Any fire-related threat poses a substantial risk to all businesses, and as many of us know, something that can start small, can be the cause of something severely damaging. As recent news stories have shown, it is more apparent than ever that even the materials used on our buildings can be a massive threat.
Fire has the potential to cause your business building to become unusable, it can destroy all of your equipment/stock, and as a worst-case scenario, loss of life. So, why would you take the risk in the first place? In this blog, we will discuss simple workplace safety procedures that can be put in place, to ensure that your business and workforce are as safe as they can be.
Workplace Fire Safety
Every employer must assess their workplace to see that the necessary precautions are in place and to ensure that they will help reduce any fire-related risks. (This is, of course, to be compliant with the health & safety laws.)
The potential risks will of course differ from business to business and may be threats from such things as faulty electrical equipment, wiring installations, materials not stored correctly etc;. It may from accidental causes such as smokers who are around the workplace. This could arise from not having strict policies around smoking within your health and safety guidelines. These should inform workers that they should not be smoking inside or in close proximity to the premises, and should detail provision for areas where smoking is permitted.
Carry Out Effective Risk Assessments
You might now be wondering what employers should be doing to safeguard against the risk of fire? Utilise our guides in the following sections, proceed through them step by step, as they will help to minimise the risk of workplace fire incidents. Remember to share them with your colleagues and workforce because it’s just as important for every member of your team to be involved and familiar with procedures to protect from fire-related risks, as it is for yourself.
Make sure to note down these vital steps:
- Carry out a fire risk assessment.
- Separate your sources, in this case, it would be what is a source of ignition, and what is a source of fuel.
- Make sure your housekeeping is maintained at all times.
- Check regularly that your fire alarms and smoke alarms are in full working order.
- Have all the appropriate fire combatting equipment, and make sure it is available to extinguish a fire before it becomes unmanageable.
- Take the time out to make sure yourself and your employees have received the full and appropriate training.
- Review and update your risk assessments regularly, in case any changes need to be made.
Maintain All Of Your Fire Protection Equipment
It is vital to ensure that all of your fire protection equipment is fully maintained, otherwise when it comes to the time it is needed, it may not be fit for purpose. This continuing protection of staff and occupants also relies on fully-functioning equipment as well as the knowledge from their training. This could include the checking of fire detection/alarm systems, emergency lighting systems and fire extinguisher equipment.
Fire Alarms & Fire Detection Systems
A periodic check of your fire safety systems should be carried out to make sure that they are all fully functioning and in perfect working order. It is recommended that you should carry out these certain checks:
- Daily – Check out that the alarm panel is indicating normal working operation.
- Weekly – Test at least one operating point or end of line switch on each zone circuit to sound the alarm or any other warning devices you may have.
- Quarterly – You should test procedures carried out by the manufacturer, or any person who is competent to do so. Do the same procedure annually too.
Maintenance Of Escape Routes
The occupants of the building cannot easily evacuate if your escape routes are either obstructed or if exits are locked. This makes it essential for your fire safety management to be up to scratch.
However, this can only be achieved if you regularly check that your routes are not obstructed, and if all of your fire-resistant doors are kept closed (or automatic closers linked to a fire alarm are maintained.) Also, make sure that exit doors are functioning at all times. Escape routes should be inspected on a regular basis, and any obstructions on the escape route should be removed immediately and further steps should be taken to ensure this does not happen again.
Manage & Train Your Staff
Every single one of your workers, this even includes temporary or part-time workers, should all receive training and instructions in the following:
- Fire prevention duties.
- All the required emergency procedures, including fire evacuation drills for example.
- Know the layout of the building, including all the available escape routes.
- The location of all the fire alarm call points, and all of the first-aid and fire-fighting equipment.
- Arrangements in place for calling the fire brigade and ambulance services.
- What needs to be carried out when assisting the fire brigade.
- All of the fire control techniques, this includes how to use fire extinguishers, fire blankets and hoses. Also, need to consider closing doors and windows to prevent fire spread, and shutting off all electrical and fuel supplies where possible.
- And finally, the purpose of fire doors and the importance of not keeping them open.
With all of these techniques now provided to you, why not consider looking through your health and safety procedure and see what you could do to improve your worker’s overall safety. Plus, if you would like to learn more about fire control and what your premises will be best equipped with, then feel free to call us on 01427 666111.