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Has your workplace changed how it operates?

Key fire safety matters to consider for businesses starting to operate again

Now that your business is starting to operate again, there are some key fire safety matters for you to consider.

Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Services are helping businesses return to work safely in these extraordinary times.

Businesses have had to adapt to new ways of working over the past 11 weeks, during which they have faced great challenges. However, our teams are on hand to help businesses return to work safely as restrictions are eased.

Group Commander Phill Mould, Head of Protection for Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We are here to support you the best we can during these challenging times, while ensuring compliance is met with fire safety legislation to keep all staff, customers and visitors safe when they are on your premises.

“Our fire safety inspecting officers are working to provide support and guidance to ensure that businesses and customers across the Thames Valley are safe to reopen, and are on hand to answer any questions you may have with regards to your business needs.”

New ways of working may mean that your business needs have changed, and so it is important to review your fire risk assessment to ensure that it reflects how your business is now operating.

Some key aspects of your business that could affect your fire risk assessment include:

  • Changes to work processes and their implementation, such as new equipment.
  • Temporary change of use in the premises, for example sleeping on premises has been introduced.
  • Alterations to the building, including the internal layout.
  • Substantial changes to furniture and fixings.
  • Increase or change of stock kept on site.
  • An increase or decrease in the numbers of staff or customers at your premises.
  • Are you still able to safely evacuate everybody from the premises? Is your fire assembly point still workable with social distancing in mind?

There may be other considerations to take into account as you prepare to return to work.

  • How much rubbish are you generating? Ensure all rubbish is properly disposed of to reduce the risk of arson.
  • Are your means of escape suited to the number of people in your building and their needs? Ensure that means of escape are kept clear and are suited to the needs of the people within your building.
  • Do you have new members of staff? Make sure that staff are properly trained, including any additional training needs that may have arisen in your Fire Risk Assessment.
  • Does your fire warning system and emergency lighting work correctly? Whilst the premises has been closed have these systems been tested?
  • Don’t be tempted to prop open fire doors. Minimising contact with door handles may be at the forefront of people’s minds at the moment but do not use wedges or extinguishers to hold open fire doors.

Our teams are on hand to help you return to work safely. Click on the appropriate link below if you have queries about fire safety in the workplace – you will find advice and guidance and contact details for our area fire safety offices.

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service | Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service | Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service

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