When it comes to fire safety, businesses have a duty to keep their employees safe and it’s wise to check that, as an employer, you are complying with your responsibilities under The Fire Safety Order 2005.
Business fire safety obligations
Each business should have a designated ‘responsible’ person for the purpose of fire safety. They should:
- Regularly undertake and review a fire risk assessment of the business premises – this should take into account fire hazards (fuel, ignition and oxygen), people’s location around the premises, risks (of a fire starting, risk to people, fire hazards and obstacles for a fast and smooth evacuation).
- Inform staff about the risks identified
- Put in place, and maintain, appropriate fire safety measures – such as equipping a fire detection system, making sure there is protection if flammable or explosive materials are used or stored and ensuring there are accessible exit routes
- Create and publicise within the business a plan for an emergency
- Equip staff with information, fire safety instruction and training
Local fire and rescue authorities have the right to inspect premises and can issue fire safety notices with changes your business needs to make in relation to fire safety. If you do not follow the current UK fire safety regulations you could be fined or sent to prison.
The government has produced an excellent guide for businesses about how to comply with fire safety law. See – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: a short guide to making your premises safe from fire
In the guide fire precautions recommended to businesses include:
- A fire-detection and warning system which is able to warn people in all circumstances
- A means of fighting a small fire in the form of multi-purpose fire extinguishers with a guaranteed shelf life. Typically there should be 1 extinguisher for every 200 m2 of floor space and at least one extinguisher per floor.
- Designated safe routes for people to exit the premises – ideally there should be more than one route and stairways, corridors and areas near fire exits need to be clear of obstructions and flammable materials
- Suitable fire exit doors which do not need a key or specialist knowledge to open them
Other fire safety measures
It is also sensible to consider these other fire safety measures as part of your planning:
- Emergency lighting or photo luminescent strips which can guide people to fire exits if the normal lighting electricity source fails
- Fire safety signage pointing the quickest and safest exit routes
- An ongoing management process to ensure fire safety systems in the business are regularly checked and re-assessed
- A regular training programme to ensure staff are fully knowledgeable of fire risks in the premises and the procedure to follow if a fire breaks out.
When it comes to purchasing fire safety equipment and services, the Fire Industry Association, is a good source of knowledge for the relevant British Standards. The information they provide can help you to select equipment which meets the latest safety standards. The FIA can also guide you on its accredited members for selection and installation of fire equipment.
Can we help?
And for over 25years we have helped businesses of all shapes and sizes put in place the right systems and procedures to comply with their fire safety obligations. If you would like a free survey to discuss fire detection in your business, please contact the team on tel 01483 791500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org