Like in any commercial setting, fire safety is just as important in an office environment as it is in any other type of business or industry. From fire extinguishers and stands to alarms and signage, all of these elements will play a vital part when it comes to protecting your employees, visitors and your premises from the danger of fire.
The team at Hartson Fire has come up with these guidelines explaining who is responsible for fire safety in your workplace, the most common fire hazards in a office and how to keep your business safe and compliant.
The responsible person for your office can be one of a few different people depending on the size and type of your workplace. It’s usually the owner or employer- though if you’re renting your office space, you should liaise with your landlord or building manager to ensure all aspects of fire safety are covered across the building.
This person is responsible for a range of fire safety related activities in your office including@
Most people think of offices as a fairly safe place, and in most instances it will be. But when it comes to fire safety, it’s often the things you may not even think about which can pose a hazard.
For example, electrical equipment can normally function on a daily basis with no issues at all. However, it only takes one faulty piece of equipment to create a fire. That’s why it’s important to check equipment for faults and carry out PAT testing for your portable appliances. This will help ensure all equipment in your office is safe and will also identify items that may need replacing due to faults, which could ultimately cause a fire.
In some offices, if the central heating isn’t up to scratch in winter, employees may be tempted to use portable heaters. These too can create a hazard if placed too close to waste bins or in confined spaces without ventilation.
Having a properly planned your evacuation routes is also very important. You might think people know where to go, but without a plan or the appropriate signage, there could be serious consequences as a swift, safe exit is vital to avoid the loss of lives. Keeping these routes clear of flammable materials is also vitally important for offices and these routes should not be used for storage.
This signage can not only help with the safe evacuation of a building but will all direct staff and visitors to where the correct assembly point is. On top of this, not having the right equipment in place for the safe evacuation of disabled persons is also something offices need to consider as this is required under the Equality Act 2010.
Even the small things like wedging a fire door open can be dangerous in an office, as these doors are designed to hold back the fire from spreading while an evacuation plan is put into action.
Most offices will have general fire risks from things such as furniture, waste paper bins, shelving and office consumables and perhaps some flammable liquids. As a result most office will need:
Class A extinguishers - Suitable for solid combustible materials such as wood and textiles, these materials are often found in offices in the form of doors, notice boards, furniture and carpets.
Class B extinguishers - Suitable for flammable liquids such as petrol and oil, these materials are often found in offices in the form of furniture polish and cleaning materials which are left lying around.
Some offices will also have general fire risks from things such as carpets, wooden doors and furniture. In this instance, a water mist fire extinguisher is suitable for use on class A, B, C, F and Electrical risks and are ideal for use in corridors as multi-purpose extinguishers.
Click here for our full list of extinguishers so you can see which is right for your environment ,
It is also a legal requirement to have all fire extinguishers regularly checked and serviced. This is one of the main services offered by the team at Hartson Fire and designed to keep you, your people and your property safe and to ensure you are compliant with your legal obligations.
Read more about our fire extinguisher servicing here or call us today on the number below: