To meet the required health and safety standards, all business owners are responsible that their working environment complies with all regulations related to building. They also need to have someone at the premises who has fire marshal training.
No matter what type of your business is and how many people are employed, fire safety should always be a major concern.
Fire Risk Assessment
Following steps should be taken while carrying out the fire risk assessment.
- Identification of potential fire hazard- stating anything that could start a fire
- Identification of the people at risk- make a note of the people who are at greater risk e.g. elderly or disabled people.
- Actions on findings- evaluation of potential risks and ways to reduce or remove them
- Record- Always keep the record of the findings, prepare an emergency plan and arrange fire safety training
- A fire risk assessment should be dynamic and all findings should be updated regularly
Fire risk assessment must be done by the responsible person for fire safety and with the help of fire safety risk assessment guides. Different types of guides are available which are based on the type and nature of business. There are important things to consider while making fire risk assessment. It is necessary to ensure that it’s valid and reliable assessment. These consist of chalking out emergency routes and exits, recognition of fire warning systems and also suitable firefighting equipment. Employees and anyone on the site must be informed about fire risks and safety while employees should be trained accordingly. To prevent the occurrence of fire, fire safety should be taken seriously.
It is true that business owners are mainly responsible for fire safety but it should be a team work. To ensure fire safety, all the employees must be aware of the fire risks and ways to minimize these risks.
Following are some basic points to prevent fire:
- Any electrical faults should be reported as soon as possible.
- Electrical circuits should not be overloaded.
- No clutter at workplace.
- At the end of the day turn off all electrical appliances.
- Smoking should be allowed only in designated area.
- Ensure that machines are regularly checked, serviced and maintained accordingly.
- No storage in front of electrical panels for easy access.
- Always store chemicals safely according to their labels
- All workplaces must have appropriate fire extinguishers.
- Smoke detectors and sprinklers should never be blocked.
To reduce the fire risk, it is necessary to make sure that business have the correct fire protection strategies in place. Moreover, it will be helpful to make sure that the correct safety and evacuation plans are in place. For example, clearly marked escape routes, exits and emergency doors for a smooth evacuation.
Fire safety and evacuation plans
A reliable evacuation plan must have detailed information of what to do in case of fire emergency. Any one who needs it must have the access to this plan. Similarly, one must have the following in order to produce a well detailed plan.
- An assembly point which is at reasonable distance from the building.
- Emergency doors which can open easily.
- If electricity needs to switch off, emergency lighting should be available.
- Quick and direct escape routes which are clearly marked.
- A reasonable number of emergency doors for employees to leave quickly.
- No blockages on passageways.
Moreover, it is important to make sure that fire detection and warning systems are fully efficient at all times. It should also be made sure that there are correctly installed firefighting equipment which are tested and maintained periodically. Further, there must be one fire drill in at least each 6 months period. Apart from training and information provide to employees it must be ensured that prevention tactics are used while suitable equipment is available in the building. Having a fire marshal who have completed Fire Marshal Training can prove vital for preventing fires.
Installation of fire exits & fire doors
A right number of fully functional fire exits and fire doors are important. It is for quick and easy escape and can stop the spread of the fire as well. Segregating escape routes and common areas can further reduce the damage to the building after an unfortunate event of fire. Fire rated glass and other safe materials must be considered while constructing a work place.