Who is Responsible for Fire Safety in the Workplace is a question that you should ask yourself when you think of the safety aspect. The premise owner, business employer, or occupier of a premise and safety office are all responsible for the fire safety of the site location. It is the responsibility of every employee to follow fire safety guidelines, perform a visual inspection of fire extinguishers, monitor safety procedures, and report any safety observation to the safety team.
The organization safety team has a responsibility to put in place the following measures:
- Carry out a regular fire risk assessment and review with a predefined frequency.
- Identify risks from the assessment and put procedures or processes in place to reduce or manage them.
- Have in place an appropriate fire safety procedure and communicate this to staff and visitors.
- Provide training to staff to ensure they know what to do in the event of a fire.
Carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment is a detailed review of a business premise to identify fire risks and put in place measures to reduce or manage these risks. A fire risk assessment can be carried out by a fire safety officer, HSE manager, or, if you don’t have someone, then it shall be carried out by a government-approved professional agency.
The agency shall be certified to carry our fire risk assessment and shall provide comprehensive guidance on the equipment required and any processes which may need to be introduced.
The key areas covered in a fire risk assessment include:
- Checking that emergency evacuation routes and exits are clear from hazards.
- The emergency evacuation plan, exit boards, and fire safety signage are displayed appropriately.
- The premises have suitable fire safety equipment and it is installed at the right location.
- Measures in place for the elderly or those with disabilities to be able to vacate the building in case of a fire.
Fire Extinguishers and Servicing
You must have the right type of fire extinguisher in place to deal with a fire in your particular work setting. The safety of your staff and visitors should be the main priority and staff should only be encouraged to use a fire extinguisher in the event of a fire if they have been trained and as long as it does not put them in any danger.
Your extinguishers must be commissioned and installed by experienced service staff and correct signage showing the location and type of extinguisher is in place.
Once your extinguishers have been installed, ensure that a monthly visual check is carried out. Even a single malfunctioning fire extinguisher can put countless lives and properties at risk. Visual safety checks of fire extinguishers can be performed by employees / general staff. This ensures that the fire extinguishers are in good working condition.
Below are some key steps which you can follow to complete the safety checks.
- Check accessibility
- Examine the physical state to see any signs of damage or tampering
- Blockages in the hose or nozzle
- Check the pressure gauge (if the needle is in the correct operable range)
- Observe condition of tamper seal and safety pin
- Inspect the service maintenance tag (if available)
Further to the general visual safety checks, as part of fire safety guidelines fire extinguisher maintenance and monitoring inspection shall be conducted by fire service vendor or in-house safety team at monthly/ quarterly intervals. Importantly, you must also ensure that an annual service of the extinguisher is carried out by trained service personnel as per the BIS 2190:2010.
Remember, situational awareness saves lives!!!