As a business owner, it is important to be aware that COVID 19 does not detract from your responsibilities for fire safety in the workplace.
The stark reality is that the immediate risk to life from a fire greatly exceeds the risk from COVID-19.
Here are 5 simple fire safety tips to help you plan for a safe return to the workplace:
- Review your existing fire safety procedures and documentation, including the key document for business owners -the fire risk assessment. If you don’t currently have a fire risk assessment, contact us about getting this vital fire safety document created, or an existing one brought up to date.
- Consider if your existing fire safety procedures and documentation need amended in light of any changes made due to COVID-19. For example, have all designated fire wardens or fire marshals returned from furlough? Has there been any change to the layout of the premises to facilitate social distancing? Are newly erected screens or partitioning impacting on fire detection or warning device capabilities? Such changes should not be overlooked as they may be critical to your emergency plan and fire detection operational effectiveness.
- After any amendments to your fire safety procedures and documentation have been made, it is essential to confirm that the changes can be implemented effectively. Do they present unintended consequences that will only become apparent when they are tested? For example, how will you ensure social distancing is maintained during a fire drill? Do one-way systems, safety screens and queuing systems impact on the escape routes and travel distances?
- Ensure safety measures introduced to manage the risks related to COVID-19 do not unintentionally create security risks, which in turn can increase the risk of arson. For example, have you deactivated access control systems to limit touch points? You may want to consider contact free access control, to help protect your premises whilst taking account of COVID measures.
- It is essential that you continue with all testing and maintenance regarding fire safety systems and equipment. If you have delayed inspections of fire extinguishers or maintenance of fire alarm systems, citing COVID-19 as your reason for doing so, this should be addressed urgently. The minimum servicing interval for fire detection and alarm systems is 6 months.
If you are responsible for fire safety within your business, we can assist you with your responsibilities, particularly within a changing workplace due to COVID 19.
Why not get in touch to register your interest in our free upcoming webinars on fire safety for business owners by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.