Regular fire safety inspections are an important part of ensuring the health and safety of employees, customers, and property. These fire inspections help identify potential fire hazards, assess the risks, and ensure that fire safety measures are in place and working effectively. In this blog , we will discuss the importance of regular fire safety inspections for businesses and how they can benefit from conducting them.
A fire inspection can help businesses identify potential fire hazards in the workplace. This includes sources of ignition, flammable materials, and other hazards that could increase the likelihood of a fire starting. By identifying these hazards, businesses can take necessary measures to eliminate or minimise them, reducing the risk of a fire occurring.
Understanding fire safety regulations
Fire safety inspections ensure that businesses comply with fire safety regulations and codes. Inspectors check that businesses have proper documentation, including fire risk assessments, emergency plans, and firefighting training records. Compliance with fire regulations is essential for avoiding legal liability in the event of a fire.This can become a daunting task with all the legislation that companies must adhere to e.g., the National Building regulations, the local fire department by-laws and the Occupational Health and Safety act to name a few.
Regular fire safety inspections assess the effectiveness of safety measures in place. Inspectors from the Department of Labour as well as the local fire department can evaluate the condition and location of fire extinguishers and fire hose reels as well as fire alarms, safety signs and other fire safety equipment to ensure that they are adequate for the size and type of business.
Developing a fire safety inspection checklist
Fire safety inspections identify areas where businesses can improve their fire safety measures. These inspections may recommend additional equipment or procedures to enhance safety, such as adding smoke detectors or improving evacuation routes. By implementing these recommendations, businesses can reduce the risk of harm in the event of a fire.
Regular fire safety inspections provide business owners, employees, and customers peace of mind. Inspections ensure that the workplace is safe and that all necessary measures are in place to minimize the risks of harm. This helps to create a safer environment for everyone involved.
The following important points should be included in a fire inspection:
- Floor plan diagrams (Fire doors / Fire exit doors & routes, Fire signage & Fire equipment)
- Emergency fire equipment (fire extinguishers / fire blankets)
- Break-glass units
- Fire Exit doors (Fire doors / Fire escape doors)
- Fire Hose reels
- Fire Extinguishers
- Fire Blankets
- Fire Hydrants
No two companies are the same and each company will have to develop their own individual checklists to ensure all the objectives are met. It is important that all the risks are identified and that high-risk areas such as flammable liquid stores, waste collection areas and hot work activities receive special attention.
Conducting effective fire safety inspections
The fire safety inspections should have the following outcome:
Systematic: The methodology selected should be clear with regards to the procedure and steps to follow.
Rigorous: When effectively applied, the outcome of the fire safety inspections should always generate reasonable and consistent results.
Structured: They should be structured in a format that is easily understood.
Repeatable: They should generate the same results when applied in the future.
Consultative: The inspections should not be conducted by management in isolation: the process should include consultation with a cross-section of employees, e.g. SHE Representative, Operators, Supervisors.
Defensible: The organisation should be able to justify any risk rating and risk identified in the context of site operations, and the methodology used to safeguard against it.
Auditable: When a third party audits the organisation, the information provided for the fire safety inspections should be sufficient to make fair assessments.
Identifying and managing fire hazards
Fire inspections should be conducted monthly by trained fire marshals and all fire hazards identified should be addressed immediately. Should more than one hazard be identified, the highest priority hazards should be dealt with first. Remember that no hazards are allowed in the workplace, and should a hazard be identified, it should either be eliminated, treated, or tolerated.
Eliminate: Should the fire hazard pose a major threat it should be eliminated.
Treat: If it is impossible to eliminate the fire hazard it should be treated to make it safer, maybe use a less risky product or implement safe working procedures.
Tolerated: Once the fire risk is within acceptable limits it can be tolerated.
Companies should adopt and implement pro-active, rigorous, and regular safety inspections in the workplace to ensure the health and safety of all their employees and to protect the business and all its assets.
By understanding safety regulations, developing a fire safety inspection checklist, conducting effective fire safety inspections, and identifying and managing fire hazards effectively, you can ensure your company’s fire safety compliance.