Today sees the first of a three-part series of posts on Fire Safety tips in the Workplace. We hope you find them useful for your business.
As a business owner and more importantly, as an employer, you are required by law to ensure that your property has been assessed for the risk of fire and that related policies/procedures are in place mitigating such risks. The responsibility not only extends beyond your employees but also to anyone visiting the workplace. The following article contains some simple steps you can take to help nullify any potential risks associated with fire and the devastating effect it can have on a modern-day business.
Please note this is my own guide and should only be used as a starting point for implementing your own fire-safety plan as regulations may change from time to time.
In my experience, following these 5 points has helped us keep our business and employees safe but I must stress that we review our own plan on a regular basis. Our plan relates to an office environment and if you are in the manufacturing or industrial sectors there may be additional steps you need to take. I am happy though to share this as a starting point. Either way, I would strongly recommend prior to implementation of your own plan that you contact your local authority regarding regulatory changes and also check with Government guidelines which can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities/who-is-responsible.
I hope you find this useful and please feel free to let me know if there are any ways you think I can improve on this to help others.
Carry out regular fire-risk assessments | Fire Safety Tips
The main aim of a fire-risk assessment is to identify the key fire hazards within the business and establish who (if anyone) is particularly at risk. You must take into account permanent and temporary staff as well as customers, suppliers or volunteers that may come on-site. In short, anyone that enters the premises.
As the business owner you are ultimately responsible in making sure your premises are not at risk and that an emergency plan is in place. Prior to trading, you must have this plan in place.
Fire safety plan | Fire Safety Tips
The key points for a plan are as follows
- Identify a “responsible person” to undertake a fire risk assessment and to continually check that the plan is adhered to. Typically this is the owner, although it may be a delegated role providing the person has suitable training. Please be aware that the owner of the building (if you have a landlord) also has some responsibility so you are obliged to co-operate on this issue.
- Identify the key fire hazards within the business. Typical risks for offices include electrical equipment, paper/paper waste and archived files. Depending upon your industry you may need to also include specialist materials (if they are in use) that can include hazardous or toxic waste. Please be aware that there are advanced requirements for these and you should check with your local authority regarding additional steps you may need to take.
- Consider those at special risk, such as disabled persons, the elderly or children that may come on to the site during hours of work.
- Construct an emergency plan to counter-act any risks identified above.
The fire safety plan should:
- Identify risks
- Identify measures to be taken to reduce the likelihood of fire
- Provide employees with necessary precautions to take to reduce risk
- Inform staff on how to react to fire should one be discovered
- Detail evacuation and training plans associated with Fire safety
- Plan building exit strategy, prepare notices and put in place procedures for evacuation including contact details for emergency services
- Re-asses if practices change, new staff join or new risks are identified
- Check back on Monday 13/06/16 for part two of this article.