Workplace fire legislation in the UK: are you compliant?

Learn everything you need to know about fire safety to ensure your workplace is compliant with the latest fire safety legislation in the UK.

Whatever type of business you have or industry you operate in, fire safety is of paramount importance. While achieving fire safety compliance in your workplace is relatively easy to achieve, there are still a lot of businesses who either don’t understand the importance of it or are simply oblivious to what’s required.

In this blog, we delve into the necessary steps required to achieve fire safety compliance.

Why fire safety is important

It’s crucial that your working environment complies with all building regulations to prevent any fire hazards potentially harming the wellbeing of your employees in the event of a fire.

If you don’t take note, you’re not only putting every member of staff at risk, but you could be liable to pay a substantial fine. According to the latest statistics, fines for fire safety breaches have skyrocketed since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017

Notable fire safety statistics in the UK

  • Out of 200 new cases, only nine defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges brought. Suggesting these people knew of the risks but have simply done nothing about it.
  • The most common breach is Article 14, relating to the blockage of emergency routes and exits.
  • A total of £1,230,879 has been handed out in fines over the past 13 years.
  • Since Grenfell, the average fine is up from £20,375 to £27,519.

The statistics don’t lie. If you’re not compliant or you’re unsure, it’s time to do something about it.

Current fire legislation in the UK

As well as following any standard building health and safety regulation, your workplace must also comply with The Fire Safety Order 2005 and BS5839 pt1 2013.
Both fire safety workplace legislations are the responsibility of the employer, owner, landlord or occupier. This includes any homeowners who also run a bed and breakfast, guesthouse or let a self-catering property on the side.

The fire safety rules are slightly different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Fire safety in the workplace: things to consider

According to the, as the responsible person for fire safety in the workplace, you must:

  • Carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly – i.e. test alarms, check for hazards blocking the exits, review workplace layouts and keep a fire safety logbook.
  • Tell employees about any risks that you identify so that they’re aware in the event of an emergency.
  • Implement and maintain appropriate fire safety measures.
  • Provide employees with necessary fire safety instruction and training, such as an evacuation protocol/system and plan for emergencies.

What fire safety equipment do you need?

  • Emergency lighting – almost 12,000 fires in the UK are ignited by damaged or misused electrical appliances, which aren’t properly maintained or inappropriately handled. If this happens, your building may experience an outage. You need emergency lighting to help guide employees safely out of the building. It’s also important to call in an expert to conduct annual PAT testing on all electrical equipment too.
  • Fire detection system – this needs to be tested weekly.
  • Portable fire extinguishers – making sure you have the right type for your business and the fire risks presented. These must undergo annual maintenance to ensure they’re functioning.
  • Fire hose reels and sprinkler system – these ensure you can quickly put out a lot of fires without endangering employees.
  • Fire doors – these should be checked every 3 to 6 months, depending on usage.
  • Fire exits – if feasible, alter your building to incorporate an emergency exit route for employees to vacate.
  • Fire safety signs – to remind employees of the protocol in the event of a fire.

Where to put fire safety signs?

Lastly, your building must adhere to The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. This includes having the right signs and putting them in the right place. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Fire Action Notice – these are mandatory for all premises and are best placed next to every fire alarm call-point and final exit door.
  • Fire exit signs – these are only needed for medium to big work buildings where there are multiple exits. As you can probably guess, these should be clearly displayed above every exit door and on the walls leading to them.
  • Fire Extinguisher ID sign – these must go next to your extinguishers to show employees how to use them and the dangers of using it.
  • Fire alarm call point signs – if you have an alarm, call point signs are compulsory and are there to clearly show employees where the alarm is.
  • Other fire equipment signs – all hose reel and dry riser equipment require a sign to show employees how to use them and the risk.
  • Warning & Prohibition signs – if there are other risks, such as electrical equipment, you need to point out the risks with a fire safety sign.

Call in an expert

At Mid-Tech, we specialise in building services maintenance and providing client support, including fire safety compliance in the workplace. Thanks to our extensive list of trusted suppliers and experienced workforce, we can supply the necessary equipment and conduct regular maintenance work to ensure you remain compliant with fire safety legislation.

To find out more, get in touch with us today or view our services to see how we can help your business.

Need help with compliance?

Get in touch to speak to a member of our team.