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Fire Safety in the Workplace: A Short Guide

Feb 25, 2021
Fire Safety in the Workplace: A Short Guide

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:


1. Assess the risks

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: 

  • Point out all possible sources of ignition.
  • Identify the workers who are more likely to be exposed to fire, for example, your kitchen staff. Make sure some extra measures are implemented to protect them.
  • Check if you and your employees are trained appropriately and follow good housekeeping practices. 
  • Make sure fire alarms, smoke detectors and other fire-fighting equipment work properly.
  • Ensure all electrical wiring conforms to the relevant standards, equipment not in use is isolated, and heating equipment is properly supervised. 
  • Use the results of the fire risk assessment to take appropriate measures to control and minimise the injury or death risks in a case of emergency.


2. Maintain fire protection equipment

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. 


3. Instruct your staff and management 

One of the most important things to do is training all your staff, including part-time and temporary workers. 

  • All of them have to know precisely what their fire prevention duties are. 
  • They also have to be familiar with all the emergency procedures, such as fire and evacuation drills. All the workers should know the layout of the building, the location of escape routes, fire alarm call points, fire extinguishers and first-aid kits.
  • All the staff should be instructed on the arrangements for calling and assisting the ambulance and fire brigade. 
  • If your business provides sleeping accommodation, your employees should know the location of places of safety.
  • Moreover, all the workers have to know fire control techniques. For instance, they should be able to use fire extinguishers and fire blankets, to close windows and doors to inhibit fire spread, to shut off fuel supplies and electricity where appropriate.


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.

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