Call: 02089881662

Who Is Responsible for Fire Safety In The Workplace?

Health & safety is a crucial part of workplace planning, and fire safety is possible one of the most important things to consider. Workplaces often have high traffic in and out of the building, and they usually hold highly flammable materials such as chemicals and paper documents. Luckily, we can manage fire risk by installing effective fire safety solutions, such as fire alarms and extinguishers. But the question is; who is responsible for fire safety in the workplace? Let’s discuss this below.

 

Why Is Fire Safety In The Workplace So Important?

Fire safety regulations can change, so keeping up with what’s expected by law can be difficult. Workplaces might think their fire safety is compliant with the law without realising their safety protocol is outdated and unsafe. Workplace fires happen more often than you think. 

The fact that many workplaces house flammable materials means these fires can be devastating if not controlled. Throughout one year, 22,200 fires were reported in non-dwelling properties in the UK! 3,700 of these cases were recorded where alarms failed to sound. Installing fire alarms can significantly reduce the damage caused by fire.

Workplaces also have a high footfall; significant traffic means many lives are at risk from workplace fires. It is the responsibility of employees to ensure their staff are safe! Also, fires can destroy property, which could, in turn, ruin a business. Insurance companies probably won’t cover the cost of damage if appropriate fire safety solutions weren’t in place!

 

Who Is Responsible for Fire Safety In The Workplace?

The workplace’s responsibility for fire safety used to lie with the emergency services, but the rules have now changed. Multiple people are responsible, including the following:

  • Employers
  • Landlords
  • Owners
  • Occupiers
  • Anyone who has control of the premises

These people are all known as responsible person/people. When there is more than one responsible person, everyone needs to discuss who is responsible for what. It’s a good idea to put everything discussed down in writing!

 

What Fire Safety Measures Should Be Put In Place?

The responsible person needs to make sure all appropriate fire safety is in place and maintained. All the fire risks need to be removed, reduced, or managed with safety measures. This is to save lives and protect property! The main aim is to remove hazards, make sure the escape route is clear, and that people can escape quickly in an emergency.

Risk Assessments

This is a legal requirement for any workplace with over five employees (and it must be written down). The responsible person/people first need to identify potential fire hazards, anything that could start a fire or cause it to intensify/spread. Trained professionals can help with your fire risk assessment; this will ensure nothing is missed!

The responsible person also needs to identify anybody who is at increased risk. This includes people with disabilities, anyone working closely with fire hazards, or isolated within the building. 

All fire risks need to be removed where possible; otherwise, they need to be managed. Suppose it’s not possible to remove fire risks such as flammable materials. In that case, they should be placed with less flammable materials. These findings need to be recorded and written, and an emergency evacuation plan must be made. Here are some templates to help you write up your risk assessment!

No Smoking Policy

Not only is it bad for staff health for people to smoke on work premises, but smoking is also a huge fire hazard. Smoking materials caused 36% of fire-related fatalities in one year! The responsible person should inform everybody who uses the no-smoking policy and put signs up around the premises to remind them of the rules!

Fire Alarm Systems

The responsible person must ensure an adequate number of fire alarms are installed throughout the premises. If a room contains a fire risk (such as a kitchen with an oven), it must have a fire alarm fitted. Fire alarms should be marked with a BSI kitemark or European (CE) safety mark. They should always be installed and serviced by professionals!

Fire Extinguishers

These are a crucial part of fire safety in the workplace! Fire extinguishers slow down the spread of fire to save lives and prevent properties from being destroyed. It is up to the responsible person to ensure all extinguishers are serviced annually by a qualified person (BAFE qualification or equivalent). All extinguishers should also be inspected regularly by the responsible person to check for any damage.

Fire Doors

It is down to the responsible person to ensure fire doors are kept free from obstacles and remain in good working order. There must be the correct number of fire doors for the size of the property, and regular inspections must be carried out by a trained professional. It is a legal requirement that fire doors are correctly installed and maintained!

 

Never Forget About Fire Safety Training! 

Fire Drills

To be used alongside other safety measures, fire drills are a crucial part of fire safety! The purpose of a fire drill is to recreate the process if a fire did break out. The fire alarm is set off manually, and then the building is evacuated following the planned evacuation procedure. The process needs to be monitored and recorded. Any problems that occur need to be solved to ensure the process can run smoothly in the future!

Inform Staff of Their Role

We know how important it is for the responsible person to understand their role, but all staff need to understand how to help keep the workplace safe! Staff need to report any risks as soon as they are spotted. Staff also need to know the importance of following the evacuation plan properly. It is up to everybody in the workplace to work together to keep the premises safe!

Always Tell Visitors The Evacuation Plan

Don’t forget about visitors! They also have a role in fire safety. Make sure everybody who enters the building is informed of your emergency evacuation plan. Put signs up around the building also to remind you of this plan! Make sure all visitors sign in and out; this means you have a record of everybody inside. This is crucial if an emergency does occur, as you can make sure everybody has made it safely out of the building.

