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Last updated: 31.07.19

Effective Fire Safety Protection In The Workplace

Why is Fire Safety so important?

Effective fire safety should be a top priority for every business. Fires cost UK businesses approximately £8.3 billion per year and the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) say that around 60% of businesses never recover from the costs associated with an accidental fire, so it’s always worth taking the time to ensure that you have robust fire protection processes in place.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for fire safety protection. Each individual business will have its own collection of unique fire hazards. For example, shops and retail outlets will need to be mindful of flammable display materials, and plan for narrow or congested exit routes while restaurants will need to be aware of the risks posed by open flames, hot oil and other high-risk fuel sources.

As such, effective fire safety protocols tend to have a multifaceted approach; starting with a comprehensive risk assessment process and then branching out to address any areas of concern in the most effective way possible. This might mean looking for ways to update high-risk processes, investing in fire safety training for key members of staff, or establishing a more robust evacuation plan.

To help you get started, we’ve outlined a five step process that’s designed to help you provide effective fire safety protection for your employees and customers. As follows:

1. Start with a fire risk assessment

A thorough fire risk assessment will help you to identify potential hazards, and provide you with an action plan that can be used to improve overall safety in the workplace. Up-to-date and well-documented fire risk assessments are also mandated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, so it’s always worth starting with a robust risk assessment process.  

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) a good fire risk assessment:

  • Explores all possible fire hazards
  • Details all the people at risk during a fire (including staff, customers and contractors)
  • Evaluates methods for reducing the risk of fire
  • Details pre-existing fire safety aids
  • Explores possible escape routes and evacuation protocols

You’ll find useful information on performing a fire safety assessment on the Gov.uk website alongside fire safety advice for various types of business.  

2. Make sure that you have an EAP in place

In the event of a fire, a good EAP (or emergency action plan) can be the difference between life and death. EAPs are designed to cut down on panic, and ensure that staff know how to respond should the unthinkable happen. A thorough EAP will also account for all possible escape routes, and provide fallback options in the event that certain parts of your premises become cut off during a fire.  

If you’ve had the prerequisite fire safety training, it’s always worth spending some time on your EAP; paying particular attention to things that could be done to maximise safety and the wellbeing of your staff.  

3. Invest in the correct equipment

Fire safety equipment is often the backbone of a robust fire safety strategy, so it pays to make sure you’ve invested in the right things. According to the HSE, proper emergency lighting, alarm systems and clear safety signs are all essential kit, as are fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and high quality fire doors.  

Under the terms of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is your responsibility to make sure you’ve made adequate provision so we’d strongly recommend sitting down, and thinking about the equipment that’s needed to guarantee effective fire safety protection.

4. Make sure your staff receive the correct training

Last but not least, it’s very important that your staff receive the correct fire safety training. Trained staff will be better placed to spot risks, and take preventative action that’ll stop a fire breaking out in the first place. They’ll also be much quicker to respond in the event of an accidental fire, and it’s also worth noting that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 mandates that all members of staff receive up-to-date fire safety training.  

Here at Virtual College, we’re pleased to offer a CPD certified course on fire safety in the workplace, which will enable you and your staff to learn about fire safety at your own pace.

Fire Safety FAQs

What does fire safety mean?

Fire safety is a set of procedures which aim to reduce the amount of damage and injuries caused by fires. These include risk assessments to help identify and reduce areas of fire risk, and formulate an emergency and evacuation plan in the event that a fire does break out.

What does the fire alarm sign indicate?

Fire alarm signs give a clearly visible indication of where the nearest fire alarm is and will usually be located near fire emergency equipment.

What information do fire safety signs give?

Fire safety signs give a range of information via clear graphics, from prohibition signs around smoking to fire action signs giving instructions on what to do in the event of a fire.

Click here to view our full range of Fire Safety FAQs

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