fire extinguisher

Fire Safety in the Workplace

Fire Safety in the Workplace

In this article, Health and Safety Consultant, Adam Williams discusses fire safety in the workplace. Adam covers who is responsible for fire safety in the workplace and their responsibilities. As well as what enforcement notices can be issued if sufficient procedures are not in place for fire safety.

Who is responsible for fire safety in the workplace?

Under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the person responsible for fire safety in a workplace is the ‘Responsible Person’.

A ‘Responsible Person’ could be an employer, the building owner, the landlord, the occupier, or it could be anyone else in charge of a building such as a facilities manager, building manager, or a managing agent.

There may be situations, such as in a shared office building or a shared accommodation building, where the responsibility is shared, which means you have to work together to meet your responsibilities.

A ‘Responsible Person’ has the following responsibilities:

  • Carry out a fire risk assessment, which should be reviewed every 12 months.
  • Inform any employees of the risks that have been identified.
  • Implement appropriate fire safety measures.
  • Create an escape plan.
  • Deliver training for any employees.

Fire Risk Assessments

It is a legal requirement for the ‘Responsible Person’ to ensure there is a sufficient fire risk assessment carried out for the workplaces. All businesses, no matter how many employees you have, must have a documented fire risk assessment.  A fire risk assessment will look at the following:

  • Identify any fire hazards in the workplace.
  • Identify the people at risk from fire in the workplace.
  • Evaluate, remove, or reduce any risk associated with fire in the workplace.
  • Record any findings, develop an emergency plan, and provide training.
  • Review and update (recommended every 12 months, or if there has been a significant change).

As detailed on the website, when carrying out a fire risk assessment, the following must be considered:

  • Emergency routes and exits
  • Fire detection and warning systems
  • Firefighting equipment
  • The removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
  • An emergency fire evacuation plan
  • The needs of vulnerable people, for example the elderly, young children or those with disabilities
  • Providing information to employees and other people on the premises
  • Staff fire safety training

Fire evacuation plans

A fire evacuation plan is a detailed instruction of what staff must do in the event of a fire.  An evacuation plan should detail the following:

  • An unobstructed route to an escape route.
  • Escape routes should be as close as possible and must be clearly signposted with correct signage.
  • A sufficient number of exits and routes for everyone to escape safely.
  • Emergency doors that open easily and in the direction of travel.
  • Emergency lighting where needed.
  • Training for all employees on how to use the escape routes.
  • A safe meeting point for all staff or tenants, called the fire assembly point.

Fire safety equipment, drills and training

Workplaces must have a fire detection system.  The type of detection system will vary depending on the type of workplace.

Maintain and service any fire safety equipment within the workplace regularly, such as fire alarms.

It is a legal requirement for workplaces to carry out a fire drill once every 12 months. Fire safety training with all staff should also be done every 12 months.

Enforcement notices

Your local fire and rescue service can visit your premises to check that you have a documented fire risk assessment and that you have sufficient fire prevention measures in place.  They can serve enforcement notices if they deem that sufficient procedures aren’t in place.

The types of notices they can issue include:

Alteration notices – Fire and rescue authorities will issue an alteration notice to premises that have high safety risks, or will have high safety risks, due to certain changes being intended to be made.

Enforcement notices – These are issued to businesses that fail to manage serious risks.  The notice includes information on what improvements are needed and by when.

Prohibition notices – This type of notice is issued if the fire and rescue authority or the HSE inspector believes a certain fire risk is so significant that access to the premises needs to be restricted immediately.

Fire Safety Services at HPC

Here at HPC, we offer fire safety services that can support you by ensuring you are fully compliant with fire safety laws.  We deliver the following fire safety services:

  • Fire Risk Assessments
  • Fire Marshal Awareness Training
  • Fire Safety Awareness Training

To find out more information or to discuss your fire safety needs with one of our qualified consultants, please get in contact with our team of experts.

T: 0330 107 1037


LinkedIn: High Performance Consultancy

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