Stay alert on workplace fire safety
Tue 07 2017
Fire safety in the home has been in the spotlight since the tragedy which unfolded at Grenfell Tower in London. But it is just as important to remember fire safety considerations in the workplace, especially if you are what is considered a ‘responsible person’.
Unfortunately, incidents involving fires in the workplace do happen, and are often reported in the media.
Recent incidents in Shropshire include:
- A blaze at a factory on Stafford Park in Telford where an automatic alarm alerted firefighters. They tackled a fire which damaged two forklift trucks and a pallet of stock.
- A fire at a transport firm in North Shropshire involved 14 solar panels on the roof of one of the buildings.
- Firefighters were called to a blaze involving 200 tyres in a village close to Cross Houses, near Shrewsbury.
Fire regulations apply to virtually all premises that are not private homes, from offices and shops to factories and warehouses. They cover places of worship, sports centres and even tents and marquees.
The only place they do not apply is people’s private homes, including individual flats in a block or a house. But they do apply to the shared areas of properties several households live in.
You are responsible for fire safety in a business if you are:
- An employer
- The owner
- The landlord
- You have control of the premises – for instance if you are a facilities manager, a building manager, a managing agent or risk assessor.
Bear in mind you are also responsible if you have paying guests – running a bed and breakfast, guesthouse or let out a self-catering property.
There are a number of things you must do if you are seen as a ‘responsible person’ when it comes to fire safety (there could be more than one responsible person in a business. If that is the case, you have to work together on the following).
- Carry out a fire risk assessment identifying any possible dangers and risks, and make sure it is reviewed regularly
- Make sure staff are told about any risks, either directly or through their representatives
- Make sure appropriate fire safety measures are in place and maintained
- Get rid of or reduce the risk from fire as far as is reasonably practicable
- Make an emergency plan
- Provide staff with information, fire safety instructions and training
These rules apply to all workplaces and commercial premises, buildings the public have access to and common areas of multi-occupied buildings.
If you share your premises with other businesses, there will probably be more than one ‘responsible person’ and, again, fire safety plans should be co-ordinated to make sure everyone in and around the building is safe.