Operating a business comes with many responsibilities, one of the most important being keeping your employees, customers, and facilities safe.
A major threat businesses face is the risk of fire, which can lead to injury, property damage, and disruption of operations. While fires can't always be prevented, there are actions you can take to reduce risks and be prepared if the worst happens.
Here are some key tips:
Good housekeeping is fundamental for fire safety. Make sure your premises are kept tidy, with clear access to exits and fire equipment. Avoid accumulating combustible materials and make sure storage areas are organised. Properly dispose of oily rags, waste materials, and other fire hazards. Also maintain the area around your building by clearing away vegetation and debris.
Manage Flammable and Combustible Materials
Take steps to safely store and handle flammable liquids, gases, and other dangerous substances. Consult safety data sheets and comply with regulations like DSEAR. Keep only minimal quantities in work areas and use approved containers. Ensure proper ventilation is provided where vapors could accumulate.
Control Ignition Sources
Identify and control all potential ignition sources, like heaters, electrical faults, and hot work activities. Have a permit system for any hot work and ensure precautions are taken. Also keep heating equipment and appliances well maintained and clear of nearby combustibles.
When contractors are on site, make sure you receive risk assessments, method statements, and proof of insurance. Provide safety rules and supervise work to ensure hazards are controlled. Special care is needed for hot work activities.
Consider Fixed Heating
Evaluate heating methods and equipment as part of your risk assessment. Install fixed heaters properly, maintaining clearance from combustibles. Portable heaters should only be a last resort - follow safety recommendations if used.
Prohibit smoking inside your building and designate any outside smoking areas away from entrances, combustible storage, waste bins, etc. Ensure proper signage is installed.
Maintain Fire Systems
Regularly inspect, test, and service your fire detection and suppression systems. Make sure alarms, sprinklers, and extinguishers are operational and staff know how to use them.
Practice Emergency Plans
Have proper emergency procedures in place and hold drills periodically so everyone understands their role. Make sure fire escape routes are usable and staff know evacuation plans.
Staying on top of these fire safety basics will help you avoid disasters and ensure your business continues operating smoothly. Don't let small oversights put your livelihood at risk. Make fire prevention a priority today.