Under Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) every employer shall identify hazards, assess risks and have a written risk assessment, including any unusual or other risks.
Effective fire safety should be a top priority for every business. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for fire safety protection. Each individual business will have its own collection of unique fire hazards. For example, shops and retail outlets will need to be mindful of flammable display materials, and plan for narrow or congested exit routes while restaurants will need to be aware of the risks posed by open flames, hot oil and other high-risk fuel sources.
As such, effective fire safety protocols tend to have a multifaceted approach; starting with a comprehensive risk assessment process and then branching out to address any areas of concern in the most effective way possible. This might mean looking for ways to update high-risk processes, investing in fire safety training for key members of staff, or establishing a more robust evacuation plan.
To help you get started, we’ve outlined a five-step process to help you:
Start with a fire risk assessment
A thorough fire risk assessment will help you to identify potential hazards, and provide you with an action plan that can be used to improve overall safety in the workplace.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) a good fire risk assessment:
- Explores all possible fire hazards
- Details all the people at risk during a fire (including staff, customers and contractors)
- Evaluates methods for reducing the risk of fire
- Details pre-existing fire safety aids
- Explores possible escape routes and evacuation protocols
You’ll find useful information on performing a fire safety assessment on the Gov.uk website alongside fire safety advice for various types of business.
Make sure that you have an EAP in place
In the event of a fire, a good EAP (or emergency action plan) can be the difference between life and death. EAPs are designed to cut down on panic, and ensure that staff know how to respond should the unthinkable happen. A thorough EAP will also account for all possible escape routes, and provide fallback options in the event that certain parts of your premises become cut off during a fire.
Make sure your staff receive the correct training
Last but not least, it’s very important that your staff receive the correct fire safety training. Trained staff will be better placed to spot risks, and take preventative action that’ll stop a fire breaking out in the first place. They’ll also be much quicker to respond in the event of an accidental fire, and it’s also worth noting that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 mandates that all members of staff receive up-to-date fire safety training.
Invest in the correct equipment
Fire safety equipment is often the backbone of a robust fire safety strategy, so it pays to make sure you’ve invested in the right things. According to the HSE, proper emergency lighting, alarm systems and clear safety signs are all essential kit, as are fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and high-quality fire doors.
Under the terms of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is your responsibility to make sure you’ve made adequate provision so we’d strongly recommend sitting down, and thinking about the equipment that’s needed to guarantee effective fire safety protection.
Here at Firechief we have a wide range of fire safety products which will ensure your business has everything you need adhere to fire safety regulations.
References: Virtual College
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