Fire safety in the workplace: What you need to know

The risk of fire continues to be one of the most significant workplace dangers. With the potential to seriously injure or kill visitors or employees, as well as damage stock, equipment and buildings, the impact could be massive.

Fire safety in the workplace

Image Credit

Legal responsibilities

If you are a landlord, employer, occupier or owner, you will be responsible for fire safety in non-domestic or business premises (the ‘responsible person’). There may be multiple responsible persons in shared premises.

As the responsible person, you are legally obliged to:

– Undertake regular fire risk assessments and reviews
– Inform employees about risks identified
– Put appropriate measures in place to increase fire safety and maintain these
– Create an emergency plan
– Provide training, fire safety instructions and information to all employees

The rules in Scotland and Northern Ireland are slightly different.

Assessing fire risks

This entails considering:

– Exits and emergency routes
– Fire alarms, detection and systems for early warning
– Equipment for fire fighting
– Safe storage of hazardous substances
– An evacuation plan
– Additional consideration for vulnerable people, such as people with disabilities, the elderly and very young children
– How to inform employees and those visiting the premises
– Training

Guides are available to assist with fire risk assessments. However, if you lack the time or expertise to undertake these, it may be necessary to employ the help of an outside agency, such as risk assessors, who are specialist fire risk assessors in Gloucester.

Evacuation plans

A fire evacuation plan must show:

– Direct escape routes which are clearly marked and unobstructed
– Sufficient exits to accommodate the number of people in the building
– Easy to open emergency doors
– Emergency lighting if required
– Training for staff, so they can offer guidance to others during an emergency situation
– A meeting point for staff and visitors
– Special arrangements must be made for wheelchair users and others with mobility needs

Equipment, drills and training

Systems for detection and early warning, appropriate for the area and type of building they are utilised in, should be installed.

Equipment should also be appropriate for the type of business and building. All equipment must be regularly tested, checked and maintained. Staff should also be properly trained to use it.