Fire safety in the workplace is vital in protecting a business’s people and assets, and all commercial premises are required by law to comply with regulations. A failure to do so can result in a fine or even a prison sentence.
Orchard Facilities Management works with clients to help them fulfil their obligations as employers with respect to fire safety best practice and compliance, which is covered in England by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Our team can carry out fire assessments, draw up emergency plans, plan and install alarm and detection systems, and keep them maintained to ensure sure your business is fully compliant.
We were contacted by one of our clients who needed our help to identify their obligations as an employer and to work with them in putting the necessary actions and procedures in place.
The ‘responsible person’
Our client, quite correctly, recognised that, as the person in control of a workplace (the ‘responsible person’), they were obliged to take reasonable steps to reduce a fire risk and to ensure that everyone on or near the premises – including visitors and members of the public – would be able to escape safely in the event of a fire.
In some businesses, this responsibility may be shared by a number of people, such as the employer, landlord, managing agent and facilities manager.
What did we do?
Working closely with our client, we arranged to:
- Carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises. This must be reviewed regularly
- Make staff and service users, including anyone who might need extra help, aware of the risks and arranged for relevant fire safety information, instruction and training to be given. This included highlighting assembly points and procedures during a fire alarm
- Install and maintain fire safety measures
- Put plans in place in case of an emergency, and ensure escape routes were kept clear at all times
In addition, we assessed the risk of fires and explosions arising from work activities involving dangerous substances, and we worked to eliminate or reduce these risks. This is a requirement for employers under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).
Fire risk assessment
Fire authorities no longer issue fire certificates, so the assessment must be carried out by the responsible person. We helped our client cover the five key areas required by the regulations:
· Identify fire hazards
· Identify people at risk
· Evaluate, remove, reduce and protect from risk
· Record, plan, instruct, inform and train
· Review regularly to ensure the assessment is up-to-date relevant
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that every business must have a fire detection and alarm system, as well as suitable extinguishers on site. The type of fire safety system and equipment required depends on the type of business and premises.
One of our fire safety experts assessed the premises and advised our client on the right level of fire protection for their business. We’ve previously worked with smaller businesses who have been able to comply with the regulations simply by having a multi-purpose extinguisher.
Service and Maintenance
Under fire safety regulations, all equipment and alarm systems must be regularly tested and maintained. These checks should ensure:
- Fire alarm systems are working
- Emergency lighting is working
- Faults in systems and equipment are recorded
- All escape routes are clear and the floor is in good condition
- Fire escapes can be opened easily
- Automatic fire doors close correctly
- Fire exit signs are in the right place
To find out more about fire safety, fire risk assessments, fire and alarm systems, and maintenance, contact the technical team at Orchard Facilities Management on 01422 880 180.
You’ll also find more in-depth information our white paper.