Very many people work in an office environment. Indeed, it is probably one of the most common places of work after retail shops and stores and is used by many different professions. If you are an employer or manager, one of the most important things that you have to do is to ensure fire safety and to enable employees to leave the building quickly in an emergency.
This means that you need to carry out a fire safety risk assessment in accordance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. If you have more than five employees working for you, it is also necessary for you to keep a written copy of your office fire safety assessment and review it on a regular basis.
In many office situations, there is more than one business. In fact, there can be buildings where there may be five, ten, or more businesses, and if this is the case, you must work together on fire safety.
A major part of fire safety is the actual prevention of fires. The main cause of fires in offices is electrical issues. This can be because electrical equipment may not be properly maintained. It may also be because it is not PAT tested when it should be. Another issue is that of flammable materials – paper, card, and so on – being stored under desks or next to electrical equipment. This is why it is necessary to educate employees on the dangers involved.
You also need to provide training for employees and carry out a fire drill regularly so that everyone knows what to do and which way to escape in the event of a fire.
An office fire safety assessment needs to ensure that all fire doors are maintained and that everyone knows that they must not be wedged open. You must never overload plug sockets, and you need to ensure that employees don’t do this either. All electrical items must be maintained and PAT tested, and your overall electrical system should be tested every year as well.
Of course, you need fire detection, and very often, sprinkler systems. Your fire safety risk assessment should enable you to decide which type of fire extinguishers you need and where they should be situated. You should also ensure that all employees know that escape routes must not be blocked for any reason and all fire doors must be accessible.
If you are unsure of how to carry out an office fire risk assessment, which is the case for many employers, call us at UK-Fire Risk Assessments. We will do it for you.