Fire Safety in the workplace FAQs

Who is responsible?

Fire safety should be taken very seriously and you are responsible for maintaining fire safety procedures if you are:

  • A landlord
  • The owner
  • The employer
  • An occupier
  • Anyone in control of the premises eg. a facilities manager, building manager, building agent etc.

If you fit any of the above criteria you are seen as the ‘responsible person’ regarding fire safety and if you have more than one responsible person it is your role to ensure you both work together to meet your responsibilities.

Not only this but, fire safety is your responsibility if you have paying guests at your premises such as a bed and breakfast, guest house or let a self-catering property. It is therefore important to know how to carry out correct fire risk assessments and have thorough evacuation plans in order to fulfil your responsibilities.

Non-domestic premises include:

  • All premises that the public have access to
  • All workplaces and commercial buildings
  • Common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings.

Shared premises:
Regarding shared premises and fire safety, the responsibility usually lies with more than one person. In order to ensure fire safety procedures are followed correctly, you will need to co-ordinate fire safety plans to ensure individuals on your premises are safe.

When it comes to common or shared areas, the responsibility lies with the landlord, freeholder or managing agent.

Alterations, extensions and new buildings

Complying to building regulations is essential when carrying out building work on current premises or when conducting building work on existing premises. This means it must include designing fire safety into the planned building extension.

Penalties and enforcement

Local fire and rescue authorities can inspect premises and issue fire safety notices advising you of the changes you need to make. It is important to note that you can be fined or go to prison if you do not follow fire safety regulations.

Fire risk assessments

Carrying out fire risk assessments is paramount in order to ensure fire safety procedures are carried out correctly and to avoid or reduce the risk of fire. As the responsible person for the building, it is your duty to carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment of the premises and keep a written record of your fire risk assessment if your business has more than 5 people.

When carrying out the assessment there are a few steps to follow:

  • Identify fire hazards
  • Identify people at risk
  • Evaluate, remove or reduce risks
  • Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
  • Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly.

When conducting the fire risk assessment, you must consider how people can evacuate in the event of an emergency such as emergency routes and exit as well as fire detection warning systems and fire fighting equipment in order to combat fire if needed. In addition to this, it is your responsibility to consider how to safely store or remove dangerous/flammable substances, an emergency fire evacuation plan and how vulnerable individuals can be aided in the event of a fire and staff fire training.

Luckily, you do not need get an external fire safety expert to conduct your fire risk assessment - you can do it yourself with the help of standard fire safety guides. However, if you do not have the time or cannot do it yourself, you must appoint a ‘competent person’ to help e.g a professional risk assessor. If you need additional help, your local fire and rescue authority may be able to offer assistance but they cannot carry out risk assessments for you.

Fire safety and evacuation plans

Ensuring your fire safety and evacuation plans are thorough and well thought out is essential when considering fire safety. It is important to know the in the event of a fire, individuals have a clear and concise plan of how to quickly and safely evacuate your premises.

Your plan must show that you have:

  • A clear path to all escape routes
  • Clearly marked escape routes (as short and direct as possible)
  • Enough exits and routes for everyone to evacuate
  • Emergency doors that open easily
  • Emergency lighting where needed (dark corridors, cellars etc)
  • Training for all employees on how to evacuate and use escape routes
  • A safe meeting point.

When it comes to people with mobility needs, it is your responsibility to make special arrangements such as ensuring wheel chair users can get downstairs if there is a fire.

Fire safety equipment drills and training

Fires can cause serious damage, destruction and can be fatal in some circumstances. If a fire starts in another room or on another floor it can take time before you notice there is an emergency and by this time it can unfortunately be sometimes too late. This is why you must have fire detection warning systems in place and depending on the type of building you have, may need to have different types of detectors installed.

Fire fighting equipment

It is important to note that the types of equipment that you will need depends on your business premises and that you must have all equipment properly installed, tested and maintained and that your staff are trained to use them if necessary.

Maintenance and testing:

  • You must carry out regular checks to ensure:
  • Emergency lighting is working
  • You record faults in systems and equipment
  • Ensure fire alarm systems are working
  • Fire escape routes are clear and the floor is in good condition
  • Fire exit signs are in the correct place
  • All fire escapes can be used easily
  • Automatic fire doors close correctly.

Fire drills and training

When you get new staff, it is your responsibility to ensure they are trained in fire safety and that employees learn of new fire risks and you must carry out at least one fire drill a year and record the outcome and keep the results as part of your fire evacuation plan.

