When it comes to fire safety in a commercial organisation, every business has a duty of care to its staff and any others on the company premises, as specified in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005. That includes ensuring that appropriate training is provided to keep everyone safe in the event of a fire in the workplace.
However, fire safety in the office is a complex matter, and it’s vital that whoever takes on the responsibility is fully aware of all the issues involved. This month, we’re looking at the subject of fire safety in the office, whose responsibility it is and what training is required.
Who is responsible for fire safety at work?
The main person responsible for fire safety training in the workplace is the employer. At the very least, that means them designating a named individual, known as the ‘responsible person’, to take on that role. Depending on the size of the business, the responsible person may also appoint one or more fire wardens or marshals, who will take responsibility for identifying risks in their area and for ensuring safe evacuation of other employees in the event of a fire.
There are a number of things that the responsible person has to oversee in the role, which include:
- Carrying out regular fire assessments
- Informing staff about identified risks
- Putting appropriate fire safety measures in place
- Making plans for a potential fire emergency
- Providing all staff with fire safety information and training
That last point is key, because it doesn’t matter what plans you’ve made to aid fire safety in the office, if no one knows what to do when the worst happens, then it won’t be worth a thing.
Which employees need fire safety training?
It states in The Fire Safety Act 2005 that all workers should receive “training on the appropriate precautions and actions… to safeguard themselves and other relevant persons on the premises.”
Basic training in fire safety for employees is usually provided at the start of a person’s employment, when they are shown where to find fire extinguishers, where the nearest fire exits are and which assembly point they should head to when evacuating the premises.
However, the responsible person and any fire wardens that have been appointed will need far more in-depth training, so that they will have the skills and confidence to manage others’ safety. This will usually include:
- Learning about the different classes of fire
- Carrying out risk assessments and identifying potential fire hazards
- Coordinating fire drills and evacuations
- Checking and testing fire alarms
- The safe and effective use of fire extinguishers
However, this kind of training is recommended for all employees where possible, as the skills that will be learnt could be vital in the event of a fire.
How often should office fire training be carried out?
For the responsible person and designated fire wardens, refresher training should be carried out at least every 12 months, although there are circumstances in which this should be increased, including any incident that affects your fire safety policy or any change in the company’s fire safety and/or evacuation procedures.
At Hoyles Fire & Safety, we’re commercial fire safety specialists who provide a range of fire safety training and support for companies and businesses across Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield. That includes fire warden training and office fire risk assessments, so that you’ll be getting the very best support and assistance when it comes to managing fire safety and fire prevention in your workplace.
Contact us now to find out more or to book fire safety training for your staff.