For most businesses the pandemic has brought about changes to the way they operate, whether it’s staff working from home, rearranging office space to socially distance desks or revising processes and procedures to ensure Covid-safe practices are in place.
All these changes have been made to improve the safety of the business for employees, clients and customers and prevent the spread of the virus. But it’s important to ensure they don’t have a negative impact on fire safety.
As things start to get back to normal and more people return to the work environment, business owners need to ask themselves if their premises are safe from the risk of fire. A little time invested now could prevent a catastrophic event in future that could jeopardise the business.
So what do you need to consider?
Fire Risk Assessments
Every business employing five or more people has a legal requirement to complete a fire risk assessment which should be reviewed when changes occur that could significantly affect the plans that have been put in place.
Any changes could also impact insurance policies so it’s worth taking time to carefully check and review.
The requirement for social distancing means many workplaces have been reorganised so that desks and workstations are two metres apart. For some this has meant utilising previously unused spaces, adding new partitions, and introducing one-way systems to change the flow of people through an area.
These changes could affect safety systems such as smoke and heat detectors, emergency lighting and sprinklers so it’s vital to get these checked and serviced by a competent engineer to ensure they still are working and fit for purpose.
Reorganisation of the internal space means staff may now take a different route to exit the building in an emergency so this must be rehearsed with regular fire drills to familiarise people with any changes. Staff may be working in different areas of the building and special arrangements like buddy systems for those with issues such as mobility problems should be reviewed.
With so many internal changes it’s important to ensure exits are kept clear and self-closing fire doors are checked to ensure they work properly.
Fire marshals play an important role in safety and changes to working hours and people’s locations could mean plans need to be updated. If more staff are working from home, are some of them trained fire marshals who would be needed in an emergency? It may be necessary to train more marshals and draw up rotas to ensure adequate cover is provided in your business.
Covid-safe Fire Action Plan
Fire drills need to be carried out while maintaining Covid-safe protocols, so staff should maintain social distancing where possible when exiting the building and should remain distanced at the assembly point while government restrictions remain in place.
Absolute Protection Group can help review your fire safety plans and ensure your business is fully covered. Click here for further information or call 01622 437838 to book an appointment.