The last thing any business owner wants is a fire on their premises. Even a small fire can cause serious disruption to your business, and a serious fire can be devastating. The most dangerous attitude that any business can have regarding a fire is, “it won’t happen to me.” It is vital that each business owner understands their responsibilities when it comes to fire safety, and that prevention is always better than cure.
Every year there are over 15,000 workplace-related fires in the UK. One of the biggest questions new business owners should be asking themselves regarding fire safety is, “what can I do to prevent a fire?” The UK government provides detailed information on the legal obligations of any employer when it comes to fire safety in the workplace, some of which we will touch on in this blog.
In the UK, it is a legal requirement for every business and workplace to have a fire detection system in place, such as a smoke alarm and a sprinkler system. These are known as ‘active’ fire protection systems, as their job is to automatically detect and stop the fire. There are also ‘passive’ fire protection systems, something that we specialise in at FPC. These are more concerned with containing a fire and preventing its spread. A business that’s doing everything it can to prevent and contain a fire will need both active and passive systems.
Who is Responsible for Fire Safety in my Business?
Until recently, businesses were required to appoint a ‘Responsible Person’ to ensure their business was fully compliant with the Fire Safety Order 2005. However, the Fire Safety Act 2021, which came into effect on 16th May 2022, has now made the ‘Responsible Person’ a legal definition, meaning that the onus is on the business to find out who the ‘Responsible Person’ is and ensure they are fully aware of their duties.
The ‘Responsible Person’ cannot delegate their responsibilities to others, and failure to comply with the Fire Safety Order can result in fines and even imprisonment. The ‘Responsible Person’ for fire safety in the workplace is typically the building owner or the person who has control over the premises, such as the landlord or manager. They are culpable in identifying and managing fire risks and ensuring that the building has appropriate fire safety measures in place.
If your business has more than one ‘Responsible Person’ as defined in law, they must work together to ensure their business is fully compliant. The laws are occasionally updated, and it’s up to the ‘Responsible Person’ to ensure they are aware of the latest legislation and are fully compliant with it. We’ve detailed more about fire safety in the office in this blog.
Implementing Passive Fire Protection
Passive fire protection exists to prevent the spread of fire and smoke within a building and to protect the structural integrity of the building in the event of a fire. The goal of passive fire protection is to contain a fire within a specific area, to give occupants more time to evacuate and for firefighters to contain and extinguish the fire.
Here at FPC, we have over 30 years of industry experience in fire prevention and containment, with expertise in passive fire protection in the workplace. Safety is our speciality, and we are proud to be at the forefront of fire safety development. We have created an extensive range of fire containment products that have been designed, tried and tested by us. Here are just three items from our extensive range that will help you create and maintain a safe environment for you and your employees.
- Mastic/Fire & Acoustic Sealant: This versatile intumescent sealant is suitable for use on fire-rated door and window frames, as well as for sealing joints, holes and gaps surrounding piping and other services that pass through firewalls. The intumescent properties of the sealant ensure it expands in size when subjected to the heat of a fire, creating a smoke- and fire-resistant seal.
- Fire Curtain: A fire curtain will descend from the ceiling should a fire occur, creating a fire- and smoke-resistant barrier between the two areas. The fire-retardant polymer of the curtain will reflect heat towards the source of the fire and create a fire-impeding barrier for up to 90 minutes, buying valuable time for employees to exit the building and for firefighters to arrive and extinguish the fire.
- Intumescent Block Grilles: One of the most often overlooked aspects of passive fire prevention is where cables, pipes and ducting pass through firewalls, creating an easy path for fire to spread throughout the workplace. As well as our intumescent pipe sleeves, block grilles can help stop the spread because the intumescent material will expand and block the grille should a fire break out.
The Time to Act is Now
However small or big your business is, the importance of fire safety in the workplace cannot be understated. Whatever your issue or worry, FPC is ready to help. You can contact us on 01384 633 660 to discuss your needs with one of our fire safety experts.
Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with your enquiries, or you can use our online contact form and one of our experts will get back to you. We look forward to helping you with fire protection in your office and workspace.