Why Fire Safety Training for your Employees is Essential
Fires can happen anywhere, especially in the workplace. You may think that if you operate an office environment there’s a minimised risk of fire safety hazards occurring, but this isn’t necessarily the case. There are 22,000 workplace fires every year in the UK, and additional research shows that around 25% of them are caused by faulty or improperly used electronic equipment.
With these statistics in mind, it’s important that workplace fire safety is a key aspect of your company’s health and safety policies. But is this only necessary for employers and team leaders? Or do all employees need to be trained up in important fire safety knowledge? This blog will help you find out everything you need to know about the importance of employee fire safety training.
Do employees need fire safety training?
The short answer is yes! Fire safety training is absolutely essential for all employees in the workplace. As an employer, you have a duty of care to your employees to ensure that the working environment is free of safety risk and hazard. Not only is it your responsibility as the ‘responsible person’, but you’re also legally required to ensure a risk-free working environment. Several government acts have been implemented to ensure all employers are legally required to maintain a safe workplace, one of them being the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, also known as the Fire Safety Order.
What is the Fire Safety Order?
The Fire Safety Order outlines several requirements employers must fulfil in order to guarantee a work environment free of fire hazards. These requirements include employers appointing trained fire wardens for their workplace and ensuring ’employees are provided with adequate fire safety training’.
‘Adequate fire safety training’ may seem like a vague phrase and can be tricky to interpret. Adequate can mean different things depending on what type of organisation and workplace you are responsible for. Fire safety training should generally include:
- Induction fire safety training for all new employees.
- Regular, or extra, fire safety training courses – especially when any new fire hazards emerge in the workplace.
- Specific training to support people and their fire safety duties (eg. keeping ‘responsible people’ up to date on any new fire safety risks)
- Conducting specialised training courses to build fire safety skills such as conducting fire risk assessments, proper fire extinguisher use, evacuation protocol, and specific fire warden training.
By implementing these fire safety measures, employers will be able to guarantee that their employees are properly trained to manage any on-site fire safety incidents.
What are the benefits of workplace fire safety training?
Create a safer working environment
Fires can be extremely dangerous in a workplace, so training your workforce on proper fire safety protocols can help to minimise the chance of fire-related injuries and incidents amongst your employees. Training courses often include more technical aspects such as practice fire extinguisher demonstrations. With the right level of fire awareness training, you’ll help to create a safe environment where your employees will feel more comfortable.
Strengthen team cohesiveness
Fire training activities can often also double up as team-building exercises for your employees. In the event of a fire, your staff will be expected to have the right levels of trust, communication, and collaboration skills. These abilities are very transferable and will not only help your workforce during a fire safety incident but will also help them become a stronger and more productive team.
Fulfil legal workplace requirements
As we previously mentioned, employee fire safety training is a legal obligation under the Fire Safety Order. Failure to comply with the Order can result in your workplace receiving a prohibition notice, a minor fine of up to £5,000, or even a prison sentence of up to 2 years. Properly training your workforce will make sure that your company is fulfilling all of its legal requirements and that it won’t face any unnecessary interruptions in productivity.
How many fire wardens should there be in your workplace?
Fire wardens are appointed members of your own staff who have undergone fire warden training. These individuals are a crucial part of ensuring the right protocols are being followed in the event of a fire. Some tasks fire wardens are responsible for include checking fire alarms, carrying out fire drills and fire risk assessments, ensuring emergency exits and fire extinguishers are always visible, and making sure all new employees have undergone the right fire safety training courses.
The number of fire wardens needed will depend on a variety of factors: the number of floors in your workplace, the type of workplace, and the layout of the physical space. All these factors will then determine whether your workplace is low, medium, or high risk.
For low risk environments, you’ll need one fire warden for every 50 people. If you operate a medium risk workplace, you’ll need a warden for every 20 people, and if it is a high risk environment you’ll need one fire warden for every 15 people. Your appointed fire wardens will need to have obtained a fire warden certificate that indicates they’ve completed the appropriate training.
How often should staff undergo fire training?
The law states that all new employees must undergo fire safety training when joining a new company. It also states that staff must also participate in regular fire safety refresher courses to ensure that they remember the necessary fire safety knowledge and protocol. We recommend offering refresher courses every 1-2 years but this should be more frequent if your company has a higher turnover rate, a high risk work environment, or a large number of vulnerable people in your care.
Our fire warden and fire marshal certificates are valid for 3 years after completion. After this 3 year period, you’ll have to undergo the training and assessment again to renew your certification.
Workplace fire safety training is an extremely important part of creating a safe working environment. By implementing the right safety training strategies for all of your employees, you’ll help make your employees feel safer and more connected with their colleagues while at the same time fulfilling any legal health and safety obligations. When you train your employees right, everyone wins!
Here at MCFP, our BAFE-certified fire safety technicians work to provide the best fire safety knowledge, services, and products to help keep you and your employees safe. If you’re interested in our fire safety training programmes, or any of our other services, contact us today and we’ll help you find the best solutions for your team.