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Top fire safety tips for office environments

Many of us go to work every day in office environments and buildings of varying kinds, and we all go about our business assuming that all health and safety aspects of our workplace are catered for. We should, however, all be aware of the basic workplace health and safety procedures and systems, especially when it comes to fire safety.

Here are some aspects we should all be familiar with:

Top causes of fire

There are many potential causes of fire within an office environment, the most common of which are:

Electrical

Electrical faults often happen when portable items and equipment aren’t properly tested or maintained, or the whole electrical system itself is not in in good order. Often, also, where lighting, or other electrical equipment, is placed too close to flammable materials, there is an increased fire risk.

Fire Doors

The practice of wedging office fire doors open is, not only highly dangerous, but also illegal. Internal fire doors that are properly installed and maintained can save lives and property – but only if kept closed!

Smoking

Smoking related fires still occur, though now, through stricter controls and guidelines, and a change in social habits, to a lesser extent.

Insufficient planning

All buildings should have an emergency plan in case of fire outbreak, clearly identifying actions, procedure and escape routes.

Things you can do to reduce office fire risks

Proper planning can greatly improve your building fire safety.

  1. Ensure you complete a thorough Fire Risk Assessment and then make an appropriate Emergency Plan.
  2. Have your office fire doors maintained regularly – and ensure all staff know NOT to wedge internal fire doors open – in ANY circumstances!
  3. Regularly test and maintain all electrical items, and ensure that the overall electrical system is checked at least annually.
  4. Install and maintain appropriate and effective fire detection systems (smoke alarms and such), along with reliable fire suppression facilities, such as a sprinkler system.
  5. Ensure your staff are fully conversant with fire risk hazards – actions such as not to overload electrical sockets, and to use only proper, certified electrical appliances.
  6. Make sure that fire drills and safety training is delivered to all staff and performed regularly.
  7. Establish a smoking policy – and ensure all staff adhere to it at all times.

One important tip – remember that your emergency plan should consider how appropriate it is for ALL staff – failure to take into account people with restricted physical capabilities, or age, could have catastrophic consequences.

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