The nature of the work and materials involved in production processes and storage systems in factories and warehouses can mean a greater chance of certain types of fire. As a result in these premises, appropriate action to comply with current legislation and protect lives will be required.

The engineers from Hartson Fire have come up with these guidelines to help warehouse and factory owners and managers to ensure they are complying with this legislation.

Fire Safety in Warehouses and Factories

Factories and warehouses may use or store materials and perform certain practises which could increase the risk of fires, making it vital for thorough fire safety checks. In order to protect the lives of employees and visitors, factories and warehouses must adhere to current legislation. For example, the BS 5306 states that a person should never be more than 30 metres away from an appropriate fire extinguisher, wherever they are on the premises. Buildings must also provide a clear and unobstructed fire exit route and fire assembly point and use adequate signage to highlight fire extinguisher information, fire safety risks, correct behaviours, and direct people to the designated exit route.

The Role of a Responsible Person

The responsible person in a factory or warehouse could be the owner, manager or another employer but they must be specified. This means that a responsible person must be registered as such and accountable for fire safety in the premises.

While there are general fire safety precautions which all responsible persons will need to know about, there are also additional, environment-specific fire safety risks they must also take into account.

The responsible person oversees precautionary measures and equipment put in place to minimise fire risks, reduce the spread of fire and smoke in the event of a fire, and provide safe means of evacuation. This means installing fire doors and other fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and alarms, a safe exit route and fire assembly point. While the installation of some general fire safety measures (such as signage) can be carried out by the responsible person, fire extinguisher servicing and maintenance must be performed to a satisfactory standard by a certified and competent engineer like those employed by Hartson Fire.

Depending on the environment, building type, and work being conducted, the responsible person in a warehouse or factory must also consider fire risks specific to that setting. For example, factories and warehouses may store flammable gases, unlike many other workplaces. In this case, it is the responsible person’s role to identify the fire risks here and implement the placing of necessary equipment and delivery of procedures, such as installing the correct types of fire extinguisher. This involves a crucial part of the responsible person’s role – the fire risk assessment. 

Identifying Hazards in a Factory or Warehouse

A fire risk assessment should be undertaken by the responsible person to identify fire hazards so they can implement suitable measures to comply with current legislation and reduce the likelihood or impact of the risk. The fire risk assessment is one of the most important parts of the responsible person’s role. There are many risks for factories and warehouses that must be considered when performing a fire risk assessment, including:

  • Processes involving flammable substances
  • Discarded smoking materials
  • Misuse or faults of electrical appliances
  • Appliances or cooking performed in workplace kitchenettes
  • Storage of flammable or combustible materials
  • Work involving gas torches, angle grinders and similar heavy machinery and equipment.

Extinguisher Maintenance and Servicing

The responsible person is also accountable when it comes to maintaining fire safety equipment on their premises by ensuring regular inspections and adjusting measures accordingly. For example, they must schedule and ensure annual fire extinguisher services by a trained engineer and follow up on any recommended action from the service.

At Hartson Fire, we carry out fire extinguisher servicing at a number of factories and warehouses across Wales and the South West – find out what you can expect from a Hartson Fire service here.

We are also able to provide a comprehensive range of fire safety signage for all areas of a factory or warehouse, including fire exits and assembly points.   Click here for our full range.