The humble Office is the most prevalent working environment in the UK and is also considered to be the safest. It’s true that offices don’t pose the same risks as, for instance, a construction site, but offices do pose unique fire risks of their own and you must never be complacent.
So, what does it take to reduce the risk of fire in your office? Well first you need to know what the most common risks and causes of office fires are.
Top 3 causes of office fires
- Electrical distribution – 32%
- Lighting – 14%
- Smoking related – 11%
Most common risks of fire in offices
- Escape routes not adequately planned
- Faults with electrical systems or electrical items
- Flammable materials (e.g. placed to close to lighting or heating)
- Fire doors wedged open
- Smoking (smoking materials not disposed of properly)
Reducing the risk of fires in your office
Keeping your office fire proof and your workforce fire safe is a legal requirement. Following these simple steps will set you in good stead.
Make sure your electrical system and equipment is regularly checked for damage and is being used safely by your employees.
- Fire Alarms & Smoke Detectors:
It is a legal requirement for all offices to have fire detection and warning systems in place. Make sure yours is fully working by carrying out regular tests. Smoke Detectors should be tested at least once a month and fire drills should be carried out twice a year.
- Escape Routes:
Make sure you have a fully tested and working escape route so your workforce can quickly and easily leave the building. Carry out practice evacuations to ensure your staff are aware of the escape plan and route. By law your escape route must be kept clear at all times, so check this regularly to make sure there are no obstructions.
- Appoint a Fire Marshall:
Unless you work in a managed office, your business will require a dedicated Fire Marshall who is responsible for fire safety. The Fire Marshall will take the lead on fire safety procedures, evacuation plan, and testing and maintenance of fire safety equipment.
- Smoking Policy:
Having an effective smoking policy in place can greatly reduce the risk of a fire. Ensure that your employees are all fully up to speed on where they can and cannot smoke, and the potential dangers if they do not follow the guidelines. Having a dedicated smoking area with somewhere safe to dispose cigarette butts can be extremely effective, but may not be feasible for all businesses. Whatever policy you decide on make sure it is enforced and that your employees are aware of the fire safety risks that smoking poses.
Fire safety awareness is the key to reducing the risks and staying safe from fires. Your employees should all complete fire safety training, so they are aware of the risks and safety procedures. Having an escape plan and safety procedures in place are only effective if everyone is up to speed and aware of their own responsibilities.
Fire safety is essential no matter where you work, but offices are often considered to be low-risk and therefore overlooked. Having a comprehensive fire safety plan can keep your workforce and your offices safe from the risk of fire. The best way to get started is by having a Fire Risk Assessment from one of our fire safety experts. We offer a very competitive, fixed price service where your assessment is carried out by a qualified fire safety professional.