During Business Safety Week, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service will be joining other Fire & Rescue Services across the UK in promoting business fire safety. The week runs in the month of September each year and aims to provide businesses with information and advice to reduce the number of fire incidents and false alarms in the workplace, both of which impact business safety and productivity.
Fire Safety is important all year around, however during business safety week, businesses are asked to double check they have taken the steps required by law to protect their business and employees from fire. In particular:
- Preventing fires in the workplace
- Protecting businesses from Arson
- Reducing false alarms in the workplace
- Protecting accommodation on commercial premises.
The first stage in preventing fires in the workplace is to carry out a fire risk assessment.
A fire risk assessment may consider these common causes of fire:
- Arson - More information provided below.
- Electrical faults - make sure staff understand not to overload sockets, have a means of reporting, identifying and disposing of faulty equipment in the workplace and consider PAT testing electrical equipment http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/faq-portable-appliance-testing.htm
- Human error - This can be caused by untrained staff not understanding fire hazards. The best way to try and overcome this is regular training.
- Hot work - such as welding and grinding and might be carried out by contractors as maintenance rather than everyday task. Such work can also lead to false alarms.
- Smoking - Designated smoking areas should be away from combustible or hazardous materials and employees should ensure they extinguish cigarettes properly.
Protecting Businesses from Arson
The risk of Arson can be reduced by taking the following steps:
- Store rubbish in secure areas/bins away from buildings and don't let it accumulate
- Make sure flammable materials and locked away - they can be used to accelerate a fire
- Test alarms and make sure fire detection and fighting equipment is correctly maintained
- Make sure you know who is on your site at all times - this means visitors and staff having signing in and out procedures
Protect your premises
- Consider risk of arson in your fire risk assessment
- Fit anti-arson letterboxes on entry doors
- Make sure you secure and protect your premises, lighting, CCTV, fencing etc will deter criminals
Inform your staff
- When finishing for the day may sure staff have procedures for making sure external doors are locked, internal doors are closed, no unauthorised persons are left on the premises, alarms are switched on and there is no rubbish or waste left lying around
- Make sure staff now about fire prevention and have a way of reporting concerns or incidents both within the organisation and to police/fire service or Crimestoppers
http://www.stoparsonuk.org/arson/ for more information
Reducing False Alarms and Unwanted Fire Signals:
False Alarms account for around 40% of all calls attended by Fire & Rescue Services; this costs the taxpayer money and prevents fire engines from being available to attend real emergencies. There is a cost to business also; each year false alarms are estimated to cost UK businesses around £1 billion a year.
Learn how to reduce False Alarms.
Reduce false alarms leaflet
(pdf 151.92 KB)
Accommodation on Commercial Premises
Some commercial premises have domestic accommodation within the fabric of the building e.g. a flat above a shop. Those responsible for the commercial premises must ensure that their actions do not put the residents at risk. Things to check:
- Are communal areas including outside space used to store stock or rubbish?
- Are the escape routes unobstructed?
- Is there a smoke alarm?
- Is there accumulated rubbish around the premises? - this could be an arson risk
- Are commercial and residential premises separated correctly? - this could mean separate entrances, fire doors and fireproofed construction on floors, ceiling and walls.
For sleeping accommodation above takeaways, read:
Takeaway premises guidance
(pdf 1,149.08 KB)