Fire SafetyBurning building

I have seen two short films on the internet, both included in this week’s newsletter, about fire and how people react to hearing the fire alarm or even seeing a fire. It is unbelievable!

So this week, I thought that I should look at Fire Safety and what you should be doing as an employer and as an employee. I have also, in light of the forthcoming seasonal event, added some advice to consider keeping you safe at home.


This week’s 2 recent HSE cases look at situations that should never have been allowed to happen

As ever, if you have a subject that you would like us to cover one week, please contact us by phone 01458 253682, email or via our Facebook page  or by Twitter.


Fire Safety

Most fires are preventable. Those responsible for workplaces and other buildings to which the public have access can avoid them, by taking responsibility for and adopting the right behaviours and procedures.

Quite often it is the behaviour of people that you must consider more carefully as this can make all the difference between living or not.

But first let us look at the components of fire and your duties.

Components of a firecomponents-of-a-fire

Fires need three things to start – a source of ignition (heat), a source of fuel (something that burns) and oxygen:

  1. sources of ignition include heaters, lighting, naked flames, electrical equipment, smokers’ materials (cigarettes, matches etc), and anything else that can get very hot or cause sparks
  2. sources of fuel include wood, paper, plastic, rubber or foam, loose packaging materials, waste rubbish and furniture
  3. sources of oxygen include the air around us

If you remove any one of these and you cannot have a fire.

What do I, as an employer, have to do?

Employers (and/or building owners or occupiers) must carry out a fire safety risk assessment and keep it up to date. This shares the same approach as health and safety risk assessments and can be carried out either as part of an overall risk assessment or as a separate exercise.

Based on the findings of the assessment, employers need to ensure that adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.

To help prevent fire in the workplace, your risk assessment should identify what could cause a fire to start, i.e. sources of ignition (heat or sparks) and substances that burn, and the people who may be at risk.

Once you have identified the risks, you can take appropriate action to control them. Consider whether you can avoid them altogether or, if this is not possible, how you can reduce the risks and manage them. Also consider how you will protect people if there is a fire.

  • Carry out a fire safety risk assessmentFire action sign
  • Keep sources of ignition and flammable substances apart
  • Avoid accidental fires, e.g. make sure heaters cannot be knocked over
  • Ensure good housekeeping at all times, e.g. avoid build-up of rubbish that could burn
  • Consider how to detect fires and how to warn people quickly if they start, e.g. installing smoke alarms and fire alarms or bells
  • Have the correct fire-fighting equipment for putting a fire out quickly
  • Keep fire exits and escape routes clearly marked and unobstructed at all times
  • Appoint suitably trained Fire Wardens
  • Ensure your workers receive appropriate training on procedures they need to follow, including fire drills
  • Review and update your risk assessment regularly

What do I, as an employee, have to do?

As an employee you have a duty to help your employer by:Flame Hand

  • Not starting fires either deliberately or accidently
  • Clear up rubbish that easily burns and place it in the correct bin or assigned area.
  • Ensure you don’t block up fire exits or leave obstructions in the fire escape routes.
  • Do not misuse or remove fire extinguishers.
  • Do not ignore Fire Alarms but follow the training you have been given even if it turns out to be a false alarm.  

You may wonder why I have highlighted the points about fire drills and fire alarms above because it is obvious that you would leave on hearing the fire alarm isn’t it.

Well please watch this short film.

Members of the public being secretly filmed, a fire alarm is activated. What do they do?

What would you do? This excellent piece of film shows the importance of a fire warden.

If you are an employer, you should make sure you and your staff know what to do to prevent a fire in the workplace and how to escape if a fire does break out.

Make your workplace safer


There is a compelling case to be made for sprinkles in any commercial premises on the basis of loss of production or interruption to business. It is a recognised fact 85 per cent of small and medium businesses that suffer a serious fire either never recover or cease trading within 18 months. The Fire Brigade promotes the installation of sprinklers as a proven means to reduce the impact of fire on people, property and the environment.

Know the law

Fire safety order

In October 2006 the government introduced the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The changes were designed to make the law easier to comply with and understand. In the majority of premises, local fire and rescue authorities are responsible for enforcing this fire safety legislation. HSE has enforcement responsibility on construction sites, for nuclear premises, and on ships under construction or undergoing repair.

If you have a specific enquiry in mind, please contact our Fire Safety Officer, Trevor Lumbard GIFireE, for advice on 01458 253682

Would you ignore a fire in a shop if you saw one?

Well please watch this short piece of CCTV video from a branch of Thresher’s Off Licence and ask yourself “What would you have done?”

Fire safety at home

Most fires in the home start accidentally and the effects can be devastating

It’s important that you know how to reduce the chances of a fire starting in your home and keep yourself, your family and your property safe from fire.

At this festive time of year remember

  • Keep decorations and cards away from fires and other heat sources such as light fittings. Don’t leave burning candles unattended, make sure you put them out before going to bed and do not put candles on Christmas trees
  • If you have old Christmas lights, seriously consider buying new ones, which will meet much higher safety standards, keep the lights switched off until the Christmas tree is decorated and remember to switch off the lights when going out of the house or going to bed

Don’t forget, if there is a fire inside your home – get out, stay out and call 999 – don’t try to tackle the fire yourself.

Ensure that you have checked the batteries in your smoke detectors and that you have discussed a fire evacuation plan with your family.

If you need further information please call us on 01458 253682 or send us an email.


Training Courses

Jon Wilkins Training

We have no more open courses organised for this year but shall be running new courses again in 2016.

But remember we are still available for running “In House” courses and we have two of these organised in December covering Asbestos and CDM2015.

If you have any questions about these courses or any other training or would like us to run a particular course for you, call Jon Wilkins of the Wilkins Safety Group on 01458 253682 or email him.


Your business is safer in our hands.