Workplace Fire Safety for your Organisation
As an employer or a building manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your workplace complies to fire safety standards. Beyond legal obligations, it’s also your moral duty to protect the health and safety of all your employees and tenants against workplace fires and other emergencies.
In this blog, we’ll go over the workplace safety standards that keep a building’s occupants safe, fire safety guidelines in the workplace, key personnel for fire safety and a comprehensive fire safety checklist that your organisation can use.
Table of Contents
- Fire Safety Personnel
- Fire Safety Checklist
- Smoke Alarms and Fire Detection Systems
- Fire Safety Equipment and Installations
- Evacuation and Emergency Warning Systems
- Risk Assessment
- Fire Drills
- Electrical Systems
- Storage Areas
- Kitchen Areas
While each state has their own regulations towards fire safety, there is a set of Australian Standards that all businesses need to comply with:
- AS 1670—Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm Systems
- AS 1841—Portable Fire Extinguishers
- AS 1851—Routine Service of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment
- AS 2293—Emergency Escape Lighting and Emergency Exit Signs
- AS 2444—Portable Fire Extinguishers and Fire Blankets – Selection and Location
- National Construction Codes (NCC)
- Occupational Safety and Health Regulations
- Mines Safety Inspection Act and Regulations (when applicable)
These safeguards are put in place to ensure that the occupants of a building have adequate protection against workplace fires. But going beyond these legal requirements, there will be plenty of other opportunities that organisational heads can take advantage of, to enhance the safety of their workplace.
Fire Safety Adviser(FSA)
Under the Queensland Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008, all high-occupancy buildings are legally required to appoint a Fire Safety Adviser. And while this is a legal requirement in Queensland, there’s nothing keeping organisations from other states from adopting the same measure.
A Fire Safety adviser is someone who is responsible for fire safety in the workplace. They are an organisation’s go-to person for ensuring their workplace’s fire safety compliance measures are intact, up to date and up to standards. An individual who completes a Fire Safety Adviser Course will be able to:
- Identify, prevent and report potential facility emergency situations.
- Ensure facility emergency prevention procedures, systems and processes are implemented.
- Manage and monitor facility emergency procedures, equipment and other resources.
- Respond to facility emergencies.
- Operate as part of an emergency control organisation.
- Lead an emergency control organisation.
- Manage an emergency control organisation.
- Confine small emergencies in a facility.
Australian Standards 3745-2010 require key safety personnel, such as Fire Wardens, to be trained yearly to keep their knowledge and skills sharp. While Fire Wardens are not required for most buildings, having a qualified Fire Warden in your organisation will help prevent and address workplace accidents.
A properly trained Fire Warden be able to:
- Assume a role within the Emergency planning committee(EPC) and emergency control organisation(ECO).
- Adhere to Australian Standard 3745-2010 – Planning for emergencies in facilities.
- Identify different types of emergencies.
- Understand an organisation’s fire and evacuation plans.
- Understand evacuation signs and diagrams.
- Emergency Colour Codes
- Assembly Area Rules
- Lockdown Procedures
- Bomb Threat Procedures
- Human Behaviour During Emergencies
- Post and Pre-Evacuation Activities
- Emergency Control Organisation Identification
- Evacuation Coordination Procedures
Learn more about Fire Wardens here.
As the FSA, safety officer or building manager, keeping a checklist like this handy will not only save you time when conducting routine fire safety inspections but will also ensure that you identify any potential fire hazards and leave no stone unturned during your sweep.
The following is a comprehensive list that you can refer to and points to ask during your fire safety inspection.
- Were the smoke alarms and detection systems installed by a qualified and licenced professional?
- Are there enough alarms per level and area of the building?
- When were they last tested?
- Where are the maintenance records?
- Is there a clear escape plan and procedure in case of fire?
- Are the correct types of fire extinguishers available for each area?
- Are the portable fire extinguishers easily accessible?
- Are the fire extinguishers fully charged?
- Are the fire extinguishers inspected? fire extinguishers are maintained 6 monthly
- When were the fire sprinkler systems last tested and maintained? fire sprinklers are maintained monthly
- When were the fire pumps and hoses last tested and maintained? fire pumps are maintained monthly
- Are emergency lighting systems in place?
- When were the emergency lighting systems tested? Emergency lighting are maintained 6 monthly
- Are the magnetic and automatic doors operable in case of a power failure?
- Are fire doors and exits free from obstructions?
- Are evacuation routes and fire exits properly marked and lighted?
- Are the stairwells clear of obstructions?
- When was the last fire drill conducted? At least 1 drill is required annually?
- Do you have adequate staff members trained in emergency procedures? Wardens require training annually
- Are staff trained in first response/ first attack fire fighting? First response training required bi-annually
- Is everyone in the building familiar with the current fire evacuation plan?
- Are exits and fire doors labelled clearly and correctly?
- Are evacuation diagrams available, shows the relevant fire safety reference points and are orientated correctly?
- Does each area have access to evacuation routes?
- Are there evacuation routes for the physically impaired?
- Are the intercoms working?
- When was the last risk assessment and audit conducted?
- Was the risk assessment performed by a qualified professional?
- When was the last scheduled fire drill? At least 1 drill is required annually?
- When was the last unannounced fire drill? At least 1 drill is required annually?
- Is everyone familiar with the assembly areas? Is the Assembly Area clear signed if possible
- How does your emergency response communications work?
- When was your electrical equipment last inspected and maintained?
- Are there visual signs of damage?
- Are the circuits within their load capacity?
- Is the room temperature and ventilation optimal for electrical and mechanical equipment?
- Are the combustible materials in a separate space?
- Are the flammable liquids free of leaks?
- Is there a suspicious odour coming from the storage area?
- Are the outside areas free of flammable and combustible materials?
- Are the ventilation systems well-maintained?
- When were the cooking systems last checked and maintained?
- Is a dry chemical fire extinguisher present in the room?
- Is a wet chemical fire extinguisher present for the deep fat fryer?
- Are there personnel trained in using a fire extinguisher?
- Are there deposits of grease and cooking oil in the room?
While these guidelines are applicable for most industries and establishments, it’s still best to turn to a professional company for fire safety plans, audits and inspections tailored for your building and the nature of your industry.
Australian Fire Protection offers a diverse range of Fire Safety and Compliance services to keep your organisation and workplace up to code, and to ensure the safety of all employees.
Our 30 years in the business has allowed us to perfect our safety training programs to the point that we confidently offer a 100% Iron-Clad Guarantee for our training courses. Whether you turn to us for fire extinguisher training, warden training, evacuation exercises, evacuation diagrams or fire evacuation plans, you can rest assured that our experience and dedication to the trade will leave you satisfied.
Contact us today for all your organisation’s fire safety needs.