Adopting A Positive Fire Safety Culture
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your business adopts a positive fire safety culture. Failing to do so can have catastrophic consequences for your organisation and employees. Many organisations believe that because they have a fire risk assessment in place, they have done enough to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out. When in fact, a fire risk assessment is only a fraction of an organisation’s fire safety culture. With
70% of workplace fires classed as accidental, UK workplaces may not be as fire-safe as first thought. Fire safety legislation
There are numerous pieces of legislation that outline an employer’s responsibility when it comes to fire safety. The
Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 applies to the whole of the UK and states employers must protect the ‘health, safety and welfare’ of their employees and anyone else who visits their premises. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire safety in England and Wales. Scottish fire safety is covered by the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 as well as the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. How to implement a positive fire safety culture
There are many ways in which your organisation can adopt a positive fire safety culture. The most important thing to remember is that an organisation’s fire safety measures should be evergreen. This means that you need to continuously review, update and test your fire safety measures to ensure that they are effective. Below we outline the measures organisations need to implement to maintain a positive fire safety culture as well as legal compliance.
Fire risk assessments Fire risk assessments are used to identify an organisation’s fire risks as well as any mitigating factors that need to be put in place. If an organisation has over 5 employees, then the fire risk assessment will need to be documented. However, remember to keep a record of the fire risk assessment regardless of employee headcount. Not only will it mean there is a something to refer to should someone want to view the fire risk assessment, but it will also act as a physical reminder that the fire risk assessment needs to be reviewed periodically. Fire safety evacuation plan
Fire evacuation plans need to clearly explain the procedure should a fire break out within the premises. It should be easy to understand so that everyone is aware of their responsibilities should a fire break out. The evacuation plan should also be placed somewhere in the premises that is accessible to all; this is often a notice board. Fire evacuation plans should include:
What to do if a fire is discovered What to do if the fire alarm sounds How to raise the alarm Escape routes, refuges and exits Who is to call emergency services The provision for people with disabilities Fire drills and training
Fire drills are a vital part of implementing a positive fire safety culture. This is because fire drills demonstrate an employee’s understanding of the fire evacuation plan. Fire drills also evaluate the fire evacuation plan in real-time. This allows organisations to adjust if necessary. As mentioned earlier, fire safety processes and procedures need to be continually updated to be effective. Organisations should aim to have at least one fire drill per year and the results will need to be recorded. Don’t forget that all new employees will need to be trained in the fire evacuation and fire drill procedures.
Fire safety equipment
The type and amount of fire safety equipment needed will depend on the premises, but all equipment needs to be properly installed, tested and maintained. Fire fighting equipment can include fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire evacuation chairs, emergency lighting, fire-proof storage equipment and fire safety logbooks. There are six different types of fire extinguishers and it’s important that the workplace has the correct fire extinguishers installed.
The cost of getting it wrong If a fire breaks out in a premises – whether accidently or through deliberate means – it can have devastating consequences. Although exact fatality/injury figures due to a workplace fire aren’t available, it doesn’t mean that the risk isn’t real. Additionally, workplaces can suffer structural, reputational and financial damage should a fire break out within the premises. Should an organisation be found to have inadequate fire safety measures in place then there are also penalties that range from on the spot fines to a prison sentence. How can the ELAS Group help?
At the ELAS Group, we’re a BAFE approved organisation. This means that we have been independently assessed in our fire safety competency and are third party certified. The Government also recommends that if an organisation is looking to use an external provider for their fire safety needs, then they should be third party certified. For over 25 years we have assisted organisations across the country with their fire safety needs. From fire risk assessments to
fire safety training, fire evacuation plans and health & safety gap analysis – we can help. For more information, get in touch with our team by completing the contact form to the right.