Enforcement appeals and penalties

Your local fire and rescue authority can visit your premises in order to ensure that fire safety procedures have been carried out efficiently and that fire prevention measures are appropriate. To help, fire safety officers should help you understand any changes so that you can learn how to alter your fire safety procedures going forward to increasing safety.

If your fire safety measurements are not adequate, your fire and rescue authority can take action and may issue a formal notice or suggest fire safety measures for you to adopt. In addition, they can also give you a formal fire safety notice with advice and help on how to makes changes.

Alterations notice

You may be issues an alterations notice if your building has high fire safety risks or will have have safety risks following changes to the use of your building.

Enforcement notice

If the fire and rescue authority find a serious fire risk that is not being managed, you may be issues an enforcement notice. This will tell you when improvements must be made by.

Prohibition notice

A prohibition notice takes effect immediately and will be issued if the fire and rescue authority deem that a fire risk is so substantial that access to your premises must be prohibited or restricted.

Appeals

If you disagree with the penalty or notice given by your local fire and rescue authority, you may be able to arrange an informal review. You can appeal to your local magistrates’ court within 21 days of receiving your notice.

In some circumstances, you and the fire rescue authority can ask for a ‘determination’ from the Communities Secretary in order to resolve a dispute.

Note: a determination provides revised guidance on the determination request process available to enforcing authorities and responsible persons under article 36 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Penalties

It is important to ensure fire safety risk assessments and procedures are carried out as you can be fined or go to prison if you do not follow fire safety regulations.

Minor penalties can be up to £5,000 with major penalties serving unlimited fines and up to 2 years in prison.

Fire Safety DVD’s, softwares and fire supplies

Fire safety DVD’s:

In order to meet regulation standards, businesses must train staff on the correct procedures to follow to reduce the risk of fire and what do if a fire occurs such as quickly and safely evacuating a building. In order to effectively this, fire safety DVD’s are a great solution.

Ideal for training in business, fire safety DVD’s allow a number of people to be trained at once, in house making them extremely cost and time effective. Fire safety DVDs can also be used numerous times for re-training, a recap on fire safety or for when new employees join your business.

As different work environments face different challenges regarding fire safety, we supply a wide range of fire safety DVDs which all cover a range of products. Ranging from fire safety DVDs in hotels, to fire safety at work - there are a variety of options, ready for you to pick the relevant fire safety training for you and your business.

If you have any questions regarding our fire safety training DVDs, then please send our team an email at sales@risk-assessment-products.co.uk.

Fire Safety Software:

Our fire safety software allows your business to comply with UK fire safety requirements. As a business owner, you are responsible for fire safety in your building and that your staff are adequately trained in fire safety procedures.

At Risk Assessment Products, our range of fire safety software means that you can easily fulfil your duty in being responsible for fire safety as our range of supplies is ideal for covering any fire safety scenarios. From legal compliance resources to fire log books, you can easily, safely and legally cover the steps required by fire safety standards.

Fire safety supplies:

When fires happen, you need to act quick. The spread of flames can be very difficult to slow down, prevent or stop which is why you need the best quality solution at hand should the worst happen. We supply the best fire safety supplies that the industry has to offer in order to provide peace of mind to our customers that a product from us will provide help when needed the most.

Using only trusted brands, within our collection we offer brands such as Savex, Howler, Firechief and Apollo all which make buildings a safer environment in the event of a fire.

When a fire starts, often it can take some time before people notice as it could happen in a remote area of a building where not many people are, meaning detecting a fire can go unnoticed for some time making it even more dangerous. Our range of fire and smoke detectors help greatly reduce that risk. They clearly alert the public or employees that there is a hazard - giving the indication to evacuate the building.

Fire extinguishers, hoses and standpipes are also paramount to have in a public building or workplace. If confronted by a fire, knowing that you have the resources at hand to combat the flames thanks to their ability to handle a variety of fire types.

Ensuring your building can be easily escaped is just as important as being alerted about a danger. We have a number of products such as emergency lighting, fire blankets and fire escape equipment to make the evacuation of a building as clear, simple and straight forward as possible.

Not only this but, storing fire safety products correctly is also key to fire safety. If fire safety equipment becomes damaged over time whether it be accidental or due to the environment, when need the most, they may not work or be as effective. In order to adequately protect your fire safety equipment, our range of fire storage and collection units is key to consider.

If you have any questions regarding our fire safety supplies, then please contact us at sales@risk-assessment-products.co.uk