Small business owners urged to conduct fire safety audit

SME Safety Security AuditFire can have disastrous consequences for business with many owners spending years trying to recover which is why it is important for business owners to carry out a fire safety audit of their premises to help protect against the risk of fire.

Wormald recommends that properties are checked annually to ensure that fire safety equipment is maintained and emergency processes in place to help reduce the risk of fire and its physical, emotional and financial impact.”

To conduct a thorough fire safety audit, Wormald Security recommends taking a systematic approach.  Business owners are advised to:

Locate a fire safety checklist from a trustworthy source such as their State police department or local fire service. Wormald also hosts security and fire safety factsheets online.

  1.  Conduct a risk assessment and survey the property for potential hazards. Move through the property from front to back, starting at the entrance, reviewing each space or room. It’s a good idea to contact a fire protection specialist to assist with the property audit.
    • Assess all entries to the premises, including through parking areas and emergency exits, and check they are secure.
    • Common fire hazards include electrical equipment, machinery, office equipment, paper refuse such as boxes and recycling bins, and kitchen appliances. Research conducted by Wormald found that the most common causes of workplace fires are electrical hazards (29 per cent) and machinery (27 per cent).
    • Check electrical equipment is working correctly and organise a professional to repair any faulty or exposed wires
  2. Ensure appropriate measures are taken to reduce the threat of fire:
    • Ensure main entry and exit points are well-lit and free of clutter for easy evacuation
    • Ensure all fire protection equipment is positioned correctly and maintained according to Australian Standards
    • Keep sprinkler heads free from obstructions such a boxes or cartons placed to close the sprinkler heads
    • Equip kitchen areas with a fire blanket and the correct fire extinguisher
  3.  Ensure every member of staff knows what to do in the event of emergency. For example, all occupants should know where fire protection equipment is located and how to use it.

To ensure the correct fire safety and security measures are taken, it’s advisable to contact a security or fire safety specialist. To ensure nothing is overlooked, property audits should be carried out during the day as well as at night. Business owners are also encouraged to consult a specialist to assist with an audit and help ensure the business is compliant with standards and legislation

To access the Wormald small business fire safety checklist click here.