Fire Safety in the Workplace

18 March 2019
Fire Safety in the Workplace

Those responsible for offices and workplaces to which the public have access can easily prevent fires by adopting specific procedures and the right behaviour. Fires need three things to start- a source of ignition (whether it be lighting, heater or something that can get hot), a source of fuel (wood, plastic, material etc) and oxygen. There are many different steps employees and employers can follow to limit the risk of a fire and ensure a safe workplace.

Risk Assessments

Fire safety risk assessments must be carried out regularly and all information must be kept up to date. This shares the same importance as a health and safety assessment and can be carried out together. Based upon the results, employers need to ensure that adequate and appropriate safety measures are in place to minimise risk of injury. The risk assessment will help you identify who’s in the most danger, what equipment you need, where the best exits are and whether they are clearly shown as fire exits, and other major factors.


Many substances found in the workplace can cause fires and explosions. Flammable chemicals, petrol, paint thinners etc can all be dangerous, and the correct storage of these is so important. Consider using less-flammable alternatives if possible, or the use of industry recognised storage units. Read all the labels, and only use them when entirely safe to do so. Think about others around you when using these substances, and whether you have enough space. Check all chemicals are sealed properly, and make sure you are wearing suitable clothing.

Power Off

At the end of the day, the first thing on your mind is probably getting home. However, before you leave, make sure all electrical appliances are turned off to avoid overheating and malfunctioning. Leaving any devices turned on can be a huge fire hazard, and if you are the last out of the office, going around checking that everything is powered down or switched off can help prevent a disastrous situation happening overnight. It can also save electricity and money.

Electrical Safety

Overloading electrical circuits and using multiple extension leads can cause the fuse to blow, overheat and be a huge fire hazard. Make sure each lead has its own plug and that it isn’t on for too long at a time. Electrical faults are one of the main causes of workplace fires, so it is important to keep an eye of for any potential electrical problems, and immediately draw attention to them- whether it be damaged cords, long leads, overloaded sockets etc.

Smoking Areas

Designated smoking areas should be the only place for smoking during work, and all materials should be extinguished and exposed of safely, and never stored. This designated area should be away from any public areas and storage units and should have a protective cover. Smoking areas should be clearly displayed, and not block any exits.

Clutter Free Workspace

Make sure that anything that may easily catch fire, including waste paper, trash and files, are kept to a minimum and desks, walkways and bins are cleared regularly. Not only are they an eye-sore, but they can be a contributing factor to the start of a fire. It is important to remove all unneeded paper, as they could easily catch alight or help spread a fire fast. Keep paper away from electrical devices that can overheat, and heaters.

Installation of Fire Extinguishers

The workplace should have appropriate types and numbers of fire extinguishers available, which account for the size of the company. Everyone in the workplace should know how to correctly operate them and know where they are located. Fire extinguishers play a vital role in protecting the environment too, by controlling fires in their early stages. They are the most popular fire safety tool installed by employers and prove to be one of the most vital devices in an office.

Thorough Checks

All devices should be checked properly and regularly to avoid overheating and friction sparks. Be sure to arrange the maintenance of machines when needed, and that items are in a suitable working order. Although machine checks fall under fire risk assessments, employees should ensure their devices are in a good state, and they are serviced, as well as turned off when not in use.

Never Block Sprinklers or Detectors

Nothing should ever be in the way of a sprinkler or a smoke detector, as they play an important part in the event of a fire. Ensure that they are not obstructed and are fully operation. Fire extinguishers should be checked every year, with they must be clean, with no dust oil or grease on the outside. It is important to measure their pressure levels every so often, and they should be within easy access.

Functioning Fire Alarms

Having fire alarm systems installed can help save lives. They help make the building safe for all who work in it, and they are designed to alert those nearby, to give time to evacuate in an orderly fashion. They shorten recovery time, and help people feel safer. There are three different types of fire alarm systems- conventional, addressable and wireless. Fire alarms are a vital tool for fire safety, and every major building should have one. Fire alarms need to be checked every three months, and they must be ‘adequately maintained’ as stated in the BS 5839 standard.

Suitable Fire Training

Ensuring that all staff are properly informed as to fire safety is important, and it can really make a considerable difference in employees’ knowledge and awareness of fire prevention. There are a range of courses available, ranging from basic fire awareness presentations to live demonstrations. We can provide staff fire training, suitable for up to 20 people at one time, and every participant will receive a certificate.


It is crucial that everyone in the business complies with all regulations and follows the fire safety steps to ensure the protection of the building and all employees.  Fire safety is of utmost importance, and following these steps is a fantastic way to be best prepared for any eventuality. Fires are preventable, but its how you follow the necessary steps that affects the risk of them starting.

Whether you are in need of fire extinguishers, a fire risk assessment, or office fire training for your staff, we can tailor a service to your needs and requirements. We’ve serviced 100,000+ fire extinguishers, completed over 3,500 risk assessments, and have provided fire safety services to a range of businesses all over the South of England for the past 20 years.

We would be delighted to hear from you. If you would like to discuss the full range of fire safety services we can offer, call us on 01420 476071, or email us at info@wjfire.co.uk. We look forward to speaking with you!