No work environment or property is 100% safe from a fire breaking out; hence we can not underestimate or stress the importance of fire safety and prevention in the workplace.
Statistics show that fire and rescue services attended a reported 528,601 in the year 2020, of which 153,278 of these were fire-related.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides clear guidance and regulations surrounding fire safety laws and duties employers (or those named as the `responsible person` for this area) must meet.
In this post, we explore the health and safety fire regulations further and the role and responsibilities of employers.
Fire safety in the workplace
Fire safety and security in the workplace applies to all non-domestic premises, which include:
- All commercial premises and workplaces
- All workplaces that the public have access to, and
- Multi-occupied residential buildings.
If you have more than one `responsible person` or fire safety officer, facilities manager, etc., responsible for fire safety and security in the workplace then all fire and security safety plans should be communicated and coordinated appropriately.
(To find out more about fire jobs, various roles, and gender equality in the fire and security industry, check out our latest blog online).
If you do not meet the required safety standards and fire guidance, you can be issued a fire safety notice outlining the changes that you must make to bring everything up to standard. Your business could be fined by the local fire and safety authorities, or worse, those responsible could face prison.
Fire safety laws
All businesses within the UK are required to have a nominated person or persons responsible for all fire safety procedures, risk assessments, coordination, communication, and more (trust us, the role of a fire safety engineer can be vast).
As part of this person’s role, they will be required to carry out regular fire safety risk assessments, identifying specific areas within the business that could be at risk of fire, causing harm and injury.
Once these risk areas have been identified, the right protocols and mitigations can then be put in place to reduce the chance of this risk occurring.
It is also important to identify personnel affected by these risks and communicate the associated protocols to keep everyone safe and secure.
Other areas to consider as part of the risk assessment include:
- Installing and regularly maintaining fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, and any other fire safety equipment deemed appropriate for your place of work.
- Carrying out regular fire drills and fire checks, allows you to identify any areas for improvement and keep old and new staff up to date with any changes in drills and processes.
- Marking all the fire exits.
- Developing, communicating, and continually updating your company’s emergency plan.
- Separating and securing safely any flammable substances.
- Providing training and having clear lines of communication at all times.
Your risk assessment should be regularly reviewed and updated as required.
Carrying out robust fire and safety checks and regularly checking equipment can make a real difference when faced with an emergency.
Note: It is recommended that, as a minimum, a fire drill should be carried out once a year; however, we would recommend more often – especially if you have a high turnover of staff or work in large industrial settings with numerous fire risk factors.
As the responsible person for fire and security within your business, you will be responsible for:
- All fire risk assessments
- Communicating fire safety instructions and providing appropriate training to all staff
- Implementing appropriate safety measures
- Planning for emergencies.
To find out about your role and responsibility as an employer, the UK Government provides detailed guidance that is continually updated.
Even when staff members are working off-site as an employer, you still have a duty of care toward their safety.
For example, employees must still know and fully understand what to do if they are in a dangerous situation.
To help support employers, and due to technological advances, there is now a range of apps and portable devices available that allow employers to monitor and protect staff.
For example, employers can now access real-time location data on staff travelling to work, offering valuable information if an incident or accident was to occur, letting you know if your teams were close to the area in question, etc.
Top tips to help keep everyone and every place safe and secure
- Keep fire exits clear at all times
- Keep workstations tidy and clear of paper and other flammable items
- Securely store all dangerous and flammable items in a secure location
- Install fire alarms and smoke detectors
- Consider emergency lighting and appropriate signage
- Install the correct fire extinguishers for specific areas within your business
- And more!
Fire and security vacancies
Fire can have a devastating impact on people and environments, making it vital that fire prevention becomes an integral element of any business.
Finding the right person to fulfil fire jobs within your business is essential, and this is where Secure and Recruit can help.
As your recruitment partner, we will help you with all of your fire and security recruitment needs. From fire and security engineers to fire alarm engineers and specialist positions, we help you find the right candidate for your business and remain compliant with all regulations and guidance.
Reference video: Mometrix Academy