This blog is about the importance of keeping your office fire safe. Current UK legislation states that all employees must undergo basic fire safety training. This training should be completed every twelve months to ensure that all members of staff have a sound and up-to-date understanding of what to do, should a fire break out. Furthermore, all businesses with five or more people are required to have a fire risk assessment; a written record of these procedures that need to be reviewed regularly.

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The Risks of Not Being Fire Safety Compliant

Depending on what industry you’re in, the fire risks you and your business face are inevitably going to differ. For example, within a bar or a nightclub, there may be a fire risk because of how guests, and potentially staff, use smoking areas. As part of the fire safety procedure, ensure all rubbish is removed regularly from anywhere people may smoke to prevent any flammable materials from building up.

In an office, electrics often pose a fire risk. Non-compliance here may involve not testing electrical equipment properly. Not being compliant with fire safety processes not only means putting anyone on the premises at huge risk from a potential fire but can also get you into trouble with the law.

How Can My Business Be Fire Safe?

If the fire prevention measures you have in place are deemed inadequate, then it’s likely that penalties will follow. It’s important to keep you and your team safe by having correct procedures in place, however, should you find your business receives an informal warning from the local fire and rescue brigade regarding your fire risk assessment, you don’t have to worry as long as you resolve the issue immediately.

However, should you ignore your first informal notice, this could escalate to a legally binding, formal notice, whereby the authority will write to the owner of the premises, explaining what needs to be done to ensure the building no longer poses a fire risk.

Alterations Notice

An alterations notice is the only type of formal notice you can receive. If your premises are deemed high risk and any alterations to the premises would create an even larger fire hazard, you can be issued with this notice.

Enforcement Notice

An enforcement notice states that the fire safety risks that have been explained to the owner of the premises are not being correctly managed. The notice will reinforce exactly what these improvements are and when they need to be completed.

Prohibition Notice

This type of notice takes effect immediately. The fire and rescue authority will only hand this notice out when they deem a premise such a risk that they feel it necessary to prohibit or restrict a part of/all of the building until alterations have been made.

What Next? Be Fire Safe

If you believe that the notice you have been handed is unfair then you will have the opportunity to appeal at your local magistrates court. However, if unsuccessful, you could face a fine of up to £5,000 and at worst, a maximum of two years in prison.

Fire safety training is crucial so make sure that your team is fully fire safety compliant, and you won’t have to worry about any penalties. Contact us to make sure your business is up to fire standards.