By John Lynch, general manager of Wormald’s Business Support Services
If you’re a facility or business manager workplace health and safety will be an ongoing concern. But as planning starts for the year ahead, now is a good time to assess the safety procedures and systems in your workplace and consider if and how they can be improved.
Fire protection is an essential element of building safety and requires careful consideration. To ensure the safety of building occupants, it is vital that an adequate fire protection solution is in place and that clear evacuation procedures are drafted and displayed.
It’s also important that business managers keep up to date on any relevant regulations and standards. This will ensure that you are compliant and your premises have the highest level of protection against fire. For example, if you work in a nursing home or aged care facility, you should be aware that on 1 January 2013, new legislation came into effect mandating all existing nursing home or aged care facilities in New South Wales that do not have automatic fire sprinkler systems installed to have them fitted.
Our technicians find that businesses often make simple mistakes which can affect their level of fire protection. These include not having the correct fire protection solution, inadequate emergency signage or misplacing portable fire protection equipment. Carrying out a thorough assessment of the premises will help identify potential fire hazards and assist in determining the fire protection solution required – whether it is a basic fire extinguisher or fire hose reel, a passive fire solution or a more advanced fire detection and suppression system.
Here’s a quick fire safety checklist to help ensure your business is adequately prepared:
- Assess the potential fire hazards around your business and identify the fire protection products you require.
- Research the range of products available and make sure you select those that carry the correct approvals. You may want to contact a fire protection provider to help ensure you’re adequately protected.
- Be aware of relevant legislation and standards and keep up to date on any changes. For example new State legislation, the Building Code of Australia, Australian standards and local governments may stipulate requirements that you must adhere to.
- Ensure all employees are trained on how to use portable fire protection equipment and systems and know your evacuation procedures.
- Have your equipment regularly inspected and maintained in accordance with applicable standards and regulations.