Why Businesses Should Invest in Fire Safety
It is vital that a business protects their premises, assets and most importantly employees from the potential damage that fire can cause, not only for financial and moral reasons but also because there is a legal obligation to do so. If the importance of fire safety is underestimated it can threaten the lives of employees and have a catastrophic effect on your business.
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 came into force on the 1st of October 2006 and is designed to improve fire safety standards in all non-domestic premises. The RRO dictates certain fire safety duties have to be carried out including, ensuring the general fire safety precautions are satisfactory and conducting a fire safety risk assessment.
As an employer, business owner, landlord, managing agent or occupier having control over a place of work, you are legally defined as the “responsible person” in the fire safety order and have a duty to ensure that:
- Fire safety risk assessments are regularly reviewed and carried out.
- People particularly at risk (those with special needs or disabilities, children etc.) are considered.
- Precautions are in place to safeguard all employees and non-employees.
- Protective measures (e.g. escape routes) and equipment are tested and maintained.
- An effective fire emergency plan is in place.
- Adequate fire safety instruction information and training are provided to all staff.
Fire Safety Risk Assessments
A life safety fire risk assessment’s focus is on preserving life. As an employer, you MUST ensure the safety of all employees by complying with the fire safety order. These assessments are key to business fire safety and identifying the likelihood and potential causes of fire and the people who may be at risk. Based on the findings of the risk assessment, employers need to ensure that adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.
- Identifying Fire Hazards
- Sources of Ignition
- Sources of Fuel
- Sources of Oxygen
- Identifying People at Risk
- People in and around the premises
- People who are especially at risk
- Evaluating, Removing, Reduce and Protect from Risk
- Evaluate the risk of a fire starting
- Evaluate the risk to people from a fire
- Remove or Reduce fire hazards
- Remove or Reduce the risks to people from fire
- Protect people by providing fire precautions
- Record, Plan, Inform, Instruct and Train
- Record any major findings and actions taken
- Discuss and work with other responsible people
- Prepare an emergency plan
- Inform and instruct relevant people
- Provide training
- Review Fire Risks Assessments regularly
- Make changes where necessary
What if You Don’t Comply?
Failure to carry out fire safety risk assessments can result in fines, prosecution, and even custodial sentences if your local fire service finds that you are violating the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005.
Protect your Business
There are many things you can do day to day to ensure you business, assets and staff remain protected from Fire.
More than a third of fire deaths in non-domestic buildings were caused by smokers’ material or cigarette lighters. It is therefore important to ensure that there is a designated smoking area away from the buildings and flammable materials and that staff are instructed to ensure their cigarettes are properly extinguished and disposed of in appropriate bins. Other tips include the following:
Reduce Fire Risk
- Don’t overload power sockets.
- Keep the workplace tidy.
- Keep ignition sources and flammable materials apart.
- Install Smoke and Fire Alarms.
- Ensure you have fire fighting equipment – Fire Extinguishers, Fire Blankets etc.
- Keep Equipment serviced and maintained.
- Make sure fire safety training is provided and all staff understand the importance of fire safety.