The Importance of Fire Protection in the workplace
Fire safety in any building absolutely essential. As a business owner and employer, you are responsible for ensuring the workplace meets all the required Health and Safety standards. It is fundamental that your working environment complies with all building regulations in order to ensure the safety of your employees and to protect the building itself.
If you don’t follow fire safety regulations, you could be fined or even go to prison. So it is absolutely imperative that you know exactly what you need to do.
As an employer, you must carry out a Fire Risk Assessment and review it periodically. The aim of a Fire Risk Assessment is to; identify any risks, identify people that might be at risk, evaluate and remove the risk and record any findings, plan for an emergency and provide training.
When conducting a FRA, you will need to consider;
- emergency routes and exits
- fire detection and warning systems
- firefighting equipment
- the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
- an emergency fire evacuation plan
- the needs of vulnerable people, for example the elderly, young children or those with disabilities
- providing information to employees and other people on the premises
- staff fire safety training
BDL’S top 5 tips in preventing a workplace fire.
Ensure all electrical devices are turned off at the end of every day.Although simply turning your computer monitor off might seem like the most popular thing to do at the end of each shift, it is definitely not the smartest in regards to reducing the risk of a fire. Plus, think of your electricity bill! Most of us are probably guilty of being lazy when it comes to shutting down equipment. Naturally, people tend to be impatient and if there is a way we can speed things up, we will find it! Starting up your entire hardrive each morning may take longer than just turning the screens back on and getting down to work, but this increases the risk of appliances overheating and ultimately, causing a fire. This goes for all electrical appliances, sparing 10 minutes at the end of each day to ensure things are properly turned off, can save you the risk of losing everything!
Regular checks and fault reportsIt is essential that all electrical appliances are regularly checked and any faults are reported straightaway. Electrical faults are the most common cause for workplace fires. If damaged cables or appliances are spotted early on, they can be replaced immediately reducing the risk of a fire. It is good business practice to involve everyone in the inspection of electrical faults. Try implementing a process where all individuals check over their own work stations periodically and therefore are responsible for the safety of their own equipment.
Overloading circuits? BIG NO NO.Overloading circuits beyond their recommended capacity can cause the fuse to blow and potentially risk starting a fire. Ensure you have a sufficient number of connections and DO NOT overload them.
Keep all areas tidyAs well as maintaining a professional office working environment that is organised and welcoming, clutter and mess are also another huge factor when it comes to workplace fires. Overloading areas with boxes, files, scrap paper, waste etc. can have a devastating impact, should they catch fire. Ensure you have sufficient storage and waste disposal areas that are kept away from electrical appliances, wires and sockets etc.
SmokingAlthough smoking in public places is illegal in England, many people still require cigarette breaks and as an employer, it is reasonable to provide a designated area for your staff to smoke in. It is sensible to create this area away from any direct entrances and provide a cigarette waste disposal. It is paramount that the individuals who smoke ensure their cigarette is completely put out before leaving the area to reduce the risk of anything catching fire.
While considering all the above is a great start, you cannot guarantee that you and your business is safe until you test it out. Regular fire evacuations and tests are recommended in order to ensure everyone is up to speed and knows what to do in the event of an emergency. Where fires are concerned, prevention is absolutely vital and by having a plan in place, you could potentially save lives as well as your business.