Health and safety at work may not be the most exciting of topics, but it is something everyone needs to be aware of.
Failure to comply with the regulations could result in huge fines and in extreme cases the loss of life, so in this blog I look to help people more of an understanding as to the ways in which they can avoid a fire in the workplace.
First, The Basics
You’ve probably heard it all before, but it is always important to clue yourself up on how fires start after all, the vast majority of fires are avoidable if adequate precautions are taken.
Basically fire needs fuel, e.g. wood, paper plastic, oxygen, and a source of ignition such as a flame or ash from a cigarette butt to start. Without any of those three, a fire cannot occur.
A good risk assessment will identify any potential risks, but as there may be a gap between when these occur, new risks may creep in in the meantime. Therefore, good general housekeeping is essential – as I will go into further detail with soon.
Clue Your Staff Up To Watch Out for Faults
Tell staff that they should report any electrical faults immediately. You would be quite surprised about the number of fires started because of faulty wiring and malfunctioning equipment. Unfortunately for you this is something you’ll need to get a professional in for, but better that than a potential office destroying fire.
On this theme, it is important to make sure there is easy access to the electrical control panels around your workplace. In the event of an emergency, quick and easy access to these could be the difference between a minor spark and a major fire.
Similarly, if you have sprinklers – don’t stack boxes so high it obstructs them and makes them useless. This same idea applies to fire extinguishers and whatever fire fighting equipment you have in your office. If people can’t get to it in the event of an emergency, then it is useless.
Not blocking the emergency exit is another thing that seems like common sense, but often still happens. This is against all the rules and regulations in place and could results in a hefty fine.
Unfortunately there are some people out there who revel in destroying property by using fire. To avoid falling victim to such arsonists, it is important to have adequate building security in place in order to prevent such fires.
If The Worst Does Happen
Preparation is essential if there is a fire in your workplace. Of course, we can’t plan for a fire occurring, but we can certainly make sure we keep our office up to scratch in terms of fire safety. Everything from smoke alarms to the extinguishers need to be regularly maintained, or else you may find yourself in serious legal trouble if it turns out you weren’t complying with the various fire safety rules.
Now this blog is only designed as general advice, but if you are the person responsible for the health and safety of your work place and workforce, it is in your best interests to enrol the assistant of trained professionals that focus on health and safety compliance solutions. They will be able to ensure your premises are up to scratch in regards to the fire equipment, the onus falls on you to ensure everything else is kept in line however.
Louisa Jenkins is a freelance blogger specialising in business and health and safety. She blogs on the importance of health and safety compliance, such as that provided by Elecheck, and the fire risks that can occur if regular checks are not carried out.