Visitor Fire Safety For Businesses
With strict regulations and guidance from legislation such as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, businesses and their staff are well protected legally when it comes to fire safety in the workplace.
Regular risk assessments to highlight and remove potential hazards, along with carefully planned evacuation routes and the installation of safety equipment, help to keep commercial premises safe, but extra considerations must still be made for those visiting the property.
Advice for Businesses
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order replaced all other workplace fire safety legislation in 2005, bringing about a number of changes as to how businesses should operate. One such alteration decreed that the designated ‘responsible person’ in charge of implementing fire safety measures must now accommodate everyone who may be on the premises at any one time, which stretches beyond employees to customers, members of the public and other visitors.
To this end, it is advisable to ensure that all fire safety signage, indicating emergency exits, equipment and other safety features, be correct and clearly visible at all times. While you may be able to carry out regular fire drills with permanent staff members, occasional visitors will need visual guides in order to evacuate quickly in an emergency situation.
While not always a possibility for customers in a retail or hospitality environment, it is important for offices and other appropriate workplaces to have a log of who is on site at all times. It is advisable to ensure that visitors sign in on arrival (and out again when leaving), giving fire marshals a record to refer to when taking a register of those assembled outside the building in the event of a fire alarm sounding.
Advice for Visitors
It is the duty of the ‘responsible person’ at any commercial property to ensure that sufficient safety measures are in place for visitors, but that’s not to say that visitors don’t have their own responsibilities when it comes to upholding fire safety.
Required to not perform any actions that may increase the risk of fire, endangering themselves and others in the building, visitors should consult all available fire safety literature present on site, whether information pertaining to fire risk assessments, signage indicating exit and assembly points, and details of evacuation routes.
Basic fire safety behaviours are universal across all premises, which visitors must adhere to. For example, lifts must never be used in the event of a fire – they will never form part of an evacuation route or means of escape.
In extenuating circumstances whereby contractors may be working on site, separate accommodations must be made. Depending on the nature of the work being carried out, a temporary risk assessment may be necessary, ensuring that construction workers are safe and that their actions do not endanger other persons on site. For example, any intrusive works that may impact upon wired fire alarm systems should initiate a full testing and inspection of alarm components after the work has finished. SImilarly, steps should be put in place to prevent Unwanted Fire Signals (UWFS) while the work is taking place.
Construction work can also cause temporary fire risks, such as equipment and materials blocking exit routes or smoke and dust from tools creating a potentially flammable hazard. All contractors must be informed of the fire safety measures in place on the property, and should be encouraged not to be respectful of them.
Elite Fire Protection provide fire safety services and equipment throughout London and the South East, keeping businesses safe from fire and in line with legal requirements. Get in touch today to find out more.