Keeping Your Workplace Safe from Fire

We always think it won’t happen to us. When we see stories of fire on the news, how often do we look around our own homes and workplaces to access our risk?

Imagine the impact of a fire at your workplace – at the very least it will threaten employee safety, and potentially destroy expensive equipment and affect production.

To decrease the risk of fire at your workplace, follow these vital steps:

1. Keep your workspace clean and tidy.

Clutter increases the ‘fire load’ of an area or building, which means there are more items that can catch and fuel fire. Clutter in corridors, stairs and fire exits can prevent the swift evacuation of people, so these should be always kept clear.

2. Store flammable materials safely.

All stock should be safely stored, but particular care should be given to any flammable materials and liquids. These should always be kept in appropriate containers, so read the label for instructions. Never store oily or solvent soaked rags - these should be placed in a covered metal container and disposed of regularly.

3. Keep an eye on electrical equipment.

Electrical equipment is often the cause of workplace fires. Old wires with frayed ends, overloaded plug sockets that overheat, and faulty electrical equipment can quickly become fire hazards. Always report any suspect or faulty equipment.

4. Only smoke in designated areas.

Observe any ‘no smoking’ signs and always dispose of cigarettes in the bins provided.


If you see smoke or fire

Recommended procedure:

1. Remain calm, do not panic or shout, and remember RACE

  • RESCUE: Rescue any people in immediate danger – if it’s safe to do so.
  • ALARM: Raise the alarm – ring the Fire Department; notify your switchboard; notify the staff member in charge
  • CONTAIN: if practicable, close all doors and windows to contain the fire – only if safe to do so.
  • EXTINGUISH: Try to extinguish the fire using appropriate firefighting equipment only if you are trained and it is safe to do so.

2. After carrying out RACE:

  • Follow the instructions of your Fire Warden
  • Prepare to evacuate if necessary
  • Leave the light on
  • Save records if possible