Written by Tim Hassall, Head of Risk & Compliance.
The law is clear on what fire safety checks employers and building owners must carry out. It’s set out in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Every workplace is different with its own unique fire safety needs. To help you, here are our top fire safety tips:
The goal is to thoroughly evaluate potential risks to life, property, and business continuity. A comprehensive, report should be then generated, keep a record of all fire safety actions Including arrangements and review them at least annually.
Utilising employee engagement is the most effective way to ensure consistent compliance in any Workplace.
Providing necessary training is a legal requirement for fire safety. Once individuals understand the potential consequences of a fire, they make positive changes in their behaviour that last.
To prevent fire emergencies from escalating, it is crucial to regularly re-instruct all employees, regardless of their tenure, in the workplace’s fire safety procedures. Meeting this legal obligation falls under the FSO.
Fire Awareness Training is an integral component of employee training and can significantly reduce the risk of serious accidents.
Whilst Fire Marshall training can significantly reduce the risk of fire starting and can reduce the evacuation time of a premises.
It is crucial to have the correct type and quantity of fire extinguishers in the workplace, taking into consideration the company’s size and risk rating. Remember Dry powder is no longer viewed as the best for indoor enclosed spaces and foam is proven to be not environmentally friendly so must not be allowed to enter drainage systems.
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No conventional extinguisher will work, do you need specialist equipment? which is now on the market.
Additionally, it is essential that all individuals in the vicinity are familiar with how to properly use them in case of an emergency.
Furthermore, these fire extinguishers must be regularly maintained as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Safety measures must be in place, such as clear signage, unobstructed pathways, and adequate lighting, to ensure swift action can be taken in case of an emergency.
Familiarise yourself with the best and most direct route to the designated assembly point.
Remember to check final exit doors daily to ensure they not locked and not blocked. Keep fire doors closed at all times to prevent the spread of fire and protect evacuation routes.
Make sure emergency lighting is functional and regularly tested along all evacuation routes and exits, including doorways, corridors, changes in direction, staircases, and near firefighting equipment and alarms.
Fire safety signs should use universal symbols for easy comprehension and should be illuminated for visibility even during power outages.
Do not re-enter the building until authorised!
It is important to incorporate fire drills into your workplace routine, at least once a year, to ensure that all staff members are familiar with emergency procedures and evacuation locations. However, if any significant changes occur in evacuation routes, it is recommended to conduct a fire drill sooner.
Is the evacuation process efficient and thorough?
Conduct a practice run and document any areas that need improvement. Share these improvements with everyone and continue to practise until it is perfected. Consider designating a fire marshal to ensure proper execution of each drill.
It is crucial to turn off all electrical appliances at the end of each day to avoid potential fire hazards in the workplace.
This includes avoiding overloading circuits beyond their recommended capacity, as it can lead to fuses blowing and causing fires. It is also important to keep easy access to electrical control panels by ensuring nothing is obstructing them and having them visibly marked for quick identification during emergencies.
Any potential electrical faults should be reported immediately, as they are a common cause of workplace fires.
Regular maintenance of machines is also necessary to prevent overheating and friction Sparks.
Poorly maintained equipment causes fires!
Ensure that no obstructions or coverings are interfering with any fire safety equipment at any time.
This includes keeping fire extinguishers easily accessible, ensuring that fire escapes are not blocked by any machinery, and making sure that sprinkler systems are not obstructed by decorations or other materials.
Remember to always keep these potentially life-saving appliances clear and unobstructed, as they play a crucial role in the event of a fire.
It is important to maintain proper workplace cleanliness, as clutter can increase the risk of fires.
This includes limiting the presence of items that are susceptible to catching fire, such as flammable waste materials like paper, oil-soaked Rags and garbage and keeping them away from exits and emergency equipment.
Ensuring a minimal amount of these materials will help prevent fire hazards in the workplace.
For safe handling of chemicals, it is important to carefully read the labels and material safety data sheets to identify any potential fire hazards.
Additionally, proper ventilation should be ensured during both usage and storage.
To avoid causing a fire, it is important to take all necessary precautions in areas where there could be explosive mixtures, such as those with flammable fumes or small particles.
This includes utilising tools that will not create sparks and managing static electricity carefully. Please only smoke in designated areas and make sure to always safely extinguish and dispose of smoking materials, preferably in a metal container.
45% of fires are caused by arson – Ensure the surroundings of the building are free from any potential items that could tempt an opportunistic arsonist.
This is a legal requirement of all businesses. Some alarms may trigger automatically, but if they are manual be sure to teach employees how to operate them.
Questions you should be asking include:
Is your fire alarm system working?
Is there a zone plan adjacent to the fire alarm panel?
Have the staff been given instructions on interpreting the information on the fire alarm panel and zone plan?
Where are your ‘break glass call points? Are they numbered?
Where are your heat and smoke detectors?
Are your alarms tested regularly?
It is important for everyone to be aware of the appropriate actions to take in case of a fire or when the alarm sounds. Additionally, familiarise yourself with the various warning systems in place and evacuation procedures.
Your employer should have designated individuals, known as fire marshals, responsible for developing and enforcing fire safety measures.
These marshals receive practical training on proper usage of firefighting equipment and are responsible for leading evacuations during a fire.