If you run a business that employs a lot of staff in an office, you need to make fire safety a priority. It is not solely for the benefit of your employees and any visitors to your premises, though this is important, but also because there are legal requirements for business. These requirements and regulations outline that businesses need to carry out proper risk assessments and put practices and measures into place that help to prevent fires from occurring.
What is involved in fireproofing your office? In the following article, we will consider 6 of the most important fire safety tips.
Consider Appointing a Staff Member as The Fire Warden
Do you already have a member of staff who is responsible for the fire safety of the workplace? If not, it may be time to consider appointing someone as a fire warden. You need to make sure whoever you give the responsibility to will take it seriously as there are serious implications and consequences if they do not carry out their relevant duties.
Fire wardens need to be trained effectively so that they have the confidence to stick to agree upon evacuation plans, perform fire risk assessments in a timely manner and make sure that there is adequate fire-fighting equipment on site and in good working order.
Regularly Test Your Fire Warning and Detection Systems
While it is a matter of standard practice now to have fire warning and fire detection systems in place at your work premises, do you regularly make sure these are working properly?
Smoke alarms should be tested once a month at the very least and your fire alarms should also be tested regularly to ensure everyone can hear them and that they are functioning properly
Ensure Emergency Exit Routes Are Clear
In your office, it is a legal requirement that there is a way out and emergency exit for your employees and anyone else in your building when a fire occurs that ensures they get out safely. Whether this is the main office doors or a specially installed fire escape, you need to make sure that these are always clear from obstructions.
Regularly Check Your Electrics
Most modern offices are full of electrical equipment including the likes of computers, telephones, modems, desk lamps, printers and photocopiers. You may not realise it, but one of the biggest causes of fires in office is your electrical equipment.
You can avoid problems with your electrical equipment and fires by ensuring that they are checked on regular occasions for damages. Hiring an electrician is crucial and having repairs carried out in a timely manner will lower the risk of fire dramatically.
While on the subject of electrics it is also important that you ensure your staff are using their equipment correctly and report to you or the fire warden about any problems they may be having or worries they have about their equipment.
Educate Your Workforce
Following nicely on from the last point, it cannot be stressed enough just how important it is to educate your workforce properly on fire safety. According to the Home Office, of all primary fires caused in the workplace, around 76% were accidental and usually were caused by appliances and equipment not being used properly, not being handled properly or the involvement of smoking materials.
Would these kinds of surveys glean the same kind of results if employees were fully educated on fire safety? We don’t think so, which is why it is crucial that your workers are trained fully in fire safety. They should know how to identify common hazards, how to prevent them from happening and the correct procedure to follow in the event of a fire.
Put it this way, it doesn’t matter if your office has all the equipment, signs, procedures and plans in place. Unless your staff knows exactly what they are doing, it doesn’t matter what fire safety equipment and firefighting gear you have in your workplace.
Make Sure Staff Put Safety First When Taking Smoke Breaks
Regardless of whether there is a specific place on-site for your staff to smoke, if they chose to or they are meant to stand as far away from your workplace as possible, it is important that they know the dangers related to those mid-morning and afternoon smoke breaks.
Ensure that your staff knows the importance of exercising care when having a smoke and that they avoid discarding cigarettes and other smoking materials without ensuring that the flames are completely out first. Any textiles, papers or dry leaves in and around the rubbish bins on your premises, as well as any spilt oil or petrol, are all flammable and all it takes is one little naked flame.
Fire safety is crucial for your workplace and employees and it might seem as if there is a lot to remember. However, we have hopefully shown you with the 6 tips highlighted above that it is easy to stay on top of fire safety and ensure your premises is protected from fire.