A recent survey by law firm Hugh James, revealed that almost one in 5 Britons work for a company where not a single fire drill has been carried out in the last 12 months, despite this being a requirement of UK health and safety regulations.   A poll of 2000 employees showed that considerations in fire and safety procedure was lacking, with some employees having never received fire safety training, and a further number not being able to recall when the testing of fire extinguishers or fire doors has taken place.

The issue of fire safety in the workplace and also in residential buildings is a topic under close scrutiny since the tragic events at Grenfell Tower earlier this year.

An independent review of fire and safety and building regulations was announced following the fire at Grenfell Tower, with the tragedy exposing obvious flaws in regulations.  The review will look at current fire building regulations and fire safety and will examine:

  • The regulatory system around the design, construction and ongoing management of buildings in relation to fire and safety
  • Related compliance and enforcement issues
  • International regulation and experience in this area

Managers, employers, building managers and agents are responsible for ensuring that current regulations are met.  Considerations include:

  • There must be a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment for the premises in place. Take particular care to ensure your assessment has been reviewed, is up to date and has been acted on.
  • There must be an emergency plan which includes the actions you will need to take in a fire in your premises or any premises nearby.
  • Staff should receive appropriate training and know what to do in the event of fire.
  • Equipment such as extinguishers, hose reels, alarms, detectors, sprinklers should be in good working order.
  • Designated key-holders should be able to attend promptly in the event of an automatic fire alarm activation.
  • Properties with lifts should have suitable arrangements in the event of people being shut in the lift.
  • Inspection of  electrical equipment to make sure it is being maintained correctly, and that sockets and extension cables are not overloaded should be carried out.
  • Combustible materials and waste should be stored in an appropriate receptacle, and  any flammable liquids or gases locked away.

Fire experts slammed “outdated” fire regulations this year, saying that regulations have not kept pace with new methods in construction.  Leaders from some of the UK’s most prominent fire safety bodies said that despite raising numerous concerns, suggestions to update regulations were not heeded.  Experts also suggested that as well as a requirement for fire regulations to be updated, fire safety in construction should be more of a consideration during the design process.

Related: Tusker Fire Barrier


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