Fire presents a significant risk to businesses. It can kill or seriously injure employees or visitors and can also damage or destroy buildings, equipment or stock. With this in mind, the team at Hartson Fire is recommending that business owners make fire safety their number one workplace New Year Resolution in 2020.
Here’s why this is so important.
There are a number of very common causes of fire in the workplace including:
Your New Year Resolution should include carrying out a risk assessment to identify potential fire hazards and then putting in place measures to minimise the risk of these hazards.
To help prevent a fire starting in the workplace, as well as identifying potential hazards, you should also ensure you have in place good fire safety practices. These should include:
Again a fire risk assessment will identify any bad practices with suggestions on how to improve these practices.
All businesses need to be prepared for an emergency, such as a fire. An emergency plan should clearly explain what to do in the event of an incident. It should also describe the responsibilities of key employees and what they need to do.
You should also have a written evacuation procedure. This procedure should explain what needs to happen in the event of a fire alarm being raised. For example, the location of fire alarm call points, extinguishers, exits and details of nominated persons along with their areas of responsibility.
Training is very important, and all employees need to be familiar with the emergency plan.
Most importantly, you should then test your emergency procedures regularly, including carrying out a fire drill at least twice a year. The drill will help to ensure that the plan works, and that people can follow it.
Regular checking and testing will enable you to correct any problems identified during the drills.
It’s not enough to simply have a series of fire extinguishers, alarms and detectors scattered around the workplace. You also need to identify which type of extinguishers you will need, where they will be located along with clearly visible instructions.
Fire extinguishers should be situated close to fire hazards, and you need to make sure that people can access them without being exposed to any risk. People that are likely to use fire extinguishers should receive training on how to use them.
Most importantly, this equipment needs to be checked and serviced regularly to ensure they are all in full working order. In fact, the British Standard for fire extinguishers recommends that every extinguisher receives a basic service annually, carried out by a service engineer
You also need to provide a method for detecting a fire quickly and raising the alarm. The warning system, when it has been set off from any point, should be clearly heard throughout the premises. It should provide enough warning for people to evacuate the building safely. Fire alarms should be tested at least once a week.
All escape routes must be easily identifiable, with clear signage and instructions about the means of escape displayed. You also need to provide instructions and training for your employees on how to escape in the event of an emergency (which can be done when carrying out a fire drill).
You need to ensure that there are enough exits through the building, and that they are in the right places. This will ensure that, in the event of a fire anywhere in the building, there is at least one free route available.
The type and size of exits will depend on the number of people likely to use them in the event of an evacuation. Escape routes must be adequately illuminated and free of any obstacles. You should carry out regular checks to ensure this practice is followed.
You also need to make arrangements to ensure the safe evacuation of everybody in your premises. Your fire risk assessment should identify groups of people at risk, taking particular care of vulnerable groups or individuals such as children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Hartson Fire is a family-run business with a reputation for the delivery and servicing of fire equipment to many businesses across South West Wales. To find our more visit our website www.harstonfire.co.uk or call us on the number below to book an appointment: