We all know that fire safety is crucial in the workplace due to the many employees, visitors, and highly flammable materials. But, where does the responsibility lie? Who needs to make sure fire doors are in working order and visitors know the evacuation plan?
Why Is Fire Safety In The Workplace So Important?
Fire safety regulations are often changing, so many workplaces don’t realise their fire safety is not actually up to scratch. Workplaces should never push fire safety to the side; workplace fires are a lot more common than people think.
First and foremost, employers should do everything in their power to ensure employees are safe. Alongside this, without proper fire safety, businesses can be destroyed by fire. This can completely ruin a company, especially if your insurance won’t cover the damage as you didn’t have correct safety measures in place!
Who Is Responsible for Fire Safety In The Workplace?
The responsibility for fire safety in commercial buildings used to lie with the fire services, but now these are the people responsible:
● Anyone with control of the premises, such as a business manager or risk assessor
They are known as responsible or appropriate people. When there is more than one, they must work together to ensure fire safety responsibilities are met. The responsible people must establish who is responsible.
The responsible person/people must make sure all fire safety in the workplace is in place and maintained. Here are the two main targets of fire safety in the workplace:
● All fire risks are removed, reduced, or managed with fire safety measures, to protect lives and property.
● Everyone inside the building can escape if a fire breaks out, and they know how to do so.
Put In Place (And Maintain) Fire Safety Measures
The responsible person must ensure fire stopping is installed in workplaces; it helps control fire and fumes throughout the building. Professionals must fit your fire stopping. This way, it is guaranteed the job is done correctly, with suitable materials, to meet legal safety standards.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes it a legal requirement that fire doors are correctly installed and maintained. They must be kept free of obstacles at all times.
The responsible person must make sure there are enough fire doors and are regularly inspected by a professional under the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS).
Fire Alarm Systems
The responsible person must ensure an adequate number of fire alarms. Every room with fire risk, such as a kitchen, must have a fire alarm installed. Fire alarms in workplaces should be tested weekly with a fire drill to ensure they are in working order.
These are crucial fire safety measures. The responsible person must ensure all extinguishers in the building are serviced annually by a competent person, somebody with a BAFE qualification or equivalent.
Carry Out a Risk Assessment
Any workplace with over five employees must put a risk assessment in place, and it must be written down. The responsible person must ensure this assessment is in place; the first step is to identify potential fire hazards. This is anything that could start a fire or intensify it.
The assessment must also outline anybody at increased risk of fire, such as people who work closely with fire hazards, disable people, or people who work alone.
After these people are identified, any fire risks need to be removed where possible. If not possible, make sure highly flammable materials are with less flammable ones. Also, a no-smoking policy should be in place at the workplace. These findings must be recorded, and an emergency evacuation plan prepared.
Train Employees and Visitors on Fire Safety Procedures
The responsible person must make sure all employees know about the fire risk assessment. Training should be provided to follow this. Signs must be put up around the workplace reminding of the emergency evacuation plan. Do not just rely on these signs - all visitors must also be informed of the evacuation plan.
Plan For An Emergency
It’s no good coming up with a plan but never practising it. The responsible person must organise weekly fire drills to make sure the procedure works smoothly, and that fire alarms work correctly.
Consider a Fire Safety Survey
Suppose you are the responsible person for workplace fire safety, and you fear it’s not currently up to standard. In that case, it’s time to get a fire safety survey. This survey checks your safety measures’ compliance with regulations; these change all the time, so it can be hard to keep up.
Here at London Fire Solutions, we provide fire safety surveys to check your fire safety measures are 100% compliant with fire safety regulations. If you have any questions regarding our surveys or any other fire safety measure, please get in touch with us today.