It's a new year (and decade!), so it's the perfect time to be reviewing all the health and safety arrangements at work.
Fire safety in the workplace is essential to prevent your business from becoming a statistic. As our National Fire Survey revealed, thousands of fires break out in businesses every year and they're spread all over the country.
January is a great time to provide refresher employee fire safety training and make sure you're up to date. Use our fire safety checklist as a guide:
Fire Safety Checklist
There are lots of things you can do to improve fire safety in the workplace. Some will require regular maintenance or checking, so it's helpful to set aside around a day per quarter to review your fire safety checklist.
- Fire Safety Equipment – Firstly, it's important to make sure you have enough fire extinguishers and fire alarms and that they're appropriately placed. Different types of fire extinguisher need to be used with different kinds of fires and getting it wrong can be disastrous. Fire alarms should be tested regularly; weekly is ideal. If you test them whilst people are in the workplace, they will instantly recognise the sound of the fire alarm if and when it sounds for real.
- Fire Risk Assessment – When did you last review your risk assessments? What has changed since then? Risk assessments must be regularly updated to reflect changes in staffing, environment and working conditions. The best risk assessments are written with strong input from the workers doing the front-line work, as they know best about the hazards and risks they face.
- Fire Evacuation Plan – Regular fire drills make sure everyone knows what to do in a fire emergency. It's essential every employee knows where to go and what to do if a fire breaks out. The plan needs to be updated with every staffing or office layout change.
- Electrical Appliances – Faulty or badly maintained electrical appliances are the leading cause of workplace fires. Ensure they're all regularly checked and up to scratch with the relevant standards. Look out for overuse, too many plugs in one socket and exposed wires.
- Fire Wardens – Having specially-trained fire wardens or fire officers helps to maintain calm when a fire begins. They can also take on the role of helping to check fire equipment regularly; as it's a part of their role, they will be less likely to forget or get distracted by other tasks.
Fire Safety Training at Work
There's another key element to fire safety in the workplace: the quality of the employee fire safety training.
Fire safety training should be undertaken during the onboarding process of new employees and refreshed regularly to ensure knowledge retention. This means everyone is aware of what constitutes a fire hazard and can watch out for issues in their day to day work. If people feel prepared, it keeps panic to a minimum when workplace fires occur.