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Fire Safety Legislation

If you are an employer, or buying fire protection products for your company, this guide summarizes what you have to do to comply with the law relating to fire issues.

Why should you protect yourself and others from fire?

Fire KILLS.  According to the latest UK Government statistics Fire statistics monitor: April to September 2013
in the previous 6 months fire crews in England attended 102,000 fires which resulted in 1,664 non fatal hospital casualities and unfortunately another 93 fatalities.

Fire Costs MONEY. The cost of a serious fire can be high and afterwards many businesses do not reopen.

Between the “Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997” and the “Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1992 (as amended) they require you to:

  • Conduct a Fire Risk Assessment of your work place (you must consider all your employees and all other people who may be affected by a fire in the workplace and as you are required to make adequate provision for any disabled people with special needs who use or may be present at your premises)
  • Identify the significant findings of the risk assessment and the details of anyone who might be especially at risk in case of fire (these must be recorded if you employ more than five people).
  • Provide and maintain such fire precautions as are necessary to safeguard those who use your workplace.
  • Provide information , instruction and training to your employees about the fire precautions in your workplace.

Means of Fighting Fire

You need to have enough fire fighting equipment in place for your employees to use, without exposing themselves to danger, to extinguish a fire in its early stages. The equipment must be suitable to the risks and appropriate staff will need training and instruction in it’s proper use. In small premises, having one or two portable extinguishers in an obvious location is all that is required. In larger or more complex premises, a greater number of portable extinguishers, strategically sited throughout the premises, are likely to be the minimum required. Other means of fighting fire may need to be considered.

Fires Safety Checklist

  • Are the extinguishers suitable for the purpose and of sufficient capacity
  • Are there sufficient extinguishers sited throughout the workplace?
  • Are the right types of extinguishers located close to the fire hazards and can users gain access to them without exposing themselves to risk?
  • Are the locations of the extinguishers obvious or does their position need indicating?
  • Have the people likely to use the fire extinguishers been given adequate instruction and training?
  • Have you included the use of fire-fighting equipment in your emergency plan?

Fire Maintenance and Testing

Your fire extinguishers should be checked annually by a competent engineer, complying with BS 5306: Part 3 : 1985.

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