Auditing Fire Safety Arrangements in the Workplace

Green fire escape sign hang on the ceiling in an office

If you’re responsible for fire safety you should carry out a periodic check to see that all your arrangements are in place, from your policy through to the signs and extinguishers on site.

Formal Checks

Maintaining a good standard of fire safety in your premises is dependent on staff and contractors diligently fulfilling their roles and responsibilities. Over time procedures can fall by the wayside, key staff may leave, and premises may be altered or simply deteriorate. All of these factors can lead to your arrangements becoming less effective.  To avoid this it’s necessary to carry out periodic checks. If you don’t know what to include, our fire safety compliance audit document is designed for this purpose.  A copy can be downloaded here

Tip. We recommend that you use it once every two years, or more often if necessary.

What’s Covered?

On the first page there are spaces to be completed with details of the assessor, date and the area assessed. There are then a series of four tables:

  • Section 1 – “Prevention”
  • Section 2 – “Control and containment”
  • Section 3 – “Means of escape”
  • Section 4 – “Procedures, information and training”

In each table there are questions for you to mark Yes , No or N/A (not applicable). If a question prompts you to write comments you should note these in the “F/I” (further information) box on the last page.

Tip. To help you keep track of your notes, put a sequential number in the F/I box next to each question and then number your comments accordingly.

Fire Prevention and Protection

In the first table we’ve focused on the actions to take to prevent a fire from starting. We’ve looked at the storage of chemicals, flammable substances and combustibles, as well as how you manage heat sources, cooking equipment and electrical installations. The idea is to identify any materials and sources of ignition which have not been adequately controlled. Section 2 helps you to review whether your building is as well equipped as it needs to be. It examines two areas:
(1)  fire-fighting equipment, including extinguishers and sprinklers; and
(2) the fire doors and other structural elements which delay the spread of a fire from its place of origin.

Getting out Safely

Section 3 asks whether escape routes are clear and if fire exits are easy to open. There are also questions which check that the fire alarm is well serviced, properly set up and audible throughout the building. The final section evaluates your documentation including your fire risk assessment and fire action plan. It helps you to consider whether there is adequate instruction and whether drills take place at a sufficient frequency.

Tip. At the end of the questionnaire, complete the action plan. Fill in the columns showing the action required, the level of priority, the name of the staff member who will implement the action, and the completion date.

Final Comments & Copy of Audit Checklist

Auditing your fire safety arrangements periodically will ensure that standards don’t slip. Use it to identify your priority actions on the control of sources of ignition and combustible materials; fire doors; extinguishing systems; means of escape; and emergency procedures.

Download your free copy here.

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