Fire safety

09 July 2019

As a business owner, you’re responsible for fire safety. It’s an essential issue for you to address as it affects every individual in your organisation.

This guide explains the essential health & safety procedures your business must follow. It’ll help you to understand how to prevent fire risks, as well as provide the appropriate safety precautions.

Health & safety at work fire regulations

It’s your responsibility to look after fire safety if you’re an:

  • Building or facilities manager.
  • Management agent.
  • Risk assessor.

This duty makes you the “responsible person”. What you’ll need to do for fire safety within the workplace is:

  • You have to complete a risk assessment and regularly review it (particularly following any changes or at least annually if there have been no process or layout changes). And carry out more of these on a regular basis.
  • Inform your workforce of any issues you identify.
  • Maintain and monitor your fire safety measures.
  • Plan ahead in the event of an emergency—review your procedure regularly.
  • Ensure your employees have been suitably trained access to information, instructions, and training.

The importance of fire safety at work is it helps to prevent severe injuries, death, and damage to business property.

There can be serious legal consequences if you fail to make your business safety conscious, so it’s important to ensure you establish an effective process.

Fire safety within the workplace

One of the best ways to prevent a fire at your business is to examine your working environment.

A risk assessment for fire safety at work will help to identify potential dangers. You must also keep this record up to date.

This assessment should look to find what might cause or increase the risk of a fire to spread. Common fire safety hazards include:

  • Naked flames.
  • Electrical equipment.
  • Smokers and related items, such as cigarettes, matches, lighters etc.
  • Combustible sources such as paper, plastic, foam, rubber, rubbish etc.
  • Oxygen sources.

You should also look to see who is at risk. This may include employees working alone, anyone individual with a specific impairment or disability (look to complete a PEEP—personal emergency evacuation plan), staff or visitors such as contractors in isolated or potentially dangerous or higher risk locations.

After evaluating the risks, you should look to include precautions around your business to reduce potential hazards.

Fire safety at work legislation

Keep in mind there isn’t a Health & Safety at Work Act, fire safety is, however, covered under certain the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Your business must follow these. Breaking it down into basic form, you’ll need to:

  • Have a fire risk assessment (these are the government guidelines).
  • Provide “appropriate fire-fighting equipment” in the form of fire extinguishers, blankets etc.
  • Place fire safety signs around your business. These should inlcude a Fire Action Notice and an Extinguisher ID.
  • Install fire detection systems.
  • Install emergency lighting in the event normal lights fail.
  • Provide training to all staff and appoint an appropriate number of fire marshals.

Below you can read more on these details, along with other ways to reduce the risk of an incident at your business.

Fire safety tips at work

After your risk assessment is complete, you can take the right actions to alleviate the risks. Some of the steps you can take include:

  • Flammable substances: Keep them away from anything that may ignite it.
  • Cleanliness: Maintain a tidy business and avoid a build-up of rubbish.
  • Emergency plans: In this you can explain to your employees what to do in the event of discovering a fire, such as detailing evacuation and calling the fire brigade.
  • Fire escape routes: Establish these and ensure your employees know where they are. The route should be easily accessible for all employees and in a suitable location, ensuring easy evacuation in the event of a fire.
  • Fire wardens/marshals: Designate some in staff in your business to maintain safety procedures. Provide them with relevant training so they know what to do.
  • Fire detection systems: Install appropriate devices around your business and check them regularly to ensure they’re working.
  • Install emergency lighting: Have your emergency escape routes well lit in the event of an emergency.
  • Put up fire safety signs: Place these in a clear location so every employee can see They should include pictograms and can include pictures demonstrating the direction to evacuate through fire exit doors. Or important information such as how to put out certain types of fires.
  • Fire extinguishers: Make it clear to staff members the different types of these, which include water, powder, and foam. It’s important they know which one to use in certain situations.
  • Fire drills: Hold regular drills so all your workforce is aware of what to do in the event of an emergency.

These can be a part of your fire safety training at work. Take steps to hold regular fire drills, fire extinguisher demonstrations and to explain your emergency plan.

Need our help?

If you need risk assessment advice or guidance on what fire hazards are, get in touch for immediate assistance: 0800 028 2420.

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