Fires can occur in any workplace that poses a serious risk to businesses and organizations, both resulting in loss of life, injury and property damage.
The blaze caused about 22,200 fires and 17 fatalities, according to a survey. Of these, about 5,000 have been intentionally set on fire and the rest have been recognized as accidental.
Such unintentional fires can be prevented if those responsible for fire safety, such as the work of fire wardens at work, have appropriate procedures and measures in place to reduce the risk of fire.
This blog post will outline the essential role and responsibilities of a fire warden in the workplace to avoid the risk of fire and to ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace.
In addition, it explores current legislation that highlights employers’ responsibility to have a responsible person in charge of fire safety in the workplace.
What is a fire warden?
A fire warden or marshal is a qualified person who is assigned to take action on fire risk and hazard prevention in the workplace.
According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005, there is a legal requirement for the responsible person (person responsible for fire safety) to appoint one or more qualified persons to assist in the implementation of control measures to mitigate fire risk.
Role and responsibilities of fire wardens
The role and responsibilities of the fire warden will vary depending on the work environment, nature and the size of the premises. However, the overall responsibility remains the same. Here are some of them:
Checking the fire alarm
The first and foremost responsibility of a fire warden is to inspect fire alarms to ensure that they are in good working order and clear visibility.
Checking for emergencies
Ensuring an emergency exit is unobstructed and can be easily opened in an emergency.
Fire extinguishers are regularly maintained as well as ensuring availability and visibility.
Emergency lighting is checked to see if it is effective and is checked regularly every month so that it is in good working order.
Adequate fire safety signs
Ensure clear visibility of appropriate fire safety signposts and ensure that they are firmly fixed to the wall
General housekeeping practice
Ensure implementation of common household practices such as heat sources kept separate from fuel sources. Hazardous, combustible and combustible substances are kept safe and stored.
Ensure all electrical equipment is PAT testing and should not be defective. Since faulty devices can cause fires in the workplace.
Ensure that all fire safety activities are regularly recorded, identify any hazards and implement the necessary control measures to eliminate those risks. This ensures compliance as well as the completeness of security procedures.
Ensure adequate fire safety training of personnel. This should be part of the inclusion training for new employees and should be refreshed every year for all employees to ensure compliance with the law and safety in the workplace.
Legal requirements to have a fire warden
UK law requires every business or organization to hire a fire warden. The number of fire wardens in an organization depends on various factors. However firefighters are advised to cover a large or complex floor.
Other factors may vary depending on the size of the premises, the number of workers employed and the type of business.
However, employers need to consider a few key factors when hiring firefighters in their workplace:
- If a person is at high risk, you need to increase the number of fire wardens on the premises
- When a fire warden is on leave, the alternate warden must be present in his place
- Firefighters need to be on site when people are present at work
Fire Warden Training
When considering the role and responsibilities of fire wardens. It is a legal requirement for employers to provide adequate instruction, guidance and fire warden training to their employees.
Such a training course helps organizations and their individuals to implement procedures and practices to ensure compliance with the law as well as a safe work environment.
Workplace fire hazards can result in loss of business, loss of life and property. Failure to follow proper procedures and practices can lead to legal and ethical claims by companies.
Fire wardens play an important role in controlling and reducing the risk of such fires and this post explains their key roles and responsibilities in ensuring a safe working environment.