One of the most critical components of health and safety is fire safety compliance, which is something that all businesses, no matter how little, must consider. We have extensive and stringent fire safety legislation and equipment standards in the UK, to the point that fire safety signage and equipment are ubiquitous and easily recognised.
Is it, however, truly necessary to have so many rules and other requirements? In this article, we’ll look at why it’s critical for businesses to follow the law when it comes to fires, as well as why they must also follow the spirit of the law.
There are certain mandatory requirements that all businesses must adhere to if they want to be following the letter of the law with regards to fire safety. It is essential that for full fire safety compliance to be achieved the business owner pays close attention to the following rules:
-Place a Health and Safety Law poster conspicuously in the premises, such as at reception or in a common space for employees.
-Place a Fire Action Sign on the premises that explain what to do in the event of a fire, as well as the designated escape route and fire assembly place. Larger buildings, those with multiple stories, or those with more than one fire exit door may require more than one.
-At each public entrance to the property, post a No Smoking sign.
-If you have fire doors, check sure they are equipped with fire door signs.
In England and Wales, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 governs general fire safety. Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, as well as the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006, cover general fire safety regulations in Scotland.
Local fire and rescue departments are in charge of enforcing these fire safety rules in the vast majority of buildings. On construction sites and ships under construction or undergoing repairs, the HSE is in charge of enforcement.
Tips to stay on top of fire safety compliance
- Keep records up to date and easily accessible
If the inspectors call, they will want to see all of these records, so keep them all in one place, preferably in a secure document box or in an emergency plans box for larger premises, along with detailed floor plans of the building showing stairwells, fire exits or other escape routes, and any fixed fire safety provisions. In the event of a fire, emergency personnel will be better informed and will be able to put out the fire more rapidly.
- Ensure that all hazardous substances are kept safe and secure
Depending on what kind of business you are operating it is possible that you may have substances at work that could pose a fire risk. It is common sense to keep these in a safe and secure place so as to minimise risk. They should be kept in non-hazardous, Fire-Resistant, or Flammable Storage Cabinets that are in compliance with COSHH or DSEAR requirements.
- Ensure that there is an easily understood plan in place in the case of a fire
One of the most important things you can do is to make sure that every member of your staff really understands what to do in the case of a fire at your workplace. It is your responsibility as an employer to ensure that your staff understand what to do and where to go, so having a plan and a fire safety manual that the staff can read is essential.
Issues including locked fire exit doors, blocked escape routes, inadequate fire equipment maintenance, and poor or incomplete documentation are commonly scrutinised by inspectors. In order to maintain a functional and safe working environment, regular checks are necessary.
Following these steps should ensure that your business complies with the most important elements of fire and safety legislation. It is most important to operate with sense and awareness around the issues of fire safety and to always stay alert to any potential dangers that may affect your staff and or customers.
Our fire safety service has years of experience and a deep-rooted practical understanding of what is needed. We’re a well-established, fully accredited fire safety training company that specialises in providing exceptional fire training to businesses across the UK. Over the past 20 years, we’ve built a long list of loyal customers, from small family businesses to large national companies.