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Fire Safety in the Workplace

19th January 2022

Many businesses have an ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality when it comes to fire safety in the workplace. As its probability is essentially low, it’s easy to push your fire safety checks and assessment to the bottom of the priority pile, but its impact, if it occurs, can be catastrophic. It can threaten the safety of the public and the reputation of your business. 

This blog will discuss all the aspects of fire safety in the workplace and what you will need to consider as a business owner.

Who is responsible and what are they responsible for?

If you are the employer, landlord, owner, building manager, or anything similar, you are known as the ‘responsible person’ for the business. As the responsible person, you are responsible for carrying out a fire risk assessment regularly, informing staff of the risks identified and put in place a plan for an emergency, maintaining fire safety measures, and training staff. In shared premises, most likely there’ll be more than one responsible person, and you will need to work together to coordinate your plans to make sure the people in the building are safe. 

When constructing new buildings or doing new work on existing premises, you must ensure your work complies with building regulations, and this includes designing fire safety into the proposed building.

Fire Risk Assessments

As the allocated responsible person, you must carry on regular fire risk assessments of the building, and identify what you need to do to prevent a fire and ensure the safety of staff and the public. If your business has 5 or more people, you must keep a documented record of your fire risk assessments. 

When carrying out the assessment, you need to first identify the hazards and the people at risk, and then evaluate how to remove or reduce the risks. You must record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide your staff with fire training, and review the risk assessment regularly. You’ll need to consider the emergency exit routes, fire detection systems, fire fighting equipment, and how you will remove any dangerous substances. In regards to people, you may need to consider if any vulnerable people; the elderly or people with disabilities, require additional help, and ensure you provide all information to your employees.

You can do the fire risk assessment yourself with the guidance of standard fire risk assessment guides, or if you feel you don’t have the expertise or time, you can appoint a ‘competent person’ to assist, for example, us at Firestoppers. We can carry out a fire risk assessment for you and advise you further on any possible risks. 

Evacuation Plans

Your evacuation plan must display you have a clear passageway to all escape routes with a safe meeting point destination for staff, and ensure that all marked escape routes are as short and direct as possible. There needs to be enough exits for all people to escape safely, and it needs to show that you have emergency doors that work and emergency lighting where needed. This plan also needs to take into consideration any special arrangements that need to be made for people with mobility needs.

Fire Safety Equipment and Training

The fire safety equipment you need will depend on the type of premises you have. You’ll need to make sure all your equipment is installed, tested, and maintained properly to ensure full safety. Every building must have a fire detection and warning system, but be aware you may need different detectors depending on the type of building. 

You must carry out checks on the equipment to make sure that alarm systems and emergency lighting are working, and that all escape routes are clear. You must make sure all fire doors open and close correctly, and that fire exit signs are in the right place. All these must be recorded along with all other fire safety checks and assessments.

As an employer, you are required to train all new staff when they start work on fire safety, and you should carry out at least one first drill a year and record the results as part of the fire evacuation plan.

Enforcement and Penalties

Your local fire authority visits the premises to check if the fire prevention measures are appropriate, and fire safety officers should work with you to help you understand all the rules and comply with them. They can also take action if they think your safety measures are inadequate, or they could give you a formal fire safety notice, which tells you how to fix the problems.

You could also receive an enforcement notice if the fire and rescue authority finds a serious risk, and it will state the improvements needed to make and by when. If you receive a prohibition notice, these take effect immediately if the fire risk is so big that access to your premises needs to be restricted.

Need any extra help?

At Firestoppers, we can help. We offer a one-stop shop for fire and security systems, and we put customer service at the heart of our one-stop shop. We provide you with the best price possible and ensure all your security and fire protection needs are met. Our extensive range of services are carried out by fully qualified professionals and are fully insured and covered by Fire Stoppers Limited. Our team are experts in design, service, maintenance and commissioning of fire alarms, extinguishers, and emergency lighting. 

If you require any further information or want to enquire about our one-stop shop, then contact us today on 0800 799 9514, or click here to fill out our online enquiry form.