There’s no doubt that fires can have a devastating impact on a business. Along with causing a serious threat to human life, fires can destroy equipment and properties, and cause a large amount of lost income through expensive and lengthy repairs. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are strict regulations when it comes to commercial fire safety in Australia. Business managers need to incorporate a detailed fire safety plan into their workplace and ensure all employees are well versed in these fire safety procedures. While there are common fire safety tools such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers which are required by law, there are also some basic tips that business managers need to be aware of to ensure all employees are safe and any damage to equipment or property is minimised in the unfortunate event of a fire.
Perform A Fire Safety Audit
One of the best ways to ensure the safety of your employees is to identify potential fire hazards around the office by consulting a fire protection specialist. Not only will they highlight potential fire risks, but they will also ensure that the most appropriate solution is installed to minimise any damage that a fire may cause. Every office is different, and so are the fire hazards, but common fire hazards include missing or outdated fire safety equipment (such as fire extinguishers), locked exit doors, electrical equipment, blocked walkways, and faulty exit lights.
Regularly Check For New Fire Safety Legislation
It’s imperative that business managers create a fire prevention plan according to the ‘Planning for Emergencies in Facilities’ as per Australian Standard AS3745: 2010. It’s common for new legislation to be introduced that business managers need to be aware of, so keeping up to date with these standards is very important. New legislation can be introduced regarding fire protection equipment, maintenance, and training, so it’s a good idea to keep in contact with your fire protection specialist frequently.
Prevention Is The Best Protection
Regardless of the building you occupy, there are certain fire prevention techniques that you should employ on a regular basis. The following steps is a basic guideline that covers most buildings:
- Store combustible and flammable liquids in a safe place;
- Ensure that electrical equipment is being used correctly and safely;
- Conduct general housekeeping regularly to ensure that rubbish is not accumulating and walkways and exits are not obstructed;
- If possible, install fire-safe furnishings and decorations;
- Maintain and inspect commercial kitchen exhaust systems;
- Ensure hazards are controlled at all times; and
- Ensure open flames and smoking materials are controlled at all times.
Ensure All Fire Equipment Is Regularly Serviced And Maintained
Fire equipment is only useful when they are working and reliable, so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines in regards to service and maintenance. If you’re unsure, consult your fire protection specialist who will be able to provide you with a schedule for service and maintenance of your fire equipment. The Australian Standard AS1851-2012 ‘Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment’ needs to be adhered to, so regular testing can identify any issues that can lead to faulty equipment which should be actioned immediately.
Provide Employees With Adequate Fire Safety Training
Upon induction, all employees should be trained in the relevant fire safety procedures and how to use fire equipment such as fire extinguishers. It’s imperative that all employees know how to respond to a fire emergency, the relevant evacuation procedures, and which fire extinguishers are suitable to contain small fires. There should also be a designated fire warden for each building that is responsible for the safety of all occupants, including assembly area checks and alerting fire emergency services.
While business managers are responsible for the safety of their employees, keeping on top of all the relevant fire safety regulations and legislation can be difficult and time-consuming, considering that new legislation is introduced regularly. For this reason, it’s advised that business managers employ a fire protection specialist who can provide professional advice regarding any fire safety matter necessary. If you require any further information on any of the above guidelines, or would like some advice regarding fire safety in your building, contact King Fire Protection Services on 1300 344 966, or visit their website: https://www.kingfire.com.au/