Fire safety is everyone’s concern. Fire is not a force to mess with. Until you have seen a large fire in full force, you simply don’t know how fast it can take hold, and how much damage it can do, and in what little time. While on premise fires are an uncommon occurrence, the utter devastation that they can wreak makes them a frightening thought.
It can be easy to pinpoint obvious fire safety hazards in the home or workplace, such as sparking electrical plugs, but others are not so obvious. Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility, but especially so for those who are running a business and who have many people under their care.
Not only can a fire be devastating to life and buildings, those people who were responsible for keeping the premises safe may be fined up to an unlimited amount or even sent to prison for up to 2 years for non-compliance to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 fire regulations UK. In terms of severity, fire safety is a key health and safety program in the workplace that you can’t afford to get wrong.
Not convinced? Here are some examples of premises where fire safety was sadly lacking.
An elderly woman who was under the care of staff at Rose Court care home tragically died in a fire in her room sparked by a cigarette. Although staff knew of the lady’s heavy smoking, including in her room, fire risk assessments were not updated to deal with her case, nor were directives to monitor her smoking followed correctly.
The large home provider was ordered to pay costs of £170,622 under breaches of the fire legislation.
It’s not just large providers that can get hit with fines for non-compliance either. Consider the case of the fried chicken takeaway owner who was ordered to pay £19,000 for breach of the Fire Safety regulations 2005. Despite warnings from inspectors, the owner of the premises neglected to install fire alarms or an adequate emergency escape, and had not trained his staff in fire safety.
Back in 2010, Tesco were handed a £95,000 fine after a fire in one of their supermarkets. Although staff managed to put out the fire in the correct manner, staff were hesitant to leave the building and subsequent investigations revealed several more breaches of the Fire Safety Order.
As you can see, anyone can find themselves facing prosecution under the Fire Safety Order – it doesn’t matter what line of business you are in. What’s even more worrying is the amount of non-compliance still abounding. As recently as 2013, up to a third of premises did not comply with the Fire Safety Order, which can lead to warnings being issued, and if non-compliant, prosecution.
Reducing the risk to life and premises and reducing the risk of non-compliance isn’t necessarily a hard task.
At Howlett Health & Safety Services we offer online fire safety training lead by an instructor. This includes basic fire safety training for all employees, fire extinguisher training, and online fire warden training.
We also offer specific training for care homes, where there is historically a higher risk of fire. Our fire and safety courses all ensure compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.