Managing Fire Safety in the Workplace

If there was a fire, how would your employees react?

How would your employees react to a fire on site? Would they be confident in tackling it, or knowing when to evacuate site ensuring people’s safety?

Last week we posted a video on our social media pages. Never did we expect it to get so much interest, but the content of the video obviously shocked many. The clip simply shows how quickly a fire can spread out of control, and how important fire safety training really is.

Here’s the video:

So what went wrong in that situation?

  1. It’s immediately obvious that the employees on site had no fire safety training to call on. None of them knew what to do, and the panic amongst them was clear to see.
  2. They were struggling to locate a fire extinguisher, which indicates that there was more than likely no trained fire warden on site.
  3. Once an extinguisher was located, it was the wrong one for the type of fire. This caused the fire to spread rapidly, causing extensive damage to the immediate surroundings.

Within minutes, the business was forced to stop work. This resulted in costly business downtime, building and equipment repairs, loss of business and potential damage to business reputation.

So how do you protect your business from a similar fate? Here’s the top three fire issues you need to address for fire safety:

FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT

A recent fire risk assessment is essential in most business premises. It is a methodical evaluation of all the fire risks present on a site, looking particularly at fire hazards, the likelihood of them occurring and the consequences of a fire occurring.

The fire risk assessment will look at how effective the existing fire precautions are, and any additional measures that may be needed.

In respect to the video above, the fire risk assessment will determine the type of fire extinguishers required on site for the specific fire risks present.

You can check if your building needs a fire risk assessment here, as well as understand what a fire risk assessment looks at and how often it needs to be reviewed.

FIRE SAFETY TRAINING

Fire safety training for employees is a legal requirement and should be carried as soon as possible of an employee joining the company. Training helps your employees to understand the types of fire risk present in your business, and how to deal with them effectively if they occur.

A basic fire safety awareness course ensures your employees:

  • understand the risk of fire
  • know the different types of fire hazard present
  • can identify which type of extinguisher to use on each different fire type

Regular refresher training is also mandatory and should be carried out every 12 months.

FIRE WARDEN

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it’s a legal requirement to not only provide basic fire safety training, but also to assign the role of fire warden to a member or members of staff. More than one fire warden is often required to provide cover for holidays or shift patterns.

Fire safety trainingA fire warden is responsible for the safety of employees and carrying out a safe evacuation in the event of a fire. Their responsibilities include:

  • raising the alarm in the event of a fire
  • conducting a safe evacuation, directing employees towards the nearest fire escape route
  • assisting any people with visual, hearing or mobility issues to leave the building safely
  • checking the building to ensure everyone has left
  • closing all fire doors and exits to prevent further spread of fire
  • conducting a roll call of people on site to check everyone is out of the building

The role of fire warden also comes with responsibilities out of the scope of emergency evacuations. Whilst it is a business’ responsibility to ensure fire safety measures are in place, it is the role of a fire warden to ensure procedures surrounding these measures are implemented correctly. These include ensuring:

  • fire doors and emergency exits and routes are kept free from obstruction
  • fire alarm systems are tested and maintained regularly
  • reduction of fire risk from improper use of electrical items and overloaded plug sockets
  • flammable items are correctly managed
  • all fire documents such as log books and training records are kept up to date

Need help with Fire Safety?

It’s impossible to ensure a fire never occurs in your business premises. However, following the results of your fire risk assessment and ensuring you have the correct fire safety systems in place alongside regular fire safety training will significantly decrease the risk of fire.

All Things Fire & Security protect businesses from fire risk across the West Yorkshire region. If you have any concerns over your company’s fire safety provision, then contact us today for free, no obligation advice. Call us on 08000 439 440 or fill in your details here and we’ll get back to you.