85% of fire doors would fail an inspection – would yours?

Gavin Scarr Hall - Director of Health and Safety

October 05 2021

Over three quarters of all UK fire doors aren’t fit for purpose.

The Fire Door Inspection Scheme released these shocking figures in 2019 – which show that many thousands of workers aren’t protected if a fire breaks out. 

While your fire door might look right, a subtle issue with its label or seal could mean you’re breaking health & safety law. And in the event of a fire, it could even be the difference between life and death.

So, it’s incredibly important to make sure your fire door is compliant. And with our quick five-step check below, you can check in a matter of minutes…

1. Has your door got the right label?

Your fire door should have a label that proves it’s designed by a certified manufacturer.

To check whether your door has a label, take a look at the top edge or side of the door. The label should have a unique number, the name of the manufacturer, and a telephone number.

Without a label, a health & safety inspector won’t know whether your door is compliant at all. And without the unique code and number, you won’t know who to contact if the door is faulty.

To pass any fire inspection, you need a label to prove a member of the BWF Fire Door Alliance has made your door. 

2. Is there enough space around the door?

If a fire breaks out, the strips around the edge of your fire door will expand to lock out any smoke and flames. Depending on the type of door, this will protect your workforce for up to either 30 or 60 minutes.

If there’s too much space between the door and the frame, smoke could still seep through the gaps.

So, check that the space around the door is no more than the width of a pound coin – if it is, your door won’t be compliant.

Plus, make sure there aren’t any signs of damage on the seal itself. Any wear and tear could prevent the strips from properly expanding. 

3. Does the hold-open device work?

Some fire doors have a ‘hold-open device’. This means the door can typically remain open for accessibility purposes – but if a fire breaks out, the door will close automatically. 

 If your fire door has a hold-open device, you need to regularly check that it still works properly.

So if your hold-open device is connected to your fire alarm, you’ll to check it still works at least once a week. As part of your regular fire alarm testing, check that your door properly closes once the alarm sounds.

4. Are there any loose hinges or missing screws?

Fire doors need regular maintenance to meet UK health & safety law. If your fire door is getting old, look out for signs of wear and tear.

In particular, you need to keep an eye on the door’s hinges and screws. If they become loose or fall out, your fire door might not open or close smoothly. This would mean your door would no longer deliver its two purposes – stopping the spread of fire and providing a quick means of escape.

Make sure you regularly check the hinges and screws and replace or tighten them when necessary.

5. Can your door self-close properly?

Can your fire door close firmly on the latch without intervention? If not, you’ll need to replace your fire door immediately.

A fire door will only protect your staff if it remains tightly closed when a fire breaks out. That’s why all fire doors have an automatic self-closing device, which pulls the door shut – so your staff won’t need to.

To check if the self-closing function works, simply open the door and see whether it closes on its own. Make sure the door doesn’t stick to the floor or the frame in the process.

Your door needs to self-close from any direction of swing, so make sure you open the door from a few different directions.

So, is your fire door compliant?

While those are the biggest things you can spot right now, there are many different faults that could put you at risk of failing an inspection. From incorrect warning signs to the wrong type of glass, it’s not surprising that so many fire doors fail to meet health & safety law.

And if your door is one of the 85 percent that aren’t compliant, a competent professional will need to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment immediately.

But you don’t need to panic. Our health & safety consultants are here to help. 

Whether you want to check if your fire door is compliant or talk over your fire safety process, our consultants are ready to talk. Simply give your health & safety team a call or discover our affordable health & safety services today.

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