In the heart of every industry, sector, and workspace, the danger of fire lurks, ready to unleash its fiery wrath without notice. Amidst this precarious backdrop, the only remedy lies in implementing judicious fire safety protocols. The preservation of lives, the safeguarding of businesses, and the adherence to legal regulations hinge on one pivotal question: Who shoulders the responsibility of fire safety in the workplace?
Which Legislation Governs Fire Safety in the Workplace?
For those who own or manage businesses, adhering to fire safety legislation is a must. At the centre of this legislation stands the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, fondly known as the “Fire Safety Order.” This edict, which was passed into law in England and Wales on October 1, 2006, applies to virtually every building, facility, and structure, with the sole exception of private residences.
Enforcing the Fire Safety Order
In enforcing the Fire Safety Order, Fire Safety Enforcement Officers, which are emissaries of local Fire and Rescue Services, are the vigilant gatekeepers. With the power to show up at any workplace, unannounced and uninvited, they can appear at any place of business to inspect emplaced fire safety equipment and protocols.
The Responsibility of Workplace Fire Safety
Under UK law, employers are obligated to cultivate a safe and healthy workplace free of let and hindrance for their employees. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 outlines the central tenets of these sacred principles. Per the Act, the duties of employers include;
- Arranging regular risk assessments,
- Appointing competent health and safety guardians
- Crafting of emergency escape plans
- Providing role-specific training for employees.
The Responsibilities of Workplace Building Owners
For those vested with custodianship of business premises, a lengthy checklist of fire safety obligations is of sacred importance and must be upheld to the latter; they include:
- Conducting regular fire risk assessments.
- Disseminating knowledge regarding potential fire hazards among staff.
- Implementing and updating fire safety measures tailored to the unique premises.
- Creating a comprehensive emergency plan to serve as a lifeline in the event of an inferno.
- Equipping employees with the requisite skills to navigate a fire emergency.
- Vigilance to assess the fire risks posed by any structural modifications.
The Responsibility of Conducting Fire Risk Assessments
For workplaces with five or more employees, the duty of maintaining a written fire risk assessment is an unambiguous law. These assessments serve as risk surveyors, charting out potential hazards and vulnerabilities. From the suitability of fire extinguishers to the unobstructed clarity of emergency exits, every element is subject to scrutiny.
In the pursuit of safety, fire risk assessments should be done by a competent fire risk assessor. Additionally, depending on building renovations and shifting business operations, a risk assessment should be reassessed every 3 to 4 years.
Implementing steadfast fire safety practices is a cornerstone in maintaining workplace safety. To effectively navigate this labyrinth, workers and employers must all understand their responsibilities and act accordingly. After reading this blog, it is our hope that you’re now informed and prepared enough to uphold a fire safety-compliant workplace.
Do you live in Surrey or its environs? If you require fire risk assessments Surrey advisors, GF Fire Solutions, the stalwart fire risk assessor servicing Surrey, Croydon, and London, is only a call away.