With many offices returning to their pre-pandemic routines and hybrid working here to stay, it’s vital to ensure your workplace is compliant with fire safety guidelines. Even a small fire can become catastrophic if the correct training and equipment is not in place. With this in mind, the team at Firepoint has compiled our top tips to ensure your workplace is fire safe.
Ensure there is a properly trained fire warden
It is a legal requirement for all workplaces to have a designated fire warden on the premises during working hours. It is their responsibility to familiarise themselves with fire safety protocol and ensure it is being followed. In the event of a fire, the fire warden will coordinate an evacuation and conduct a head count. The workplace is also legally obligated to provide adequate training to guarantee their fire warden is armed with all the relevant knowledge required to keep employees safe.
Carry out a thorough fire safety risk assessment
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, every workplace must conduct a formal fire risk assessment. A qualified assessor will make a note of all potential fire hazards, before determining their level of risk and how they can be mitigated. A risk assessment should be performed annually to minimise the probability of a workplace fire.
Ensure your workplace has all the correct fire safety equipment
As established under the Fire Safety Order, every commercial premise must be equipped with appropriate fire safety equipment. This can vary between workplaces depending on how high risk they are. However, all businesses should have well maintained fire doors, fire extinguishers and fire alarms. In the event of a fire, this equipment can alert employees early and potentially prevent a blaze from burning uncontrollably.
Regularly carry out electrical tests and maintenance
Most businesses operate using numerous amounts of electrical apparatus. With so much equipment, it can be difficult to ensure all electric goods are in full working order. However, faulty wiring or an overloaded electrical outlet could quickly spark to cause a blaze. That’s why all electrical equipment should be inspected and PAT tested regularly; this includes any chargers or electrical products employees may bring in from home.
Store flammable materials away from the building
Many seemingly innocuous items around your workplace can act as inadvertent kindling in the event of a fire. One example of this is polystyrene; although this may look harmless, it is actually a B3 material. This means it’s extremely flammable and a fire hazard if left lying around. There should be a proper waste disposal system in place for all flammable materials; these should be ideally stored away from populated buildings to minimise risk.
Train all staff in basic fire safety
Although each workplace is legally required to have a designated fire warden, it’s never a bad idea to train further staff in fire safety. An emergency situation can be incredibly stressful, so if more staff are familiar with safety protocols then it will lead to a calmer evacuation. This can be achieved via fire safety training, which will educate employees on procedure and ensure they can operate fire safety equipment.
Routinely test fire alarms and carry out fire drills
An effective fire alarm system provides an early warning in the event of a fire, allowing for a faster evacuation. It is important that your fire alarms are regularly maintained and frequent fire drills are conducted. These drills ensure everyone is aware of evacuation procedures and better prepared to handle an emergency situation.
Keep the workplace clutter-free
Dry goods – such as cardboard and reams of paper – can quickly accumulate in a workplace environment. If all stored together, they provide the perfect fuel for a potential fire. It’s important to be mindful of storage techniques and perhaps enforce a clean desk policy to prevent paper accumulating. Not only is clutter fuel for a fire, but if it blocks exits it can disrupt a potential evacuation; fire exits must be kept clear at all times.
Ensure all fire doors are kept shut
Fire doors are an essential part of a building’s passive protection measures and can withstand a blaze long enough to allow for escape. There is a temptation to keep fire doors propped open for convenience, particularly in warmer months. However, it is vitally important that all fire doors remain shut, to prevent fire infiltrating escape routes.
Use a competent and trustworthy fire protection company
A competent fire protection company is essential for every business. They work with up-to-date industry guidance to ensure that you won’t be found liable in the event of a fire. A trustworthy fire safety provider will spot hazards you may have been unaware of and install preventative measures to protect you and your employees.
Firepoint has been operating in commercial premises across Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham since 1987. We specialise in fire safety equipment and training for businesses across the North East and Scotland. Our FETA qualified team has a wealth of experience and qualifications to ensure your workplace is fully compliant with all UK laws. To discuss enhancing fire safety measures at your workplace, contact our friendly team today.