 

Seek Out Professional Help

If you are unsure about your fire safety in the workplace, the best advice is to get in touch with a qualified, skilled, fully trained professional! They can ensure your fire safety solutions are all up to scratch, meeting safety regulations to keep your staff and property safe! Contact us at Kiasu Workforce to find out more.

Workplace Safety: Is Your Business Fully-Certified?

Workplace safety is exceptionally important but making sure your property meets rigorous safety standards can be difficult if you are unaware of the different assessments used to test your safety. In this guide, we will show you the most important certificates, assessments and tests needed to demonstrate your property’s safety and identify areas which may need improving. We will focus on three of the main areas of any property’s safety; electrical safety, fire safety, and gas safety. From EICR and fixed wire testing to gas safety certificates, there are a plethora of ways to improve your commercial property’s safety.

 

Electrical Safety

Electrical safety is one of the most important areas of any business. The consequences of bad electrical safety can be significant, ranging from shocks and burns which can be harmful to employees, to fires and explosions which can destroy a property and even be fatal. There are a few assessments you can undergo to make sure your electrical safety is up to standard.

Firstly, portable appliance testing (more commonly known as PAT testing) can be used to ensure electrical safety across all appliances which are connected to electricity through a lead and plug. Health and safety laws make it a legal requirement that all appliances are tested regularly.

Secondly, a business can acquire an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) to evidence that electrical installations are up to standard. An EICR will detail the findings of fixed wire testing which is crucial to identifying potential electrical hazards. An EICR is so incredibly important to health and safety that recent laws have made them mandatory in privately rented residential properties.

 

Fire Safety

A fire can be devasting to a business which is why it is important to implement precautions to prevent them as well as take measures to mitigate their damage if they occur. Businesses are no longer issued fire safety certificates and instead must undertake a fire safety assessment. This puts the onus of fire safety on the business and its “responsible person”. A fire safety assessment will cover the full breadth of fire safety measures for businesses. You can read a step by step guide to implementing a fire safety assessment in our Guide to Fire Safety.

Fire alarm and fire door installation is essential, and all smoke detectors should be tested routinely. Fire extinguishers should be placed throughout the building. Properly training employees on fire safety and the evacuation process in the event of a fire is also fundamental to keeping employees safe. A fire safety assessment will cover all these elements and more.

 

Gas Safety

Commercial property gas safety obligations fall into two main areas; maintaining all gas installation and keeping records of an annual gas safety inspection. Maintenance is required for all gas installations and appliances. Gas safety maintenance includes an annual inspection and servicing by a Gas Safe registered engineer. 

You legally require a Gas safety certificate which can only be issued by a Gas Safe engineer. To get a Gas Safety certificate an engineer will need to visit your premises and carry out an inspection of all gas appliances including a visual inspection and functionality, operations and pressure tests. The extraction methods of appliances which use an extraction system to extract combustion gases will be assessed for suitability.

 

The health and safety of your employees and those visiting your commercial property is extremely important. To best protect them from hazards (and yourself from legal consequences) you need to make sure your businesses is taking all the necessary precautions and has obtained the required certificates which evidence that safety measures have been put in place.

Guide To Fire Safety In The Workplace

Workplace fires are a real risk which every workplace should work to prevent. Correct workplace fire safety is achieved through a series of steps. Firstly, identifying hazards. Secondly, identifying people at risk. Next we would look at reducing any potential risks and taking preventive measures, such as fire door installation and fire alarm servicing. Following this, you will want to record any measures you take and ensure the relevant people have the necessary information (including company-wide training). Finally, you want to review your fire risk assessment and continue to make changes where needed. Below we have looked at each step in more detail to ensure that you have the information you need to put a procedure in place regarding fire safety.

 

Step 1: Identify Hazards

The first step in fire safety is to identify potential hazards. You need to identify any sources of ignition such as heaters, sources of fuel (look for anything that could fuel a fire) and sources of oxygen such as air conditioning or commercial oxygen supplies. All three are fundamental to starting and fuelling a fire, so you need to be aware of where they are and work to mitigate the risk of them leading to a workplace fire.

 

Step 2: Identify People at Risk

Once you have identified hazards that can start and fuel a fire, you need to identify the people within your organisation that are most at risk. These are the people who work near the hazards you have identified, people that work alone, or people that may have difficulty moving or responding in the event of a fire such as elderly people or people with certain disabilities or injuries.

 

Step 3: Reduce Risks And Take Preventative Measures

Once you have identified potential hazards and the people who will be most vulnerable in the event of a fire, you should start mitigating risk. Keeping in mind the information gathered through steps one and two. Separate the sources of ignition and sources of fuel you identified, replacing flammable materials for non-flammable alternatives where possible.

You will also need a functioning and effective alarm system to warn people in the event of a fire. It is essential that you carry out regular fire alarm servicing so that you know your system is working. In the event of a small fire, you may be able to handle it yourself before it gets out of hand. Make sure you have fire extinguishers throughout the building which are easily accessible. 

