Lets face it, it’s easy to have the “it won’t happen to me” mentality when it comes to fire safety in your workplace. But the truth is, a fire can be catastrophic for your business, your employees and of course your brand reputation. This is why fire safety is an incredibly important aspect of risk management that needs to be taken seriously by every employee and manager in your business.
So, to help you improve the fire safety of your workplace, here are 7 precautions you must know to keep those detrimental fires at bay.
Appoint fire wardens
First and foremost, you should appoint at least one fire warden in your workplace. Fire wardens are members of staff who are responsible for taking control of creating and maintaining fire safety procedures. In the event of a fire, they’ll know how to keep employees, contractors and customers safe, and will be the person in charge coordinating the evacuation.
Stock relevant fire safety equipment
In the event of a fire in a workplace, having the right equipment is essential for alerting employees and members of the public, and potentially extinguish the fire before it gets any bigger and out of control.
With this in mind, ensure your workspace has working universal smoke alarms, the correct fire safety signs, fire escape ladders if necessary and fire prevention systems such as fire extinguishers and sprinklers.
Communicate appropriate fire escape routes
In the event of a fire, clear escape routes out of the building are absolutely vital. All escape routes must be easily identifiable and with instructions about the means of escape displayed. You also need to provide training for your employees on how to escape in the event of an emergency.
Escape routes must be adequately illuminated and free of any obstacles. As an employer, yourself or the fire warden should do daily checks to ensure these areas are not blocked in case a fire were to occur that day.
Keep your workplace tidy and clean
You don’t have to be a genius to work out that messy workplaces contain more health and safety hazards than tidy ones, and many of these hazards are related to fire safety.
Any spare stock should be stored safely, and appropriate control measures implemented to safely store flammable materials and liquids in line with COSHH regulations. You should also ensure that you are regularly removing combustible waste, including accumulations of dust, before it has a chance to build up and become a safety hazard.
Create a fire safety plan
When it comes to keeping your employees, contractors and visitors safe, it is crucial that you have a clear fire safety plan in place. Delivering a fire safety plan is also a legal requirement for workplaces operating in the UK and employers, business owners and landlords are all equally responsible for delivering an adequate fire safety plan.
If you’re unsure where to start, here is everything you need to know about how to create a fire safety plan for your workplace.
Carry out thorough risk assessments
You can’t effectively safeguard against fire if you’re not fully aware of the hazards in your workplace and the risks they pose. So before you begin implementing fire safety control measures, carry out a thorough risk assessment of your workplace.
For businesses with more than five employees, risk assessments are a legal requirement, but they’re also hugely important for protecting your business from harm.
Risk assessments should identify fire hazards i.e. what could cause a fire to start?
Then they should assess the level of risk posed, consider who could be affected, and how fire risks can be alleviated. You can then implement control measures proportionate to the level of risk. To ensure long-term fire safety in the workplace, it’s important to review and potentially revise risk assessments regularly.
Crack down on electrical safety
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget electrical safety! Most businesses will use electrical equipment of some sort – and where there’s electrical equipment, there are fire risks. Faulty wiring or overloaded plug sockets can overheat and spark fires that can quickly spread across the room.
To reduce the risk of electrical fires, repair or get rid of faulty electricals as soon as possible, don’t overload plug sockets, and make sure equipment is regularly inspected and PAT tested.
Guest blog by Kate, on behalf of Morsafe Supplies.