Fire is one of the most threatening causes of accidents. Whether it’s domestic or industrial, it can cause devastating damage to human life. Fire not only damages property and assets, but it can also be fatal.
For workspaces, employers must ensure the safety of the workplace and follow the regulations. Before making a building operational, it is important that all the protocols are fulfilled to ensure safety.
In this article, we would be discussing fire safety in detail. We will look at the steps employers can take to assess and prevent fire risks. Employers should take the responsibility to make workplaces safe, as the lives and property of workers are their responsibility.
Let’s dig in.
Looking at the employer aspect, the employer must take responsibility for everyone’s safety and ensure industry-standard safety protocols. As an employer, you must:
- Conduct regularly scheduled risk assessments to analyze the risks associated with fire and follow procedures for fire safety.
- Must take appropriate practical actions to reduce the risk that can be caused by fire as identified by the risk assessments.
- Identify and appoint team members and employees who will act as hazard supervisors in case of a fire and communicate their responsibilities in such situations.
- Provide adequate workplace safety training to employees.
- Keep updating the risk assessment and review it regularly.
- A risk assessment must be supported with professional guidelines as per protocols.
As an employee, you have a responsibility to maintain the safety of your workplace as well. You must adhere to the safety guidelines and act in a way that is in line with safety protocols. Each and every employee must be mindful of workplace safety to avoid any huge problem.
- Keep yourself and those around you safe by taking care of your health and avoiding any unnecessary activity within the working premises.
- Cooperate with your managers and employers to ensure the duties are being performed the right way.
- Report any unusual incident immediately to the authorities, such as an electrical fault, a spark, or anything that could lead to an accident.
- Follow the rules; for example, if it is a no-smoking zone, then make sure you avoid smoking in that area at all costs.
- Use the work equipment and machinery in the recommended way.
Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment is an organized process that assesses the fire readiness of a work premises. It is used to analyze an area, the activities, and potential risks, causes, and threats of a fire accident. It also helps identify the effect it can have on the people present at the location.
The assessment has to be organized and logical and follow a procedure. It analyzes the property, tools and machinery, equipment, wiring, architecture, and protocols to determine:
- How at risk of a fire a building is,
- How efficiently can work premises deal with a fire, in case of a fire,
- How much damage can a fire cause to property and people?
The purpose of this is to determine whether the current precautions are enough or do you need to improve the procedures.
The assessment covers several aspects, including:
- Detection and warning
- Fire fighting
- Escape routes
- Signs and notices
‘Fire Risk’ is the chance of a fire occurring multiplied by the Severity of the fire, i.e., the ‘harm potential and consequences,’ including loss of life, fire spread, damage, etc. A fire risk assessment must fulfill the list below:
- It should be suitable as well as sufficient assessment of the fire risk;
- It should contain significant findings and measures to reduce and manage the risk from fire;
- It must identify any group of persons especially at risk;
- Should have a written record (when there are five or more employees);
- Be reviewed regularly to meet changes in the premises.
The Aim of Fire Risk Assessment
The aim of fire risk assessment is:
- Identify potential hazards of fire
- Eliminate hazards and reduce the chances to the maximum
- physical fire precautions and management arrangements must be made for the protection of people working in the area
Risk Assessment Steps
The risk assessment process consists of five steps, they are:
Step 1 – Identify the fire hazards within your work area
Step 2 – Identify the personnel at risk
Step 3 – Evaluate and analyze if the current fire safety arrangements are enough or need improving
Step 4 – keep a record of the calculations, data and create an emergency plan, which must be informed to those who are responsible
Step 5 – Regularly review the assessment
Common Mistakes in the Fire Risk Assessment Process
It is also observed that even after making a fire risk assessment, people still get into trouble or have situations that could’ve been dealt with before. Here we would be pointing out the most common problems associated with fire risk assessment:
- Making a risk assessment in retrospect to justify a decision that has already been made;
- Using a generic assessment while a dedicated assessment must be made depending upon the site-specific details ;
- Using inappropriate practices;
- Only involving specific people in the process while it is a team activity, and everyone must be involved for their opinions;
- Unable to identify all hazards;
- Unable to consider all possible outcomes;
- Unable to figure out the hierarchy of controls;
- Unable to implement control measures;
- Failure to implement control measures due to miscalculations of inaccuracy;
- Unable to pass on the results of the risk assessment to those covered by it.
To ensure fire prevention, management must be prepared at all times and must know who and when to call in times of an accident. Some of the things that must be taken care of are:
- Get a gas safety inspection annually and obtain a gas safety certificate;
- Avoid any overheating cables and equipment, for example, due to overloading circuits;
- proper installation or use of equipment;
- avoid any damaged or inadequate insulation on wires;
- combustible materials shouldn’t be placed near electrical equipment;
- Have a check on sparking of electrical current;
- overloading sockets isn’t recommended;
- Servicing and maintenance of equipment;
- Lack of maintenance or testing.