Understanding fire safety regulations and responsibilities in the work place can be a bit of a minefield, but the sooner you get your head around the ins and outs, the safer your premises, your staff and customers, will be.
Here is what you need to know:
Responsibility for fire safety in a business lies with the following people, known as the ‘responsible person’:
- The owner
- The landlord
- An Employer
- An Occupier
- Anyone else with control of the premises e.g. a facilities manager
If there is more than one responsible person then you must work together to ensure that you all meet your fire safety responsibilities.
What Are Your Responsibilities?
If you have been designated a ‘responsible person’ you must ensure that you:
- Carry out first risk assessments of the facility regularly
- Inform staff of any of the risks that you have identified
- Put in place appropriate fire safety measures (e.g. fire alarms, evacuation meeting points)
- Have a detailed plan if a fire should occur in the premises
- Provide all members of staff with fire safety training and instructions
How Do You Carry Out a Fire Risk Assessment?
To carry out a fully comprehensive risk assessment you must:
- Identify the fire hazards
- Identify people at risk
- Assess, remove or minimise any risks you have identified
- Record your findings
- Prepare an emergency plan
- Provide suitable training for all staff
- Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly
Different premises require different risk assessments (these individual risk assessment guides can be found on gov.uk). However, there are specific areas that all businesses should ensure they take into account, including:
- Emergency routes and exits
- Emergency fire evacuation plan
- Firefighting equipment (such as fire extinguishers)
- Removal and storage of dangerous substances
- Staff fire safety training
However, don’t worry if this all sounds a bit overwhelming, there is help available, either in the form of risk assessment guides, or by appointing a specific, competent person to oversee your assessment, such as a professional risk assessor.
What Should Your Fire Safety and Evacuation Plans Include?
Your plan must show how you have:
- Enough exits and routes for a safe escape
- A clear passage way to all exit routes (e.g no items should be left in front of your fire exit)
- Easy to open emergency doors
- Emergency lighting (if needed)
- A safe meeting point for staff
- Clearly marked escape routes
Fire Safety Equipment, Drills and Training
Your premises must have fire detection and warning systems installed. These systems, once installed, must then be checked regularly to ensure that:
- Fire alarm systems are working
- Fire escapes can be accessed and opened easily
- Emergency lighting is working
- Fire exit signs are in the right place.
Should any faults be spotted then these must be recorded.
Fire drills and training must be undertaken with every new member of staff. You must also carry out at least one fire drill per year and record the results within your fire safety and evacuation plan.
At MSL, our BAFE accredited Safepartner can design, install, and maintain your fire alarm systems, as well as install fire extinguishers and emergency lighting systems. We can also offer safety training for your staff, as well as ensuring all aspects of your safety equipment comply with the relevant British Standard. For more information on this and the other services we provide, please call us on 0333 123 4450.