No workplace is safe from fire risks - and too many business owners make the mistake of thinking that there’s no chance a fire can occur in their workplace.
Unfortunately, there are thousands of workplace fires every year. Fire prevention should be a fundamental part of any health and safety plan, whether the business is based in an office, a kitchen, or a construction site. Keep reading for our top 5 fire prevention tips for the workplace.
1- Complete Regular Risk Assessments
One of the most effective ways of preventing fires in the workplace is by conducting and completing regular risk assessments. This involves being aware of the hazards in your workspace regardless of your industry.
If your business contains over five or more employees, then you’re legally required to complete regular risk assessments, However, even if you don’t meet the legal requirements, it’s recommended to complete risk assessments to minimise and manage risks in the workplace.
Risk assessments can help you to identify any potential fire hazards, as well as assess the risk and who would be impacted in the event of a fire. This can also help you determine how you can manage or mitigate the risk of fire.
However, you can’t just complete a risk assessment and consider your work done - risk assessments should be regularly reviewed and updated. For example, if you’ve started operating new machinery, there are new employees or your work processes have changed, you should always review your existing risk assessment and create a new one when relevant.
2- Appoint Fire Wardens
Fire wardens are essential when it comes to fire prevention and management in the workplace. A fire warden is somebody that is responsible for maintaining fire safety procedures, as well as creating and implementing them.
If a fire does occur, it’s the role of the warden to coordinate evacuation and to ensure that everybody has left the building.
The appointed fire warden or wardens will have completed the relevant fire warden training. If a fire warden has been correctly trained, they should be competent in maintaining fire safety. However, training isn’t just for fire wardens - to learn more about fire prevention training, see the ‘Complete Relevant Training’ section of this post.
3- Conduct Fire Drills
Fire drills are one of the most important aspects of fire prevention, allowing employees and visitors to gain an understanding of exit procedures in the event of a fire emergency.
The number of times that you should conduct a fire drill will typically depend on the results of your risk assessment - however, most businesses will conduct a fire drill twice a year or more.
Your appointed fire warden or fire marshall can assist with fire drills, ensuring that everybody in the workplace knows the fire exits and can evacuate in a timely and organised manner.
Regular fire drills can also help you to identify any obstacles that may occur when evacuating the building, such as physical obstructions, quiet fire alarms, faulty door hinges, or disorganised employees.
4- Monitor Electrical Equipment
Many fires in the workplace are caused by electrical equipment and faulty wiring, which is why it’s so important that electrical equipment is PAT tested and regularly monitored.
If you have a designated team member for repairing any electrical equipment, ensure that they’ve had the correct training and that they identify, record, and resolve any issues with the electrics. Booking regular inspections and PAT tests is a great way of preventing fires caused by electrical equipment.
It’s equally important to ensure that all employees understand how to use the equipment correctly, and know what to do if any electrical equipment overheats.
5- Complete Relevant Training
Being trained and educated in fires, fire prevention, and fire safety plans is a sure way of reducing the risk of injuries or fatalities in the event of a fire.
At Beaconrisk, we offer quality online health and safety courses. Our Basic Fire Safety Awareness course can train yourself and your employees on why fires occur and what actions should be taken in preventing fires. We offer the same course but especially for care homes too.
We also offer a course about fire extinguishers, which can be useful in tackling fires as they occur. This can help you to identify the different types of extinguishers within a workplace and when they should be used.
Another course we offer that can help in fire prevention is our Fire Marshal course. This helps you carry out the functions of a fire marshal, giving you the training you need to act quickly and effectively in the event of a fire.