Fires can break out at any time, and have the potential to cause significant damage, both to property and to human life. Many businesses fail to continue trading following a severe fire. Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Given these risks, it is vital that your workforce know what the common fire hazards are and what to do if a fire was to start.
Main Causes of fire hazards
- Faulty electrics. Antiquated or faulty electrical equipment including loose wires are a common cause of a fire. All electrical equipment must be used correctly, maintained and tested. Portable Appliances must be PAT tested regularly.
- Flammable/combustible materials. A business using flammable and combustible materials must adequately risk assess, store and correctly dispose of potentially hazardous substances. All staff using such materials must attend a fire safety course.
- Human Error. Incorrect use of equipment, burning food, leaving machines unattended and ignorance when using inflammable materials, can all lead to a fire risk.
- Negligence. Similar to human error, staff through negligence can cause fire risks by not following rules. For example, by blocking vents, not disposing of cigarette ends correctly or overloading electrical sockets.
- Arson. Businesses in areas with public access may be prone to vandalism and arson. If appropriate, businesses can install fire shutters and sprinkler equipment to protect property.
What are your legal duties and responsibilities around fire safety?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire safety in England and Wales. In Scotland, requirements on general fire safety are covered in Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.
In the majority of premises, local fire and rescue authorities are responsible for enforcing this fire safety legislation. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has enforcement responsibility on construction sites, for nuclear premises, and on ships under construction or undergoing repair.
Employers must ensure they have carried out fire risk assessments to help prevent or reduce the impact of fire, identify significant findings and details on any individual who might be at risk in case of a fire. The findings of the risk assessment must be recorded if your organisation has 5 or more employees. Employers are responsible for providing and maintaining fire precautions to safeguard staff and visitors to their premises. Additionally, the provision of information and training about fire precautions must be met by the employer.
The EssentialSkillz Fire Safety Essentials eLearning course provides essential information about what to do if a fire breaks out, including how to raise the alarm, who to contact and how and where to evacuate. The online course describes the fire triangle – the chemical reaction between heat, fuel and an oxidising agent (usually oxygen) that cause fires – and explores how fires start, how they develop, and how they spread. It explains what to look out for in relation to potential fire hazards in the workplace, particularly focusing on carelessness and the misuse of electrical appliances.
An important part of the course describes fire signage and the ways it communicates messages relating to fire safety. Fire evacuation forms a central element, and the course explains correct procedures for evacuation, including assembly and safe return to the building.
The online course outlines the different classifications of fires and explains which type of fire extinguisher to use in different situations. Basic first aid advice is also included.
Like all the EssentialSkillz courses, this Fire Safety Essentials eLearning course can be customised to meet your needs, enabling your workforce to understand the specific policies and procedures you have developed for your organisation, including specified fire evacuation routes and assembly points. A designated course administrator can use our integrated authoring tool to edit the text and images of the course, and link to organisation-specific documentation, all at no extra cost.