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Industry Fire Safety Checklist

Listed below are checklists to assist employers in carrying out a fire risk assessment to determine and maintain necessary fire precautions on their premises. If you need any further advice please don’t hesitate to contact us.

checking smoke alarm

Identifying Sources of Ignition

  • Arson
  • Smokers materials/naked flames
  • Electrical, gas or oil fired heaters, fixed or portable
  • Hot processes such as welding, grinding work or cooking
  • Engines or boilers
  • Machinery
  • Faulty or misused electrical equipment
  • Lighting equipment such as halogen lamps
  • Hot surfaces and obstruction of equipment ventilation
  • Friction from drive belts etc
  • Static electricity
  • Metal impact such as metal tools striking each other

Identifying sources of fuel

  • Flammable liquid based products such as paints varnish thinners and adhesives.
  • Flammable liquids and solvents such as petrol, white spirit, methylated spirit and paraffin.
  • Flammable chemicals
  • Wood
  • Paper and card
  • Plastics, rubber and foam such as polystyrene and polyurethane, e.g. the foam used in upholstered furniture.
  • Flammable gases such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and acetylene.
  • Furniture, including fixtures and fittings
  • Textiles
  • Loose packaging material
  • Waste materials, in particular finely divided materials such as wood shavings, off-cuts, dust, paper and textiles.
  • Hardboard, chipboard, blockboard walls or ceilings
  • Synthetic ceiling or wall coverings, such as polystyrene tiles.

Identifying sources of Oxygen

  • Natural airflow through doors, windows and other openings
  • Mechanical air conditioning systems and air handling systems
  • Some chemicals (oxidising materials), that can provide a fire with additional oxygen and so, assist it to burn. These chemicals should be identified on their container by the manufacturer or supplier who can advise as to their safe use and storage.
  • Oxygen supplies from cylinder storage and piped systems; e.g. oxygen used in welding processes or for healthcare purposes.

Reducing Sources of Ignition

  • Remove unnecessary sources of heat from the workplace or replace them with safer alternatives, ensuring that heat-producing equipment is used in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and is properly maintained.
  • Install machinery and equipment which has been designed to minimise the risk of fire and explosions.
  • Replace naked flame and radiant heaters with fixed convector heaters or a central heating system.
  • Ensure that all electrical fuses and circuit breakers etc are of the correct rating and suitable for the purpose.
  • Ensure that sources of heat do not arise from faulty or overloaded electrical or mechanical equipment such as overheating bearings.
  • Keep ducts and flues clean
  • Where appropriate, operate a permit to work system for maintenance workers and contractors who carry out hot work involving processes such as welding or flame cutting.
  • Operate a safe smoking policy in designated smoking areas and prohibit smoking elsewhere.
  • Enforce the prohibition of matches and lighters and other naked flames in high fire risk areas.
  • Ensure that all equipment that could provide a source of ignition even when not in use is left in a safe condition.
  • Make sure that any smouldering material including smokers material, is properly extinguished before leaving the workplace.
  • Take precautions to avoid the risk of arson.

Minimising the potential for fuel for a fire

  • Remove flammable materials and substances, or reduce them to the minimum required for the operation of the business;
  • Replace materials and substances with less flammable alternatives;
  • Ensure flammable materials, liquids (and vapours) and gases are handled, transported, stored and used properly;
  • Ensure adequate separation distances between flammable materials;
  • Store highly flammable substances in fire-resisting stores and, where necessary, keep a minimum quantity in fire-resisting cabinets in the workroom;
  • Remove, cover or treat large areas of flammable wall and ceiling linings to reduce the rate of flame spread across the surface;
  • Replacing or repairing furniture with damaged upholstery where the foam filling is exposed;
  • Ensure that flammable waste materials and rubbish are not allowed to build up and are carefully stored until properly disposed of;
  • Take action to avoid storage areas being vulnerable to arson or vandalism;
  • Ensure good housekeeping
  • Improve the fire-resistance of the construction of the workplace.

Reducing sources of oxygen

  • Close all doors, windows and other openings not required for ventilation, particularly out of working hours;
  • Shut down ventilation systems which are not essential to the function of the workplace;
  • Store oxidising materials away from heat sources or flammable materials
  • Control the use and storage of oxygen cylinders

Fire detection and warning

  • Can the existing means of detection discover a fire quickly enough to raise an alarm in time for all the occupants to escape to a safe place?
  • Can the means for giving warning be clearly heard and understood throughout the whole premises when initiated from any single point?
  • If the fire detection and warning system is electrically powered, does it have a back-up power supply?
  • Have you told your employees about your fire warning system, will they know how to operate it and respond to it?
  • Are there instructions for your employees on how to operate the fire warning system and what action they should take on hearing a warning?
  • Have you included the fire detection and fire warning arrangements in your emergency plan?

Means of escape

  • How long will it take for all the occupants to escape to a place of safety once a fire has been detected?
  • Is that a reasonable length of time or will it take too long?
  • Are there enough exits and are they in the right place?
  • Are the type and size of exits suitable and sufficient for the number of people likely to need to use them (eg wide enough for wheelchair users)?
  • In the event of fire, could all available exits be affected or will at least one route from any part of the premises remain available?
  • Are all escape routes easily identifiable, free from any obstructions and adequately illuminated?
  • Have you trained your staff in using the means of escape?
  • Are there instructions about the means of escape for your employees?
  • Have you included your means of escape arrangements in your emergency plan?

Means of fighting fire

  • Are the extinguishers suitable for the purpose and of sufficient capacity?
  • Are there sufficient extinguishers sited throughout the workplace?
  • Are the right types of extinguishers located close to the fire hazards and can users gain access to them without exposing themselves to risk?
  • Are the locations of the extinguishers obvious or does their position need indicating?
  • Have the people likely to use the fire extinguishers been given adequate instruction and training?
  • Have you included use of fire-fighting equipment in your emergency plan?

Maintenance and testing of fire precautions

  • Do you regularly check all fire doors and escape routes and associated lighting and signs?
  • Do you regularly check all your fire-fighting equipment?
  • Do you regularly check your fire detection and alarm equipment?
  • Do you regularly check any other equipment provided to help means of escape arrangements in the building?
  • Are there instructions for relevant employees about testing of equipment?
  • Are those who test and maintain the equipment properly trained to do so?

Fire procedures and training

  • Do you have an emergency plan?
  • Does the emergency plan take account of all reasonably foreseeable circumstances?
  • Are your employees familiar with the plan, trained in its use and involved in testing it?
  • Is the emergency plan made available to all who need to be aware of it?
  • Are the procedures to be followed clearly indicated throughout the workplace?
  • Have you considered all the people likely to be present in your workplace and others with whom you may share the building?