Time to Spring Clean Your Fire Safety at Work

When the clocks go forward and the nights begin to stay lighter we Spring clean our homes, so why not our work places too? Easter marks a new beginning for many people, making April the perfect time to check your office space for fire and safety hazards.

At Synergy Fire Engineering we visit hundreds of workplaces every year to carry out fire risk assessments. All businesses that employ more than five people must have an up to date fire risk assessment.

Your fire risk assessment must also be reviewed annually. But don’t worry, we can help you make your annual safety Spring clean stress free.

We have more than twenty years’ experience in the Fire and Security sector, working in partnership with organisations of all shapes and sizes to ensure people are safe while they work. Our team are experts at spotting fire hazards, some of which are simple to rectify and which can help prevent a fire from taking hold or spreading rapidly.

Here are some of the common fire risks we spot in workplaces:

  • Fire doors propped open

Depending on the type of fire door you have, it can stop a smoke and fumes from spreading by up to 120 minutes. This means escape routes are kept clear so everyone can be evacuated safely and quickly. Never prop a fire door open! It could save lives and prevent potentially devastating damage.

  • Overloading plug sockets

We use a host of electrical equipment at work such as computers, fax machines, printers and mobile phone chargers. It’s easy to overload four-way adaptors without realising it. We always advise using a multi-way bar extension lead, rather than a square block adaptor, which should not be used under any circumstances. Never double up and plug an extension lead into another one. And always check what the maximum wattage is for the appliances you are plugging in. Just because there is space for four or more plugs, doesn’t mean it’s safe to do so. You should also regularly check for danger signs, such as damaged or frayed leads and scorch marks around the socket.

  • Piles of paper documents or waste

The build-up of highly combustible materials like paper and cardboard can be a big problem in many types of office and work spaces. Disposing of such materials regularly reduces the risk of it acting as fuel if a fire should break out. It only takes a discarded cigarette, a faulty electrical socket igniting or a toaster catching fire for a blaze to spread rapidly.

  • Blocked fire exits

Hopefully you would never have to use it, but a fire exit is your escape route if an emergency should occur. We see fire exits blocked with supplies, equipment and machinery in workplaces all the time. This should never happen. Escape routes should be kept clear and uncluttered and fire doors should be tested regularly to check they haven’t become stuck or blocked.

  • No smoking zones not adhered to

Smoking is not allowed in any enclosed workplace, public building or on public transport in the UK. Businesses must display ‘no smoking’ signs in all workplaces and vehicles. Business owners can be fined up to £2,500 if you don’t stop people smoking in the workplace or up to £1,000 if you don’t display ‘no smoking’ signs. A discarded cigarette igniting a waste bin, a pile of pallets or boxes is all it takes to start a potentially devastating fire. Make sure you do regular spot checks to your workforce continue to adhere to the rules.

For more information about how we can help you Spring clean your fire and safety procedures at work or how to carry out a fire risk assessment please get in touch via Telephone: 0843 658 1310 or Email: [email protected].    

Matt Spivey is Managing Director of Synergy Fire Engineering, the only BAFE SP205 accredited Fire Risk Assessors in Derbyshire. A member of the Institution of Fire Engineers, Matt is highly qualified and holds a BEng (Hons) in Fire Engineering.  For more information about our fire safety training call Synergy Fire Engineering on 0843 658 1310 or email [email protected].