Preventing and reducing fires in the workplace is essential to protecting not only yourself, but other employees in the same business.
Workplace fires in offices have increased over the last 5 years, with the common fault being faulty wires and electrical. It means that they are preventable.
The real question for everyone who works in a small organisation is that in the event of a fire, would you know what to do?
Here are the top 5 tips you should follow when it comes to being safe, secure and protecting your employees from harm and potential workplace related injuries.
1. Check Wires
Many people underestimate the ability of faulty, cracked or torn wires. Especially in office environments, where a significant amount of electrical equipments are placed. Wiring and cords must be stored effectively and properly – out of sight. You should avoid Octopus wiring!
Octopus wiring means, many wires are tangled and clustered within one another. They are not meant to be used that way and it is an extremely high fire hazard. You can prevent fire hazards with organisation and structure of the wires.
Keep all wires away from heat and water sources
Put safety caps on unused electrical outlets
Inspect plugs and wires regularly
2. Appoint a Fire Warden Officer
Every single business has a legal duty under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005.
This means fire and rescue authorities and other bodies have a duty to enforce fire safety in non-domestic properties. Depending on the scale of a business, there needs to be 1 fire warden for every 20 people.
Evacuation drills should be reviewed, fire extinguishers should be put into place, and fire training should be provided to a selected, if not ALL employees.
Fire warden officers or marshals, are designed to guide those in the event of a fire. Here are a few of their duties and legal obligations:
Prevent emergencies by monitoring fire risk control measures
Raise awareness with other staff
Lead fire drills
Lead evacuation route drills
Assist in emergencies when they occur
3. Install an Effective Fire Alarm System
Without a fire alarm system, you wouldn’t be able to know there was a fire in your building. Install an effective smoke alarm system, it detects an issue before a full fledged fire begins.
This increases the likelihood of survival and offers time for you to call the emergency services or tackle the issue yourself – providing you are qualified.
4. Know Your Fire Extinguishers
There are 5 extinguishers available for each type of fire. These are all classified as Class A, B, C, D, E and F. The main types are water, foam, dry powder, CO2 and wet chemical.
If you have incorrect fire extinguishers on your business premises, it’s unlikely that you don’t meet current regulations.
Classes of Fire
CLASS A - Combustible materials - wood, paper, fabric CLASS B - Flammable liquids - paint, petrol, alcohol CLASS C - Flammable gases - methane, butane, hydrogen CLASS D - Combustible metals - magnesium, potassium ELECTRICAL - Electrical equipment CLASS F - Cooking oils - chip pan, frying pan etc
5. Have Clear Fire Signs
Without clear fire signs throughout the workplace, employees will not know where they are going in the event of fire drills or a real life fire.
Do you know where your fire exit is in your workplace? Are there no smoking signs? These type of signs are needed for compliance with fire risk assessments.
Fire safety signs are usually covered in the most basic form of fire safety training, so it is important that your employees, and the business as a whole are aware of the risks, and what to do in the event of a fire.