To further prevent small fires spreading throughout the building and becoming a larger fire,  you need to install fire doors. Fire doors will also help you manage accessible routes out of the building in the case of a fire. You should have an easily accessible and known route out of the building in the event of a fire. All fire doors should be accessible and able to open without the need for a key.

 

Step 4: Record Any Changes You Make

Step four is to document all the hazards and people at risk you identified in steps one and two. You also should document all the changes and precautionary measures you made in step three. Note everything from fire alarm servicing and fire door installation to routes out of the building in the event of a fire.

 

Step 5: Keep Your Risk Assessment Updated

The final step is to make sure your risk assessment is up to date. Have new hazards arisen? Do your fire alarms need servicing again? Have you added new employees to the company that don’t know the way out of the building during a fire? Answering yes to any of these questions (and countless other we didn’t ask) means you need to update your fire risk assessment. Regularly revisit steps one through four to make sure your business’ fire risk assessment is up to date.

Kiasu expands successful PPM partnership with CRM Students

CRM & Kiasu celebrate successful PPM contract

Kiasu is proud to be a preferred maintenance and works partner of CRM Students. Continuing an already successful partnership, Kiasu is responsible for planned preventative maintenance (PPM) and emergency maintenance for five of CRM’s properties in Greater London.

Planned Preventative Maintenance

Kiasu’s duties will include fire, plumbing and electrical safety checks, utility installation, repair and replacement, building refurbishment, fixed wire testing, PAT testing, minor repairs and decorating projects. In addition, the company provides an emergency callout service. Accordingly, Kiasu is employed as a planned preventative maintenance provider with a reactive maintenance provision.

CRM Students

CRM Students offers high-quality student accommodation for all budgets, operating across the UK with locations in 31 different towns. CRM’s Kiasu-maintained London portfolio includes Fulham Palace Studios, Kingston Plaza, Felda House & Grand Felda House at Wembley and Hox Park in Egham.

Fulham Palace Studios
Fulham Palace Studios

Kingston Plaza
Kingston Plaza

Hox Park
Hox Park

Felda House
Felda House

Grand Felda House
Grand Felda House

CRM aims to provide a comfortable environment with a friendly community. suitable for all types of students to study and socialise. Properties are close to main transport lines. The company also works with Student Minds, a charity which provides critical mental health support for students. CRM conducts fundraising activities to help students help each other.

Kiasu Group

Kiasu has been around since 2009, and has grown to cover the whole of London and further afield. The Group provides an extensive range of property and maintenance services, as well as building projects and reactive maintenance. Kiasu also offers incident response training through its Crisis Management arm. Kiasu Workforce can assist with your maintenance needs. Give us a call on 02089881662 if you have an enquiry.

ppm-london

Ian Riches, Managing Director of Kiasu Group, commented; “We’re very glad to further strengthen our relationship with CRM. This opportunity reinforces our position as a service provider of choice within the student accommodation sector and vindicates the hard work our team do on a daily basis to grow our excellent client base. We look forward to working with our CRM colleagues through the duration of this contract and thereafter.”


Article by Barney Scott, Kiasu Group

© 2019 Barney Scott, Kiasu Group

Timber doors stand up to fire testing

In the wake of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, fire safety, fire testing and compliance have been topics of intense public scrutiny. The British Woodworking Federation has recently released test results confirming the longstanding fire protection afforded by simpler materials.

Timber’s exceptional levels of fire protection confirmed

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has reported that timber doors are delivering on promised performance. Timber has shown good results in the ongoing MHCLG fire door investigation. The BWF has called attention to the “exceptional” levels of protection afforded by many of its members’ products. This is a view supported by the findings of the investigation.

The Federation highlighted instances of reassurance, such as doors which were advertised with 30 minutes’ max exposure time lasting holding out for 54 minutes of fire testing.

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) fire door investigation

The BWF said that this is “in direct contrast to the glass-reinforced, foam-filled fire doors recovered from Grenfell Tower that started the MHCLG investigation into the fire door sector”. The group stated that the only way to address neglect in the area is by “rigorous testing & third-party certification”. Since the investigation’s expansion to cover the wider market in October 2018, no timber doors have failed tests.

British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Fire Door Alliance

“Through the BWF’s Fire Door Alliance, we work to improve the quality, safety and traceability of fire doors,” the BWF stated. “We often see non-certified fire doors that are not fit for purpose, which is alarming and unacceptable as they simply won’t fulfil their essential role of preventing the spread of fire and smoke and keeping escape routes clear.”

The BWF also confirmed its support of the government’s Building a Safer Future plan. The plan introduces more effective regulations and greater accountability, supported by clear standards and guidance. Building a Safer Future aims to create a more responsible building sector.

Conclusion

To sum up, timber has withstood the test of time. Is it now the best material to ensure safety whilst remaining versatile, inexpensive and attractive? In contrast, could an over-reliance on artificial materials be putting building inhabitants at risk? We can certainly conclude that, if not already done, fire door testing is a necessity, both for compliance and peace of mind.


Article by Barney Scott, Kiasu Group

© 2019 Barney Scott, Kiasu Group