’t his fault. The records may indicate how the employee has requested the purchase of fire fighting devices to no avail. The supply of water was poor; the employee could not put off the fire when there was no water. The management was also to take responsibility. If it was to be proved otherwise and a proper hearing is given, then the firing might b justifiable.
The firing was not procedural, the legal requirement for the firing of an employee starts with performance evaluation. The history of his evaluation must indicate some discrepancies in the expected standards of performance. In this case, the employer will have a reason to fire such an employee. Another instance is where the employee has had some disciplinary cases, here there should be well filled out and signed forms as evidence of misconduct by the employee. If the employee on many occasions has been found and proven to be of any misconduct and disciplinary actions taken against him in the past he has no other defense when he is dismissed from his job.
The only claim is the payment of his benefits. In some cases, dismissal may include the forfeiture of benefits by the employee as a fine. If he was not punctual for work, but in this case, he is being called to attend to cases of fire alert; meaning he is not a full-time employee of the company. The laxity to hire the manager as a full-time employee might have caused the fire. The manager in his defense may cite distance and mobility as the cause of his inefficiency in service delivery.
Before an employee is fired, the employer must have consistently documented his performance to prove to the attorney the reason for the final dismissal. The reason for dismissal and reasons why such action was taken found the basis of defense in the court of law. The employer must prove that the employee’s work history has been bad and below the company expectation. The records must be convincing enough to warrant such termination. In this case, we are told how the employee had failed in the past. The legality of such dismissal is questionable. When the employee can file a suit, he may win and be paid his damages that might be too high for the company. The following are therefore recommended of a proper legal procedure for employee dismissal;
Before the start of the employment contract, the employer needs to print a disclaimer to all his employees and a copy should be kept in the employee’s handbook. The employees must know before they start offering their services that they can be dismissed at any time if their services are not to the expected standards of the company. The employer has the right to terminate such service when deemed fit. This should be signed by the employee on his contract. When this is made in advance, the manager has the right to carry out such dismissal without any notice.
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The employer should serve the employee with a warning in which the employee should commit to improving on what he is doing. The following evaluation should test the degree of improvement and if there is none, he should be given disciplinary action. The disciplinary may be in form of suspension or extra work assignment, during this period the employer will try to change the employee’s behavior by holding his pay, and then a second chance may be given or his contract terminated. In this case, the employee has no legal basis to challenge such decisions in the court of law.
There are some instances when a manager may take a stance action to terminate the employee’s service, where the employer can suspend the employee and constitute an inquiry to his performance. The task force will then present the employer with concreted reasons warranting dismissal or other disciplinary actions. The employer will have a good reason for such dismissal. The manager should also put in mind that dismissing individuals without a proper policy framework does not change anything in the company.
Finally, the employer has to see the extreme of how this action will cost the company if the fired employee files a legal suit. This will help the manager to make appropriate decisions on whether the firing is justified or not. The manager must know all the legal implications and the defense that the employee can put forward in the court of law. This will protect the company from the unnecessary expenses of paying fines. The management has a case to answer as well as the fire manager. The law protects the employee and the employer so both the parties should act within the stipulated law.