Most of us spend about one-third of our life at work, and we expect our workplace to be safe. That is why there are fire codes and other protective measures.
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 is the main regulation in Ireland regarding fire safety at the workplace. So, who is responsible for workplace fire safety? Is it the employer, the employees, or visitors? While both visitors and employees do have responsibilities according to health and safety legislation, the employer is responsible.
To reduce fire-related risks and ensure fire safety and your business alignment with the law, we advise you to follow these three steps:
Any business owner must carry out, review and update their fire risk assessment regularly. Here are some things you may do while assessing the risks:
Fire safety relies on fully functioning equipment such as fire alarms, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and emergency lighting systems.
Fire safety systems should be checked regularly. The alarm panel requires a daily check-up to ensure it operated fault-free. Once a week a designated worker needs to test at least one operating point on each zone circuit to make sure it is capable of sounding the alarm.
Once every three months a manufacturer or supplier has to carry out test procedures to professionally service the fire-fighting equipment and make sure the whole system works properly.
Furthermore, it is crucial to have well-maintained, unobstructed escape routes and well-functioning exit doors to provide quick and safe evacuation to the employees and visitors.
One of the most important things to do is training all your staff, including part-time and temporary workers.
A responsible employer has responded to the legislation requirements to provide a safe workplace to the employees. The first step would be identifying people who could be at risk and the areas that could cause a fire.
The next things to do is providing, maintaining and servicing general fire-fighting equipment, including fire alarms, smoke detectors, fire blankets and extinguishers. The fire exits must be marked and unobstructed.
Finally, all the employees must go through fundamental safety training on the procedures they will have to follow during a fire.