Frequently Asked Fire Safety Questions

We are often asked questions about Fire Safety, so we have put together some of the more commonly asked questions below.

Who is responsible for Fire Safety in a business?

If you are the owner, employer or landlord then you are responsible for Fire Safety and are classified as the person responsible for this knowledge being provided. Responsibilities include:

  • Carry out a Fire Risk Assessment.
  • Consider people who may be at particular risk
  • Eliminate or reduce any Fire Risks as far as possible
  • Provide Fire precautions to deal with any remaining risk
  • Put in place any additional Fire Safety measures where flammable or explosive materials are stored
  • Create an emergency plan and document their findings
  • Review their findings as necessary.

By law, what Fire Safety Training must I give to my staff?

It is the responsibility of the management to make sure that staff is adequately training on what actions to do in the event of a fire. Training should be given at the time of induction to the workplace or ideally in the first month of employment. It is down to the discretion of the management as to how often refresher training should take place, however, it should be given at least once a year.

Training should be undertaken by a competent person and a record should be kept. It can be carried out in many ways such as in-house, classroom-based course or distance learning course.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

A Fire Risk Assessment is an evaluation of your place of work which will identify potential hazards and will determine any risks in your workplace.

Who should carry out the Fire Risk Assessment?

Risk Assessments should be completed by someone with sufficient training or experience in fire safety.

What are the main points of a Fire Risk Assessment?

Fire Risk assessments can be broken down into the following points;

  1. Identify Fire Hazards
  2. Identify people at risk
  3. Evaluate, reduce, remove and protect from risk
  4. Record, plan, inform and train
  5. Review and revise as needed.

Is a Fire Risk Assessment a one-off process?

No. Fire Risk Assessments must be reviewed and amended regularly to meet any changes in circumstances or procedures. There is not a specific time scale given but it is widely excepted that the Fire Risk Assessment should be reviewed at least every 12 months.

How can I stop arson in my work place?

Most serious Fire Risks to common places of work is from deliberate arson attacks. Many building fires start from outside the premises and then spread inside. Do not stack or store combustible materials against outside walls or next to fences. Make sure waste material is stored securely and kept to a minimum.

How do I manage Fire Safety correctly?

Unfortunately one of the main causes of fatalities from fire is the failure of occupants of the building (both staff and members of the public) to take appropriate action when the fire is discovered or a fire alarm is raised. The most effective way to combat this is effective management alongside appropriate staff training.

Fire routines regarding different actives that take place must be drawn up. The responsible person should also ensure that all Fire Safety features are in working order and that no undue fire risks are apparent.

A vital part of any Responsible Person’s duties is the training of staff. All staff members, including part-time, temporary, contractors and cleaning staff must be familiar with the actions to be taken in the event of a fire. They must also know how to call the fire services, any main fire prevention measures and where the exits and exit routes are.

Everything that a staff member needs to know is comprehensively covered in the Esky Fire Safety training.

What steps do I need to take to protect disabled staff and members of the public?

The Responsible Person must take reasonable steps to change practices and procedures that may make it difficult for a disabled person to access facilities and services. For example, can wheelchair negotiate ramps? Are all doors and passages wide enough to allow passage of wheelchair?

It will have to be established whether they will require assistance in the event of an evacuation.

By law what Fire Training mustI give to my staff?

It is the responsibility of the management to make sure that staff are adequately training on what actions to do in the event of a fire. Training should be given at time of induction to the workplace or ideally in the first month of employment. It is down to the discretion of the management as to how often refresher training should take place, however it should be given at least once a year.

Training should be undertaken by a competent person and a record should be kept. It can be carried out in many ways such as in-house, class room based course or distance learning course.

How often should I test Fire Safety equipment?

The testing and maintenance of fire precautions is a vital responsibility of management.  There are serious legal obligations to make sure that all Fire Safety precautions are maintained to a high working standard. It is also a legal requirement to keep an accurate record of these checks. This record should be kept in the form of a Fire Safety Log Book.

Frequently Asked Health and Safety Questions

We are often asked questions about Health and Safety in the workplace, so we have put together some of the more commonly asked questions below.

Who is responsible for Health and Safety in my workplace?

Ultimately, the employer is responsible, but the employee has a duty to their own and co-workers Health and Safety.

What is the maximum and minimum temperature in the workplace?

The law does not state a minimum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least 16°C or 13°C if much of the work is physical.

What breaks am I entitled to?

The Working Time Regulations 1998 state the following provision for breaks at work and time off:

Breaks at work – A worker is entitled to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes when the daily working time is more than six hours. It should be a break in working time and should not be taken either at the start or at the end, of a working day.

Daily rest – Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, regulation 10, a worker is entitled to a rest period of 11 consecutive hours rest in each 24 hour period during which he works for his employer.

There are however a number of special circumstances in which the entitlement to rest periods don’t apply, for example, for example, if a shift worker changes shift, they may not be able to take their full rest entitlement before starting the new pattern of work. In such a case the entitlement to daily and weekly rest does not apply.

Do Health & Safety laws apply to me?

They apply to all businesses, however small, to the self-employed and also employees.

Who enforces Health and Safety Laws?

There are two different ‘Enforcing Authorities’ depending on the type of business you operate. Environmental Health Officers will in general deal with offices, shops, hotels, catering, and leisure activities. The Health & Safety Executive will cover activities such as factories, farms and building sites.

How do I report an accident at work?

Under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations), if you are an employer, self-employed, or in control of work premises, some work-related accidents, dangerous occurrences and diseases/conditions must be reported to your enforcing authority. Deaths, major injuries, or injuries which result in a member of the public being taken to hospital from the workplace must be reported without delay. Other injuries and certain diseases or conditions which result in more than 3 days off work are also reportable.

Who enforces health and safety for my place of my work place?

Health and Safety law is enforced by inspectors from the Local Authorises or by Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations 1989, every employer must display a poster or distribute a leaflet (both available here www.hsebooks.co.uk), setting out basic health and safety information. Employees must also be given the name and address of the Enforcing Authority for their work place. To confirm the Enforcing Authority please contact the Health & Safety Section your local Council.

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