From offices, to factories, to stadiums, there are all sorts of work places that come with different fire hazards that need to be addressed and prevented.
Keeping a work environment that is fire safe is essential for any business, which means making sure you are on top of the latest legislation, have the appropriate fire-fighting equipment, train your staff regularly and more.
In this article, we have provided some basic tips on how to improve fire safety in your business, which can apply to most workplaces.
Fire safety regulations (the essentials)
Before anything, you need to have the essentials taken care of; the essentials being fire safety laws and regulations that your business needs to abide by.
Such laws and regulations are in place so that the responsible person(s) are aware of what the possible risks are, what safety measures need to be put in place, and what the consequences are if they do not meet these requirements.
Below is a list of the fundamentals that your business needs in order to comply with fire safety regulations in the UK:
- Carrying out a fire risk assessment
- Keeping a fire safety log book
- Providing fire-fighting equipment
- Installing fire safety equipment (alarm systems)
- Displaying fire safety signs
- Carrying out fire drills and fire safety training
To find out about fire safety regulations in more detail, read our blog article: Fire Safety Laws That Your Business Should Be Following
Have a fire risk assessment completed
Having a fire risk assessment completed is one of the best fire prevention methods. Not only does carrying out a fire risk assessment make you aware of the current fire hazards within your premises so that you can prevent them from becoming a real danger, but it is also valuable as it is used to assess the fire routes and fire assembly points, ensuring that everyone on-site would be able to escape safely if a fire does break out.
As mentioned earlier, carrying out a fire risk assessment is a legal requirement; all UK employers with five or more employees are required to keep a written record of their fire risk assessments. Although it is not required for smaller businesses, it is still considered best practice.
Assign a competent person
Assigning a competent person is a valuable way to improve the fire safety standards in your workplace. The competent person holds the responsibility of completing the fire safety checks in your premises such as the weekly/monthly checks as well as looking after the day-to-day fire safety needs of the premises.
The competent person must have both sufficient training and experience so that they are able to carry out the tasks at hand within their fire safety responsibilities. Take a look at our Competent Person Training here.
This is especially helpful for workplaces that naturally have high-risk fire hazards due to the industry, such as a restaurant because it will have a large kitchen with open flames.
Make a designated smoking area
Although you may think that this isn’t necessary, having a designated smoking area has its benefits. Mainly because it’s a good fire prevention method as it keeps smoking materials away from flammable materials in the workplace.
Smoking materials (cigarettes) are less likely to be trailed into your business’s building if you have a designated smoking area, providing that you also supply an ashtray for the area.
Check electricals (& wiring)
Electricals can pose fire safety hazards if they are mistreated or faulty, which is why it’s a good idea to check them for any faults or damaged wires, and they should be put in an appropriate place with plenty of space.
All portable appliances (such as computers, kettles etc.) should be tested regularly for any faults; PAT testing is required by employers to ensure safety of portable appliances. There is no set rule on PAT testing frequency, only that testing should be done regularly to ensure preventative maintenance. Find out more about PAT testing with Fireline.
You should also avoid overcrowding plug sockets to an outlet, as this is a fire risk. And as a general rule of thumb, you should unplug appliances at the end of every workday to prevent the risk of a fire caused by electricals during your absence.
Be aware of arson risks
Unfortunately, arson is a bigger fire risk than you may realise, even for workplaces. Being aware of the risks of arson attacks means you can put preventative methods in place to protect your business’s building.
Preventative methods include installing CCTV as this warns arsonists off, locking doors after the work day finishes to ensure no one can gain access to the building, and also by making sure that there are no (or minimal) combustible materials in areas that can be accessed when the business is closed.
Make sure rubbish is removed regularly
General waste bins present a fire hazard, which can come as a surprise. The reason being that waste bins often contain combustible materials, making it easier for a fire to start and makes it easier to spread, especially if bins are full or overflowing.
Most rooms will contain a bin, and some will have a higher risk than others, such as a kitchen that usually contains open flames, so extra care should be taken to reduce the risks posed.
Not only that, but waste bins are an easy target for arsonists (which we mentioned above), it’s not unusual for arsonists to set alight the contents of a bin. Simply by making sure that bins are emptied regularly and placed appropriately can make all the difference to your business’s safety.
Store flammable materials properly
It’s important that your business stores any flammable materials appropriately so that it doesn’t become a serious fire hazard.
If you have a large number of flammable materials, if a fire was to break out, the material can cause the fire to spread quickly and out of control.
This can be avoided by storing flammable materials away properly, preferably in a cool dry place away from any potential sources of ignition.
Improve fire safety in your business…
By following the fire regulations and laws and applying the fire safety prevention tips in this article, you can achieve a safe work environment for yourself and everyone in your premises.
If you are interested in staff training, hiring a professional risk assessor, essential fire safety equipment or anything else we have mentioned above, contact us here.
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