Fire Safety(Significance of Identifying Fire Risk in the Workplace)IntroductionBuilding fires are serious security threat. Fires pose the risk to human life, the probable destruction of properties and the damage caused from smoke and corrosive gases (Gustin 2007, p. 202). Fire safety is only one of many safety issues which management must deal with to reduce the risk of injury or death predominantly in the workplace since fire has the potential to harm or kill significant numbers of people very quickly (Odpm 2006, p. 6). To prevent fire and protect the building and its occupants, it is essential to apply security measures such as fire risk assessments.
Fire safety legislation is above all concerned with the preservation of life rather than preventing fires from starting or restraining the potential for fire to spread where life safety is not compromised. However, because the standards required fulfilling fire safety legislation normally involve fire-protected staircases, the dividing of large spaces into fire resisting compartments, the use of non-combustible or fire resisting elements of structure etc. have accompanying benefits to property protection (Dennett 2004, p. 19). Fire Risk AssessmentA fire risk assessment is a planned and systematic look at premises, the activities carried on inside it and the probability that a fire could start and cause injury to those in and around the building.
Determining the possibility of a fire is exceptionally complex because there are many aspects that go into such a calculation, such as the threat agent, whether natural or human, the building location, the building contents, and the service supported by the building (Landoll 2005, p. 293). Generally, fire risk assessment is to recognize the fire hazards, decrease the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as practically predictable, and to give us an idea of what physical fire precautions and management arrangements are essential to guarantee the safety of people in our building if a fire does start (Odpm 2006A, p.8).
Every employee of any institution should be aware of procedures to follow in case of fire. They should know where the fire extinguishers are situated and how to apply them. They should know where the fire blankets are kept and how to use them or heavy towelling to smother clothing fires.
More importantly, they should know the location of emergency exits and be familiar with evacuation routes. Fire spreads swiftly and it is essential for employees to know the fundamentals of what to do and also what not to do if a fire happen so they can respond swiftly and correctly (McCall and Tankersley 2007, p. 103). The best fire risk assessments are site specific. It should identify fire hazards in the workplace. This includes source of ignition, identification of persons at risk from fire, means of escape from the building, fire warning systems, fire-fighting facilities, fire safety procedures, and review of the controls in place and recommendation for enhancement where required (Perry 2003B, p.238).
When it is necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that the premises are, to the degree that it is suitable, equipped with proper fire-fighting equipment and with fire detectors and alarms. However, this does not mean the every workplace must have automatic fire detection equipment as in many workplaces; fires can be detected during working hours by observation and smell.
During the assessment, concern must be given to the likelihood of fires starting in empty areas of other premises and spreading. Even during working hours, fires could build up undetected and if such fire could considerably jeopardize the safety of employees and other pertinent persons then some kind of fire detection equipment must be provided (Bateman 2006, p. 260).