Organisations are vulnerable to a plethora of threats that can impact their people and their performance, as well as the longevity of the business. From natural disasters to power outages and workplace fires, organisations must deal with the pressure of maintaining health and safety in the workplace.
Unpredictable and life-threatening, a major fire in the workplace can be catastrophic for businesses. It threatens the safety of your employees and the public whilst destroying expensive equipment which could ruin your brand reputation.
Whilst organisations are generally good at following fire safety protocols, it is always good to know the precautions to prevent it. And in the event of one, we’ve written the following six top tips to keep your workplace safe and secure from a fire.
Fire Safety in the Workplace
1. Carry Out Thorough Fire Risk Assessments
In order to effectively safeguard your organisation from fire, everyone has to be fully aware of the hazards in your workspace and the risks that they pose. Fire risk assessments make you aware of obstacles in the way of vulnerable people’s safety and can help you create a plan in case of an emergency.
For businesses with more than five employees, risk assessments are a legal requirement but are also immensely important to sustain health and safety in the workplace. They must identify these issues:
- What could cause a fire to start?
- Assess the level of risk posed and who could be affected
- How can the fire risks be mitigated?
- Implement control measures proportionate to the level of risk
To ensure long-term fire safety in the workplace, it’s important to review and revise fire risk assessments regularly.
2. Provide Employees with Fire Safety Training
On top of a fire risk assessment, the only way to be truly sure your control measures will be effective is to train your employees in fire safety. In the event of a fire, they must know what to do – whether that’s raising the alarm or evacuating the building using appropriate walkways.
Also, staff must know who their fire wardens are as they are responsible for leading workplace fire risk and prevention. Not only would staff be putting themselves at risk, but they would also be unnecessarily putting others at risk without the right awareness and preparation of fire safety procedures.
With the correct training and practical experience running fire drills, staff will be able to effectively implement health and safety in the workplace in the event of a fire.
3. Keep Your Workplace Clean and Tidy
Untidy workplaces are a hazard to health and safety in the workplace and many of these hazards are related to fire safety. If your workspace has a lot of clutter, the “fire load” of that space increases which might also spread through the entire building. Cluttered areas can also prevent people from taking swift action if it is an emergency and they need to evacuate. This is why stairs, corridors and fire exits have to be as clear as possible to allow a proper flow of movement.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, appropriate control measures must be implemented regarding the storage of flammable liquids in storage areas and workrooms. In other words, flammable materials should be stored elsewhere if they aren’t being used in the workplace because it’s another hazard to people’s safety. They must be stored in fire-resistant containers or cabinets that can retain spills.
4. Remembering Electrical Safety
More often than not, businesses will be using some form of electrical equipment – and where there’s electrical equipment, there is always a risk of fire. Overloaded plug sockets, daisy-chaining and faulty wiring are all capable of overheating and creating fires that quickly spread.
To reduce the risk of electrical fires, it is important to repair or replace faulty electrical equipment as soon as possible. Making sure new or existing equipment is PAT tested before use is also essential in detecting the potential risks of fires caused by faulty equipment. Here at UKSM, we offer professional, reliable PAT testing services, ensuring that all your electrical equipment is working correctly and safely. Our expertise also extends to fixed wire testing (EICR), helping to minimise risk of fire or electrocution.
5. Designate Fire Wardens
Fire wardens are members of staff who are responsible for taking control and maintaining fire safety procedures to uphold health and safety in the workplace. In the event of a fire, they are in charge of coordinating evacuation procedures and checking that no one is left in the building. There should be at least one fire warden in your workplace.
Fire wardens will need to undergo fire warden training and after that they will know exactly how to maintain fire safety. In the event of a fire, they’ll know how to keep customers and employees safe.
6. Have The Correct Fire Safety Equipment
Having up-to-date, relevant fire safety equipment can reduce the risk of a fire occurring as well as being helpful in preventing further damage. If a fire does start in the workplace, the proper equipment can alert employees and the public, and hopefully extinguish the fire before it grows out of control.
From fire exit signs and lighting to escape ladders and smoke alarms – these are just as important as fire prevention systems like fire extinguishers and sprinklers to maintain health and safety in the workplace. It is also vital that your fire safety equipment be maintained in full working order. At UKSM, we provide an array of testing services, including fire extinguisher testing, ensuring that this invaluable piece of firefighting equipment is always in full working order.
Get Started Today
Do you need help keeping your workplace safe from fires? Contact us or check out our fire alarm servicing and fire extinguish servicing to see if your equipment is up-to-date. We also offer fire risk assessments to identify the potential risks and hazards. Reach out and we’ll get in touch!