Fire Safety Training in the Workplace
A common cause of injuries sustained in fire incidents, is the failure of the occupants of a building, whether staff or members of the public, to take the appropriate action when fire is discovered or a fire alarm is raised. If you are responsible for employees or volunteers, it's important that you provide fire safety training. Here's what you need to know...
If you are responsible for a business or organisation, it's important that you provide fire safety training as part of your normal training and induction process
- It saves lives.
- It's the law.
- Prevention is the best form of firefighting, and training can stop fires happening in the first place.
- In the event of a fire, it will keep your people safer, and may reduce damage to your building.
Employers are legally required by law (The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) to provide information, instruction and training to employees about fire precautions in the workplace.
What kind of fire safety training should be provided?
It depends on your business or organisation, and who you're training. All staff, including part-time staff, zero contract staff, security staff, cleaning staff and contractors should be trained and instructed in 4 key areas:
Prevention, rules and regulations
- Basic fire prevention
- Good housekeeping
- Risk awareness
- Your smoking policy
- Your emergency plan
- The terms, conditions and restrictions of any licence, certificate or registration for the premises.
What to do if there's a fire
- What to do if they discover a fire.
- What to do if they hear the fire alarm.
- Your escape routes, refuges and exits, especially those not in regular use.
- How to raise the alarm, including the location of alarm indicator panel.
- Who calls the fire and rescue service.
- Your special provisions for assisting people with disabilities or the vulnerable.
- Your evacuation procedures, including how to reassure members of the public, guide them to exits, and encourage them to get clear of the building.
Equipment and good practice
- Where your firefighting equipment is stored.
- How use of firefighting equipment, including hand firefighting equipment like fire blankets and extinguishers – though in larger premises it might be appropriate to train specific staff.
- The importance of fire doors and why it's important to close all doors if there is a fire or if they hear the fire alarm warning.
- If your business uses machinery, your process for shutdown and shutting down non-essential equipment, stopping machines and processes and isolating power supplies.
- How to report incidents including 'near miss' events and false alarms.
Fire safety training should start with induction training on the first day and continue in the form of regular refresher training. It's important to keep knowledge up to date and front of mind, too. At least once a year provide refresher fire safety training sessions to make sure that they remain familiar with the fire safety arrangements for the workplace and are reminded of the action to be taken if there is a fire.
Training should be more frequent if:
- You have a high turnover of staff
- Your people are responsible for the safety of hotel guests, vulnerable residents or patients
- There is a high risk of fire.
What about responsible team members?
Any members of staff who have particular responsibilities in respect of fire safety – that's supervisory or specialist roles listed below – should receive detailed instruction in their own duties and refresher training every 6 months.
Who needs more regular training?
- Department heads
- Fire marshals or fire wardens
- Firefighting teams in large workplaces
- Floor supervisors
- Central control room staff
- Security staff (including night security patrols)
- Kitchen staff
- Engineering and maintenance staff
- Caring staff
- Hotel staff