Requirements & Responsibility regarding Fire Foam in an Office

D

dksfwmcc

#1
Hi,

Please help we are half way through the external audit from hell with a last minute replacement auditor whose English is very poor (so discussing/resolving point is all but impossible).

Our site is based in the UK. We are a SW engineering based company with basically a standard office environment.

We are located on a businees small park & that has a small river running around 30 metres from our building.

The landlord (in the lease) accepts responsibility for the maintenance & upkeep of all external areas of the business park.

If there was a fire the chances are that the fire brigade would use water, BUT the auditor has asked what is our plan for the use of fire foam in relation to the river.

Our response was that 'life comes first' & that we will evacuate the build & leave it to the fire service to do what they think is appropriate.

On top of that we have had an independent fire risk assessment (which went well).

The auditor is saying that according to ISO 14001 we have a minor if not major non conformance.

Is this true, if so what clause of the standard would it be raised against?

My thinking is that as the auditor has been so out of his depth & unprepared (& made himself look an idiot all day) that he his trying to fond a finding for the sake of it to save face ..... but want to check my facts.

Regards

Si
 
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Mikishots

Trusted Information Resource
#2
Hi,

Please help we are half way through the external audit from hell with a last minute replacement auditor whose English is very poor (so discussing/resolving point is all but impossible).

Our site is based in the UK. We are a SW engineering based company with basically a standard office environment.

We are located on a businees small park & that has a small river running around 30 metres from our building.

The landlord (in the lease) accepts responsibility for the maintenance & upkeep of all external areas of the business park.

If there was a fire the chances are that the fire brigade would use water, BUT the auditor has asked what is our plan for the use of fire foam in relation to the river.

Our response was that 'life comes first' & that we will evacuate the build & leave it to the fire service to do what they think is appropriate.

On top of that we have had an independent fire risk assessment (which went well).

The auditor is saying that according to ISO 14001 we have a minor if not major non conformance.

Is this true, if so what clause of the standard would it be raised against?

My thinking is that as the auditor has been so out of his depth & unprepared (& made himself look an idiot all day) that he his trying to fond a finding for the sake of it to save face ..... but want to check my facts.

Regards

Si
That's something you should have asked the auditor to explain. Minor or major, the auditor needs to document it, and it should be black and white; I'm not going to venture what he's planning, as the info you've given us may not be entirely complete.
 
D

dksfwmcc

#3
Hi,

The auditor was asked, the response was 'wait for the findings'! Unprofessional as he may be I aksed the question as I want to know (IF THE INFORMATION I HAVE GIVEN IS CORRECT) what element of the standard he can pin this to.

Regards

Si
 

kgott

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Hi,

Please help we are half way through the external audit from hell with a last minute replacement auditor whose English is very poor (so discussing/resolving point is all but impossible).

Our site is based in the UK. We are a SW engineering based company with basically a standard office environment.

We are located on a businees small park & that has a small river running around 30 metres from our building.

The landlord (in the lease) accepts responsibility for the maintenance & upkeep of all external areas of the business park.

If there was a fire the chances are that the fire brigade would use water, BUT the auditor has asked what is our plan for the use of fire foam in relation to the river.

Our response was that 'life comes first' & that we will evacuate the build & leave it to the fire service to do what they think is appropriate.

On top of that we have had an independent fire risk assessment (which went well).

The auditor is saying that according to ISO 14001 we have a minor if not major non conformance.

Is this true, if so what clause of the standard would it be raised against?

My thinking is that as the auditor has been so out of his depth & unprepared (& made himself look an idiot all day) that he his trying to fond a finding for the sake of it to save face ..... but want to check my facts.

Regards

Si
In my view, your response is totally correct, the auditor is way out of line and is trying to drive your company. Explain and complain to the auditor's employer and ask for a more experienced auditor.

Stick to your explanation that your people are not fire fighters, the worst they can do is to say that you need to train your staff to use fire extinguishers. Note; such training is for personal escape and initial attempts to extinguish the fire only. Do no more training than that.

If it was me I would take the line that even if trained to use extinguishers, your staff are still not qualified to fight building fires as this requires much more professional training, experience and skill than that. You also have a duty of care not to require staff to place health and safety of staff at risk.
 

Mikishots

Trusted Information Resource
#5
Hi,

The auditor was asked, the response was 'wait for the findings'! Unprofessional as he may be I aksed the question as I want to know (IF THE INFORMATION I HAVE GIVEN IS CORRECT) what element of the standard he can pin this to.

Regards

Si
Wait for the findings.:nope: Wow, is all I can say.

If there's a nonconformance, the auditor should tell you right away, especially if he's dangling a "major" over your heads.

My own reaction would be a phone call to those he answers to. He does it because he's permitted to get away with it (and will continue to do so unless someone steps up to the plate).
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#6
OK, I'm a certified Lead for EMS (ISO 14001) by more than one entity, I've taught more than 100 EMS Lead Auditor courses and at least that many more EMS related courses and the list goes on....Now that I've patted myself on the back I'll get to it

Having read ISO 14001 at least once in my life I have yet to see fire fighting foam mentioned

At the most you may not have identified it as an Aspect and evaluated its significance to YOU, and stretching it, one could maybe identify a minor, BUT so unless you're using a gazillion gallons of the stuff the potential environmental impact should be no greater than dirty laundry water.

Your auditor is full of HORSE&HIT:horse:


Oh yeah, nowhere is it written that you identify ALL aspects (that's what periodic review is all about)
 
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