End of furlough: Have you updated your fire safety measures?

With the furlough scheme due to end soon, the occupancy levels of your workplace could soon be changing. Whether you’re bringing employees back or making redundancies, it’s important you update your fire safety measures to reflect the change in your business’ capacity. This way, your business can remain fire-compliant and your people can stay safe.

Along with regular fire safety checks and inspections, you’re legally required under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to update your fire safety measures again if you have a change in occupancy levels. Why? Because the sudden change in employee numbers could compromise your current fire safety procedures.

Here are some considerations you should think about before making any sudden changes to your business’ capacity:

Type of changeAction
Increase in capacity• Now you have more employees on the premises, can they all hear the fire alarms if they were to sound?
• Do any new employees require extra assistance when evacuating?
• Are your new employees fully trained in fire safety?
• Have you provided your current employees with refresher training?
• Can your fire evacuation procedure still take social distancing into account now you have more employees on the premises?
• Have you considered the increase in electrical equipment that will need regular monitoring?
• Do you need more fire detection and prevention equipment if you’re planning to expand your business?
Reduction in capacity• Will your responsible person be made redundant?
• If so, have you appointed a new person to take over their fire safety responsibilities?
• If you now have any lone workers, are they equipped to act in case of an emergency, such as an arson attack or fire?
• If your business now requires more heating appliances, are they located near combustible or flammable materials?
• Do you have enough employees to assist in evacuating members of the public?

Lee Mockridge, the Health and Safety Development Manager at our sister company Citation, outlines that “the change in occupancy could mean there are people working across different floors or different businesses working in one building.” So, to keep everyone in your premises safe, you need to make sure that if a fire does break out, all your employees are successfully alarmed and can evacuate quickly and safely.

How to update your fire safety measures

To make sure you remain on the right side of the law come 30 September, you need to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment, so you and your employees are aware of the potential fire hazards and can confidently control them.

 

How long does a fire risk assessment last?

Your fire risk assessment is valid for 12 months and should be carried out by a qualified and experienced competent person. However, there are a few exceptions where your risk assessment will need to be conducted sooner than your annual service is due. These exceptions include:

  • A change to capacity levels
  • A change to shift patterns
  • Change of premises
  • Any alterations to your business’ building structure
  • Combustible substance storage is changed or introduced
  • A disabled or vulnerable person is employed that requires special assistance in evacuating
  • Any changes to machinery, equipment, or large fixtures

Who is responsible for the fire safety of my business?

As an employer, you hold the responsibility of making sure your fire safety is properly managed and, although you can’t carry out your own fire risk assessments, it’s still your job to find someone who can.

 

How Citation Fire & Electrical can help

As a BAFE-registered fire and electrical compliance company, it’s our duty to make sure businesses across the UK are operating as safely and compliantly as possible.

We know that, come 30 September, your main priority will be to continue operating as smoothly as possible despite the change in your employee numbers – and our priority is keeping you safe whilst you do that.

As well as offering a thorough Fire Risk Assessment, our FIA-trained assessors can service your fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and even test your emergency lighting to make sure everything’s in good working order.

To get in touch with our team to see how we can support your business, click here.

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