Fire safety – are you putting your business, employees or customers at risk?
Find out what you need to do to minimise the risks and learn how Direct Line for Business can help
A quick question to test your knowledge of fire safety law; which one of these is responsible for fire safety in business premises?
- The employer
- The owner
- The landlord
- The occupier
- The building manager or managing agent (if any)
The answer is that it's most likely all of them. As always it depends on the circumstances, but generally the responsibility rests with whoever has control, and if more than one person has control, the responsibility is shared.
This doesn't just apply to business premises. Whilst it doesn't quite extend to private homes or individual flats, it does cover guest accommodation like B&Bs or self-catering properties, as well as the shared areas of multi-occupied residential buildings.
The individual steps you may need to take to comply with the regulations will depend on the size and type of premises, and the nature of any materials or equipment the business may handle or store. However, regardless of the type and size of your business, you must carry out a fire safety check to identify potential sources of danger and people who may be at risk. A review of fire safety should remove or reduce the risk from fire as far as is reasonably possible. As a minimum, the review should include:
- A fire-safety plan to deal with an emergency (that should be reviewed regularly to make sure it's suitable for your premises and people)
- Fire detection and warning systems (e.g. any public address or automatic system)
- Means to fight a small fire (e.g. enough fire extinguishers on each floor: one for every 200 square metres of floor space is suggested by the British Standards Institution)
- Emergency exits for people to leave the premises quickly and safely to a safe area beyond the premises (e.g. more than one escape route if possible; emergency exits clearly indicated; fire exit doors easy to unlock and open in an emergency; sliding or revolving doors not used as emergency exits).
After the assessment, you should record any dangers and risks identified, and any actions taken to improve fire safety. Employers should also provide fire safety information and training to employees, especially anyone who may act as a fire marshal if there's a fire.
Getting compliant with health and safety regulations – where to start?
A good starting point to getting compliant with the regulations is to carry out a complete health and safety review. As a Direct Line for Business policyholder, you get access to a range of useful compliance documentation as standard, including a health and safety compliance review and policy creator. Available through the Direct Line for Business Legal Document Service, this interactive online document will take you through all the steps you need to take to assess and minimise the health and safety risks of your business.
You'll also get access to a fire risk review checklist, as well as host of useful online guides to health and safety regulations. For extra peace of mind, you can always get one of our solicitors to check a document you've prepared using our system to make sure it's right for your situation.
Health and safety regulations can change at any time and you should carry out a health and safety and fire risk review every year. So, if it's been a while since you've done a review, or if you've never done one at all, login to the Legal Document Service today to ensure you are compliant with the law and your business is protected.
Getting started is easy
Simply click here to login or if you've not done so already, register to use the service. If registering for the first time, you'll need your Direct Line for Business policy number to hand to complete the short registration process.
Once registered, you'll not only get access to documents, but also to jargon-free online guides covering a wide range of legal subjects. Plus, for extra peace of mind, you can even send the documents you create through the service to our firm of solicitors who can check and, if necessary, make changes within three working days.
Remember, you can use our Legal Document Service as often as you need to.