Whether you run an office-based company or a public-facing business, there are a number of fire safety regulations that you need to adhere to in order to operate legally. As well as helping to save lives and protect your business, it is also your legal duty to ensure your premises meet the necessary fire regulations. Here is everything you need to know to prepare your business and ensure you’re ready for a fire safety inspection.
Who is responsible for fire safety in the workplace?
In any business premise or other non-domestic building, there will be at least one person responsible for fire safety. This covers all workplaces and commercial buildings, as well as premises to which the public has access and the common areas of residential buildings. According to the Fire Safety Order of 2005, anybody who is an employer, owner, landlord, occupier or person with control of the premises is responsible. In the likely case that there is more than one responsible person, you must work together to ensure responsibilities are met.
Does your business need a fire risk assessment?
The short answer is yes. A fire risk assessment is a legal requirement and needs to be completed by a suitable person. If there are more than five people working at your company, there will also need to be a written record of the fire risk assessment. This assessment should assess any potential fire hazards, the people at risk, how you have removed or reduced the risks, an emergency plan and any training provided to others. You should also review and update your company’s fire risk assessment regularly. If no major works or changes have taken place, reviewing it once a year should be enough.
How to prepare for a fire safety inspection
Given how devastating a fire in the workplace can be, you will want to be well prepared at all times. Just like a fire, a fire safety inspection can happen at any time and lead to a hefty fine or prison time if your business isn’t carrying out the necessary fire safety measures, so you’ll want to be prepared for this too. If your company receives a visit from a fire safety inspector, they will want to check that you are doing everything correctly. They might need to know who the responsible person is, ensure they are competent, check that they have carried out an adequate fire risk assessment and ensure the risk assessment is being kept up to date. As long as you are doing all of these things correctly, there is no need to worry about receiving a visit. Your business should be well prepared for a fire safety inspection. When it happens, be welcoming, have your documents organised and feel free to ask questions if you have any. A fire safety inspector’s job is to offer guidance as well as to enforce the law. If they find any issues during their inspection, they may ask you to comply with any minor breaches verbally or in writing. You will be expected to act on any breaches found in a timely manner, so take care of any issues as quickly as you can.