Fire prevention in the workplace
Without wanting to state the obvious, a workplace fire can be both disruptive to business but also dangerous for your people and anyone visiting the site, particularly if your employees haven’t had clear training such as taking part in routine fire drills.
Employers, building occupiers and responsible persons have an unconditional responsibility for the safety of employees and fire safety precautions within their premises.
You should firstly decide who the responsible person or competent person is for your overall fire safety and then prepare a fire risk assessment which is a fundamental aspect of managing fire safety precautions.
Preparing a fire risk assessment
The fire risk assessment consists of a number of key elements;
- Identify the fire hazards within the business
- Identify people at risk, these may be employees, members of the public, contractors or special groups of people
- Evaluate, remove or reduce the fire risks requires an assessment of the existing controls that are in place to manage fire safety, this will include electrical safety, housekeeping, chemical storage, staff training and a whole host of other areas;
- Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training.
- Review and update the fire risk assessment
Fire Safety Procedures
Employers and those in control of premises are required to develop, implement, maintain and review fire safety procedures to assist with the evacuation of any premises in a fire situation.
You need to consider shut down procedures, exit routes, assembly points, those groups at special risks, the development of personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPS) and the appointment of fire marshals and Incident Managers to assist in the effective evacuation of the premises.
A good way of checking your fire safety procedures is by carrying out a fire drill. This will help you identify if your employees have adequate training, exit routes are clear and sign posted and that you have the correct fire safety equipment in place and people can use it correctly.
Fire Safety Training
It’s fundamental to the success of fire safety procedures that any employee or volunteers who act or assist in a fire evacuation such as a fire marshal, fire officer or fire warden, has received the correct training. This should cover an induction and progress to a more formal course suitable for the role.
It’s also important for all employees to have basic training to protect themselves and others in case of an emergency. This could be provided by online training, regular fire drills, safety posters around the building or more advanced training if necessary. The aim is for everyone to be as prepared as possible in the event of a fire and know exactly how to exit the building and what they should do in an emergency.
Speak to an expert
Not sure if your fire safety procedures are up to scratch and looking for a competent person to assist with your fire risk assessment?
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