15 Feb 7 Tips for Workplace Fire Safety
A Basic Guide to Fire Safety for the Workplace
None of us want to believe that we will experience a life-endangering fire at work, but there are around 22,000 workplace fires each year in the UK, or 423 each week, on average, so the risk is very real. It’s the responsibility of business owners to minimise fire risks for employees. If you run a business and feel that you need some help with this task, Impact’s 7 tips for workplace fire safety is a good place to begin.
7 Tips for Workplace Fire Safety
- Carry Out a Fire Risk Assessment
- Ensure You Have Fire Safety Equipment
- Appoint Fire Wardens
- Train Employees in Workplace Fire Safety
- Maintain a Tidy Workplace
- Carry out Regular Fire Alarm Checks
- Have Electrical Equipment Checked
1. Carry Out a Fire Risk Assessment
Workplace fire safety begins and ends with a fire risk assessment. Without it, you have no idea what’s required to make your workplace safe. Risk assessments are legally required for all businesses with more than 5 employees, but we would recommend them for every workplace.
A risk assessment considers:
- Where are the fire hazards?
- Who is at risk?
- How can the risk be reduced?
- A risk assessment should be reviewed regularly to maintain its efficacy.
Once a risk assessment has been documented it should be added to meeting agendas as a standing item.
2. Ensure You Have Fire Safety Equipment
Having appropriate fire safety equipment in place may stop a potential fire from occurring. Even if a fire does take hold, smoke alarms, sprinklers, fire doors and signage, and extinguishers will alert employees early on, and help them to keep the fire from spreading out of control as they await the fire services.
3. Appoint Fire Wardens
Whilst business owners are responsible for workplace fire safety, they cannot have their eyes and ears everywhere. Fire wardens are employees who have volunteered to undertake training which helps them to maintain fire safety throughout the workplace. They will create fire safety procedures and ensure that they are maintained. In the event of a fire, it is fire wardens who will manage the evacuation and ensure that no-one is left in the building.
4. Train Employees in Workplace Fire Safety
Fire wardens can’t carry out their duties efficiently unless employees are aware of the role they play in fire safety. Everyone needs to be trained in their responsibilities, should a fire break out. They should know who the fire warden is and be aware of the procedure for evacuation. Poorly trained employees can make a dangerous situation worse; make sure that the risk of fire stays on everyone’s agenda.
5. Maintain a Tidy Workplace
The more cluttered your workplace, the greater fire hazard it represents. Your fire risk assessment should take stock of the appropriate storage of flammable liquids, the regular clearance of litter and waste in communal areas, and the ongoing discipline of keeping evacuation routes clear and clean. Employees should be encouraged to keep desks clear of any build-up of paper, or files.
6. Carry Out Regular Fire Alarm Checks
All fire equipment needs to be tested at regular intervals. A priority though, should be given to fire alarm testing. Fire alarms fitted in commercial premises are required to be carried out weekly, by fire wardens, in order to be compliant. These fire drills should be entered in a fire safety log book, which can be produced if requested by Fire Services.
7. Have Electrical Equipment Checked
PAT testing stands for ‘Portable Appliance Testing’. This is a routine annual inspection of electrical appliances such as kettles, toasters, CCTV or printers used in the workplace, to check they are safe for use. The visual PAT test can be carried out by a Fire Warden, after training. A more detailed check, using PAT testing equipment is recommended every 12 months.
How Can Impact Help?
The Impact fire services team works with local businesses in Bedford and across Bedfordshire to ensure employees and premises are protected should a fire break out. All our fire safety services are carried out in accordance with the BS5839-1 2017 standard, by fully trained and accredited technicians.