Damage to any building, caused by fire, theft or flood (or any other disaster) can be devastating. When it’s your business, the financial ripples can spread far and wide, not to mention the risk to your employees should they be on site at such a time.
Insurance will cover for most eventualities, but there could be further consequences for the potential loss of confidential and private files. Business could be interrupted for days or even weeks at a time, until any damage is repaired.
Although the chances of an emergency situation arising while at work are slim, they do happen. And, sadly, on a daily basis. How many of us would know how to cope in a dangerous situation? Do you know the procedure for evacuation within your workplace? If you are an employer or building owner, you are legally bound to take responsibility for fire safety within the building.
Here are some tips on minimising risks associated with fire and keeping your business and its employees as safe as possible.
You have a duty of care to your employees, and part of that duty is to make sure they are up to date with procedures during an emergency. There are also guidelines to reduce the risk of fire:
- Maintenance – Ensure all fire alarm systems are in good working order and serviced regularly.
- Clean greasy appliances – Kitchens are hotbeds for germs and grease build up (which is highly flammable). Keep all appliances clean, and PAT rest them routinely.
- Keep exits clear – these must be accessible at all times. Clear away clutter and debris that could impede evacuation in the event of a fire. Exit doors should fall into all the safety regulations. Steel fire exit doors from Dove Steel Doors are the best and most secure option for the business.
- Safe storage – all paper products and flammable materials should be stored well away from heat sources.
- Smoke free site – many fires are caused by discarded cigarettes. Enforce a strict ‘no smoking on site’ policy.
- Waste disposal – all rubbish should be cleared daily. It can become a hazard if allowed to build up.
- Clear the air – ventilate the premises, particularly where chemical cleaning products are being used. Store cleaning products away from any heat sources.
Every company should have an action plan in place. Roles and responsibilities of employees during an evacuation or emergency should be outlined and documented and should also include details of:
- Evacuation routes – a diagram of the building with highlighted exits, clearly marked escape routes, assembly points and accessible routes (should there be employees with disabilities or mobility issues).
- Fire equipment and training – you may need to assign a specific role to one or more key employees in First Aid, fire extinguisher use etc. Your local fire safety company can advise and offer training for this.
- Fire drills – routine fire drill will keep your staff on their toes! Practicing regularly will ensure employees know what to do in the event of an evacuation, and highlight areas that need improvement.
- Testing – test your smoke detectors and emergency lighting and sound your alarms every month.