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Fire Prevention in the Workplace

iFacts_Newsletter_NOV_2015_Fire Prevention


As an employer, you have a legal duty to ensure the safety of your workplace and the people working there. Here are six fire prevention tips so things don’t get unnecessarily hot in the boardroom.


Hot Tip #1.Do a fire risk assessment

A risk assessment will help you to determine the likelihood of a fire starting in your office. Put simply, it looks at what could potentially cause harm to your employees and whether your existing safety precautions are enough to prevent injury. This allows you to decide whether you have done enough or whether more precautions are necessary.


Hot Tip #2.Information is key

Provide information, instructions and formal training to your employees about fire safety in the office. This means telling them what to do in case of fire in a way that is clear and understandable, especially if your employees include people with disabilities or communication difficulties. Employees require information about escape routes and fire warning systems so ensure that you display numerous fire notices in places where they can be easily seen.


Hot Tip #3. Remove possible fire hazards

Educate your employees about why it’s important to keep their work areas free of waste paper, trash and other flammable items. All heat-producing equipment (such as copiers, coffee machines and computers) should be kept away from things that will burn easily, such as wood, paper, card or flammable liquids and solvents. Dust is a potential fire hazard waiting to happen so ensure that you employ cleaning staff to keep all surfaces clean and tidy.


Hot Tip #4. Stop the sizzle

Conduct an evaluation of all electrical cords and replace them immediately if they are damaged in any way. Remove cords if they are in danger of being stepped on as this will contribute to the deterioration of the protective outside coating. Also, ensure that your circuits are not being overloaded and ask employees to turn off all electrical appliances when they leave each day.


Hot Tip #5. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

Smoking must be designated to outside areas where there are no potentially flammable materials or enclosed spaces. Warn employees of the legal consequences of lighting up in toilets and small cubicles.


Hot Tip #6. Early detection

Installing a fire detection system can be a costly but worthwhile investment if your business is a high fire risk. A detection system ensures that the fire is contained as early as possible and that employees are evacuated if necessary. Install SABS-approved fire extinguishers and educate employees on how to use them during training. Also ensure that equipment is serviced regularly as not even the best equipment will help you if it is not maintained.


The best way to ensure the safety of your staff is through education, information and fire prevention training. Your employees don’t need another reason to get hot under the collar.


Please contact if you would like to have a full fire & safety assessment done at your business premises.  Remember you could be held criminally liable if there is an incident involving your staff.

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