Have you prepared for your fire risk assessment?
It is important to put safety first when you are looking after employees. In 2017/18, the majority (68%) of fire safety audits were rated satisfactory, which is the same as the previous year. However, the proportion of fire safety audits on purpose built flats of four storeys or more that were deemed satisfactory fell from 78% in 2016/17 to 69% in 2017/18.
Did you know that, in 2017/18, there were 247 fire-related fatalities compared with 344 – including 71 from the Grenfell Tower fire – in the previous year, which is a decrease of 28%.
The act itself
This is a bit basic, but it may surprise you how many people don’t know that a fire starts when heat (source of ignition) comes into contact with fuel (anything that burns), and oxygen (air). This is why you must keep sources of ignition and fuel apart, no matter the location.
When a fire could break out
Take factors such as lighting, heaters, naked flames and electrical equipment into consideration when carrying out a fire risk assessment. Anything which gets very hot or causes sparks will put you at risk of starting a fire.
Furniture, wood, paper, plastic, rubber and even rubbish could all react to a spark and cause a fire to break out, along with the obvious fire-starting chemicals such as petrol and white spirit. There is a lot of think about when taking steps to prevent a fire – here’s a few points to consider when walking around your building:
- Have you found anything that could start a fire? Ensure you make notes of them for future reference!
- Have you found anything that could burn? Prevent having anything lying around that could burn.
People at risk
Everyone is at risk when there is a fire. However, some may be at a higher risk than others. Think about visitors, customers, children, the elderly, the disabled and even night staff who may not be familiar with the processes in place. All of these people are essentially vulnerable in the risk of a fire. So, make a checklist and notes of who that may be and ensure that they are fully informed and know what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Have you identified the vulnerable?
- Who could be at risk?
- Who could be especially at risk?
Evaluate hazards, act on them accordingly
- Remove and reduce risks
- How can you avoid accidents?
Take action – protect your premises and people inside.
- Have you assessed any risk of fire that could occur?
- Did you assess the risk of fire to staff and visitors?
- Have you kept any source of fuel and heat/sparks apart?
- Is there anything that a potential arsonist could use in the building to start a fire?
- Have you protected your premises from an accidental fire or arson?
- Have you taken the steps to make sure everyone’s safe in case of fire?
- How will you know there is a fire?
- Do you have a plan in place to warn others of fire?
- Who is in charge of making sure everyone gets out?
- Who will call the fire brigade?
- Do you have the ability to put out a small fire quickly and stop it spreading?
- How will everyone get out of the premises?
- Have you planned escape routes?
- Have you made sure people will be able to safely find their way out, especially at night?
- Does your safety equipment work and meet safety standards?
- Will people know what to do and how to use this equipment?
Keep a record, plan accordingly and train your staff
In order to improve your fire risk assessment and future processes, keeping a record of any fire hazards in the past and what you have done to reduce or remove them. When working in small premises, keeping a record of any past fire encounters is a good idea. When you have more than five members of staff, or hold a licence, it is required that you keep a record of what you have found and what you have practised or altered afterwards.
Having a clear plan in place to prevent fire and keep people safe is essential. If you share a building with other companies, making them aware of your safety risk assessment will help to keep everyone coordinated and informed.
All employees need to understand what to do in the case of a fire. Those located at a higher level throughout the company also need to be trained in fire safety.
- Have you recorded what you have found, and the actions taken?
- Is there a process everyone will follow if there is a fire?
- Have you discussed the plan with everyone in the building?
- Did you inform and train people (i.e practised a fire drill and made note of how it went)?
- Chosen specific staff members to put in charge of fire prevention measures, and trained them accordingly?
- Informed temporary staff of the procedures?
- Consulted others who share a building with you, and included them in the overall plan?
Review your processes
Over time, the risks you may have reviewed in the past could change. It is important to review your fire risk assessment checklist regularly and often enough not to miss any new possibilities or elements of risk. If you identify notable changes in risk, or make any significant changes to your plan, you must tell everyone involved, including those who share the premises. Where appropriate, you should also retrain staff on any new fire safety standards.
Get in touch
To find out more about our fire prevention services simply contact us today.
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