Different businesses have varying responsibilities when it comes to fire safety, but there is one thing that applies to us all; being vigilant.
Stats show that each year there are around 25,000 commercial fires reported and the official gov.uk site shows that in the year 2013-2014 there were 17 fire deaths caused by electrical faults with wiring, cabling and plugs. This is across both commercial and domestic premises. If that’s the number of reported fatalities, you can only imagine how many “near misses” there are every year, which is why workplace fire safety really should be top of any training list.
Start by thinking of all the things that could be potential fire hazards. The loose socket down by your feet, flammable liquids in warehouses and factories…even the toaster in the office canteen. As soon as you adopt the mindset that anything can be a potential fire hazard, you’ll help to minimise the risk of fires actually happening – and that applies to everyone in the business.
There are a number of fire safety training courses you and your staff should undertake. In addition, regular internal training by a qualified Health and Safety Officer is important, particularly for larger businesses.
Here are some of the key things to be aware of with fire safety in the workplace:
Assembly Points – if staff hear the alarm sound, they should make their way to the nearest assembly point, always avoiding elevators and leaving personal belongings behind. Ensure all staff are aware of their nearest assembly point.
Fire Extinguishers – take the time to show all staff where the fire extinguishers are located. As a general rule, there should be a minimum of 2 extinguishers per floor. There should be a separate training course to show staff how to use the extinguisher safely so that in an emergency, everyone is clued up on what they can do to help.
Reporting Hazards – if you see a hazard in the workplace, it’s essential that you report it. Complacency should not be tolerated as it could lead to problems further down the line. That cable wiring that people have to step over daily, for example, or the cupboard door that doesn’t shut properly – some potential hazards sound trivial but they are important.
Discovering a Fire – if you discover a fire, your quick reaction and common sense will be key in ensuring the safety of yourself and those around you. Make people aware of what they need to do in order to raise the alarm so that the fire can be dealt with quickly. Also, don’t try and be the ‘office hero’ if you think you can have a go at dealing with the fire yourself without the necessary tools and protection – this is dangerous and no business would want their staff putting their own lives at risk. Call the Fire and Rescue Service.
Many businesses conduct regular fire tests and we do this on behalf of several clients. These are essential in maintaining workplace safety.
For more information on workplace fire safety and how you can prevent hazards in your business – get in touch. All of our staff undertake fire safety training regularly, usually every 3 years and all carry a fire extinguisher in their vehicle as an extra precaution. Plus, our suggestions included in this article we adhere to ourselves too – right here in our Harrogate offices.