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Make fire procedures a hot topic in your workplace

DESPITE stringent legislation, there are still businesses and other organisations that are flouting laws and risking prosecution by failing to have basic fire procedures and safety equipment in place according to workplace equipment provider Slingsby.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all employers are required to carry out a fire risk assessment to identify potential hazards and then take action to reduce them. They must also have a plan in place in case of emergency that all employees are aware of, nominate people to assist in implementing it and provide relevant training where necessary.

All buildings should have adequate escape routes that suit the size and layout of a building and relevant signage should be displayed detailing fire procedures and highlighting exits. In premises where employees could be unaware of a fire, either because they can’t see it or they are too far away to hear warnings from colleagues, suitable fire alarms should be installed and emergency lighting may be necessary in escape routes that are very dark or used during the hours of darkness.

Usually one suitably located water based extinguisher is also required for each 200m2 of floor space, with a minimum of one extinguisher per floor. However, in large or more complex premises, and depending on individual risks, a greater number or range of extinguishers is likely to be required and some premises may also require hose reels and fire blankets.

Lee Wright, marketing director of Slingsby, explains: "In most cases, introducing fire procedures is quick and easy but yet we still regularly visit workplaces that require help because they are breaking the law. In every workplace there should be a nominated person who is responsible for taking charge of the fire procedures.

"This involves carrying out and regularly reviewing a risk assessment, making sure all employees are aware of the fire procedures and ensuring that the workplace has the correct equipment in place and that it is maintained in accordance with both the law and the manufacturer’s guidelines. It’s also vital that any employees that would be expected to use extinguishers, or other more complicated equipment, have had relevant training."

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