It doesn’t take a vast amount of education to understand that a fire in your work premises would be bad news. As well as the cost of equipment, loss of earnings, overall building damage and general business disruption, there’s also the much more horrible potential consequence of human injury or in the worst possible scenario – fatality. In 2013-2014 there were 22,000 fires recorded in buildings that were not dwellings, 17 fatalities and 1,083 non-fatal casualties occurred in those fires (Source).
In the same year, it was recorded that a shocking 75% of fires in other buildings (not dwellings) were caused accidentally, with the main cause being faulty appliances and leads. Shockingly, nearly 50% of other buildings with recorded fires did not have automatic smoke alarms and 2 of the deaths in that year were caused by automatic smoke alarms that failed to operate correctly (Source).
Despite a general increase in fire awareness in businesses, these figures show shocking evidence that there’s still a long way to go when it comes to fire safety in businesses. Fire risk assessments are extremely important and there’s no excuse for neglecting your fire safety protocol as a business. The government provide a vast amount of information and every regional fire service not only offers information, but will provide free fire alarm checks and in-house advice on fire risk management.
It’s easy enough to understand the devastation surrounding a business fire after an incident has occurred, but it is of course desirable to understand the potential consequences in full before an incident occurs, taking all possible precautions to prevent a fire with regular fire risk assessments and fire risk reduction.
Reducing Fire Risk In Your Business
Your top priority should be fire risk assessments, followed by fire safety training for all staff members.
Fire Risk Assessments
The very first thing you need to do before looking at completing a fire risk assessment is to clearly record and communicate who is responsible for the task. Clearly state in official documents who is responsible for completing regular fire risk assessments, clearly communicating this to the person’s involved, ensuring they are fully trained and able to competently complete the task. It should also be clear how often these assessments need to be carried out, how they need to be recorded and the action that needs to be taken after the assessment is completed to ensure any identified risks are actively reduced or removed. Actions taken to reduce or remove fire risk should also be recorded. Remember that the owner or leaseholder of the business premises may hold partial or full responsibility for fire risk assessments, or they may require a copy of any fire risk assessments you carry out.
It is important all staff are trained on fire safety either before they begin employment at your premises, or on their first day of work at your premises. Although regular fire risk assessments will help dramatically reduce the risk of fire, staff being aware of fire safety, trained on how to deal with immediate fire risk and what to do if there is a fire will also contribute to a positive fire safe culture within your business.
Don’t Let Your Business Become a Fire Statistic
Dealing with the consequences of a fire at your place of business could cost you your livelihood and it could cost lives. Don’t become a fire statistic – get your business fire safe, it could be the difference between life or death for you and your employees.
For more information on completing a fire risk assessment, click on the following links: