Office fire safety is always important - whether you are working in the office at the moment or not. There are many different aspects of fire safety that play their part in protecting those in the building from danger.
According to the independent fire protection company City Fire Protection, the following is what you need to know to ensure your colleagues and premises are kept safe from the risk of fire.
In any office, the responsible person may be one of a number of people just depending on the workplace. It’s generally either the owner, employer, or if you rent your office space, the occupier of the premises. This person is therefore responsible for a number of things including:
- Informing staff about risks
- Putting in place and maintaining fire safety measures for the office
- Planning for an office emergency
- Providing information and training to staff on fire safety
- Carrying out fire risk assessments and regular reviews
Fire Safety Hazards in Office Spaces
Offices are filled with electrical equipment and the majority of the time there are no issues. However, it only takes one faulty piece of equipment to create a fire which is why it is so important to check equipment for faults and ensure lighting isn’t too close to flammable items. PAT testing for portable appliances can help to ensure all the equipment in the office is safe and identify those items that may need replacing due to faults.
If your office uses portable heaters, careful consideration should be given as the intense heat can inadvertently create a hazard if placed too close to waste bins or in confined spaces without ventilation.
In addition to the office equipment supplied, employees may bring in personal equipment such as phone chargers, which are not PAT tested and may not be CE marked therefore this can compromise the safety of the office space.
Having a properly planned evacuation route is crucial, as although you may think people know where to go, without a plan, there could be serious consequences as a swift, safe exit is vital to avoid loss of lives. Keeping these routes clear is also crucial.
Fire exit signage can help with the safe evacuation of a building, as well as directing both staff and visitors to where the correct assembly point is. Not having the right equipment in place for the safe evacuation of disabled persons is also something offices need to consider as this is required under the Equality Act 2010.
Also beware, even wedging a fire door open can be dangerous in an office environment as you may compromise the compartmentalisation in place to prevent the fire from spreading for up to 30 minutes, which allows safe evacuation of the building.
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