Fire Safety: What Your Business Should Know
Following the Grenfell Tower disaster almost 18 months ago, fire safety is a topic that’s been coming up in the UK media with increasing frequency. However, because of the nature of that fire, more often than not it’s been focused on the building materials used.
We think it’s also important to make sure you understand your obligations as a business though. There are some essential steps you need to take to ensure the safety of your staff, clients and members of the public in the event of a fire at your workplace.
It can be hard work to comb through the relevant legislation to work out exactly what you need to do. Handily, Business Mole recently published an article that runs through the main points from the Regulation Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005 and gives you some advice on how to put together a fire risk assessment.
The first thing to understand is what the rules concerning fire safety actually are. Under this order, all businesses must complete a fire risk assessment. This not only needs to consider all the potential fire risks in a building, but also how vulnerable people will escape in the event of a fire.
Once the fire risks have been identified, it’s your responsibility to remove as many as is practicable. For those that remain, you need to reduce them as much as possible and ensure that you have general fire precautions in place to mitigate your risk.
If your business employs more than five people, you need to keep a record of your fire risk assessments as well as of any reviews you make.
Finally, if you run a business that stores or uses flammable or explosive materials, you need to take “appropriate measures” to protect your workers, visitors and customers, as well as your building and machinery.
You’ll need to appoint a responsible person who is in charge of carrying out these risk assessments and making sure any steps identified by them are actioned.
If you want more of your staff to be prepared in the event of a fire, getting them to take a RoSPA fire safety and evacuation course could be sensible.
When it comes to carrying out the actual risk assessment you need to begin by identifying all the potential fire safety hazards, as well as anyone who would be considered at risk in the event of a fire.
Don’t forget about the possibility of electrical fires at your workplace either. The West Sussex County Times recently reported that there have been nearly 500 electrical fires in the region, which has prompted the local fire service to launch an awareness campaign about the causes of electrical fires.
These include faulty wiring or plugs, overloaded adaptors or sockets, and items like mobile phones t and e-cigarettes hat are left charging unattended.
Once you’ve identified all the possible hazards at your workplace you need to evaluate each in turn. Where possible, remove the hazard completely. When that’s not an option, make sure that you’ve reduced the risk as much as you can and have provided equipment and training to help protect those working for you.