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There are various laws and regulations that have to be complied with in respect fire safety. The main one of these is the regulatory reform fire safety order 2005. In this document it will detail exactly what you need to do as the responsible person within a building or workplace in order to comply with fire regulations. It’s quite a complicated document but it can be broken down in to lots of different sections.
This order states that there must be a responsible person within the building or workplace. This person is responsible for making sure that all the information and the requirements of this fire safety order are complied with in full. There are various things you need to do.
The first one of these are fire hazards. What could start a fire?
Maybe cigarettes, heating, electrical systems or anything that could cause combustion. We then need to look at what could actually burn? This may be rubbish, timber or any other material in a factory that could cause a problem, or in an office environment, this could be paperwork, cardboard or anything else that is potentially flammable.
The second one is people at risk. In the event of a fire, who will be effected. Do we need to evacuate the entire building, do we need to set it up in zones, do we need to prioritise an evacuation at all?
We need to look at the risk of the fire and what its effects will be.
We also need to look at the actual people within the building. Maybe there are children, infants, the elderly or disabled people inside the building. So in the whole of the assessment, look at exactly who is there and how they can actually get out of the building in an emergency.
The next stage is to evaluate and act. With the evaluation process we need to look at the first few stages and have a good think about it. Also see how it would affect other buildings nearby.
You need to act, this is to decide exactly what you are going to do. So take your findings and evaluations, then decide what we can do to look at risk and reduce risk to an acceptable level.
Other action we can take is to make sure that we have sufficient fire extinguishers, alarm systems and evacuation plans. Don’t just have these items there, but making sure people are properly trained and also the evacuation plans are practiced. There is no point in having an evacuation plan if no one has actually tried it.
The next stage is to record, review and train. What we need to do is to make a good record of exactly the findings, also to review our findings on a regular basis and make sure everyone is trained in order to carry them out.
Good record keeping is crucial, it gives proof that you have carried out the risk assessments, you’ve looked at the hazards, looked at how you can act and also having this information recorded is a requirement under the regulations.
We need to carry on planning, make sure that just because we did an assessment a while ago, things may well have changed, such as the layout of the building, or the layout of an office, so we keep on planning for the future.
The final part is to train, you have to make sure that absolutely everybody in the workplace knows exactly what to do. If anyone has any questions, they should have plenty of opportunity to address these.