The 28th of April 2019 introduced the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, inspired by the ILO centenary anniversary and discussions on the future of work, the world day this year attempted to take stock of a 100 years of work in improving occupational safety and health and looks to the future for continuing these efforts. In support of this day, Firechief have put together this blog explaining why fire safety at work is of vital importance.
Fire safety is one of the most important aspects of health and safety, and is something that all businesses, no matter how small, must give some consideration to. Here in the UK, we have wide ranging and strict fire safety laws, and standards that equipment must follow, to the point that fire safety signage and equipment is commonplace and easily recognised.
Fire risks cannot be understated. Thousands of fires occur in commercial premises each and every year in the UK, with retail distribution centres such as warehouses, and industrial premises the most commonly affected. This costs millions of pounds to rectify, and many businesses struggle to recover following a serious fire.
There’s no debate that fire safety legislation is important – it saves businesses, it keeps people safe from injury, and it also saves lives. There are two main things to think about that demonstrate why the most common types of fire safety practice are so very critical to the everyday running of a business.
The first step in preventing fires from happening in the first place is through thorough preparation as the result of good risk assessment and policy. This is something that the HSE requires businesses or premises managers do before anyone is allowed to work. Ultimately, with excellent prevention strategies, the risk of a fire breaking out in the first place can be hugely reduced, and this is far better than dealing with a fire once it’s broken out.
There are many elements to prevention, but it all starts with the risk assessment that aims to locate potential hazards. Let’s take an office for example. All electrical equipment such as computers and monitors should be checked regularly to ensure that the wiring is safe. Around 25% of accidental workplace fires are caused by electricity, and most could be prevented by the careful checking and use of appliances. Lit cigarettes are another major cause of fires – both commercial and residential – so employees who smoke must ensure that they do so in a designated area, with a fire safe bin for them to dispose of cigarette butts.
In more complex environments, preventative measures may be more significant, such as keeping potentially flammable items such as aerosols away from any potential source of a spark.
In an emergency
Fire safety consideration is everywhere you look, and you might never have noticed much of it before, but it’s there to save lives in an emergency situation. There are many of examples of this.
One such example is the humble fire door, which when closed will contain a fire and stop it spreading to other parts of the building for between 30 and 60 minutes.
Similarly, fire training, and fire drills in particular, can sometimes be seen as a chore, but if they didn’t happen, people would not know what to do in the event of a fire. We like to imagine that we’d make the right choices if we didn’t specifically know where to go in the event of a fire, but the reality is that people make mistakes, and not making the right choice can be a matter of life and death. It can’t be understated how important it is for employees to know what they need to do when the fire alarm goes off.
Firechief manufacture a wide range of Fire Safety Products to keep people safe at work, have a look on our website – www.firechiefglobal.com.
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