Ensuring your business is compliant with fire legislation is of paramount importance. Industry news is full of businesses facing legal action due to fire safety breaches, and major fires resulting in fatalities only serves to highlight the importance of being fire compliant.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) requires businesses by law to safeguard the safety of people within the property in the event of a fire. Checking your fire safety equipment is properly maintained is just a small but significant part of ensuring compliance. Fire extinguishers should be checked monthly and if your company employs more than 5 people, the details should be recorded in a logbook for inspection by the Fire Services Inspectorate. This is in addition to annual servicing which should be carried out by a qualified engineer. The Responsible Person should also ensure that any corrective issues arising from the monthly checks are actioned and completed.
Is it visible?
You need to check that each extinguisher is correctly located in the designated place with the relevant signage.
Can it be operated easily?
In an emergency you don’t want to be looking for instructions on how to use. Ensure the operating instructions of each extinguisher are clean, legible and facing outwards.
Is is easily accessible?
It’s critical that an extinguisher can be reached in the event of an emergency. Is each extinguisher unobstructed and visible?
Is there any physical damage?
Check each extinguisher has not been operated and is not obviously damaged or has any missing parts. Fire extinguishers can easily be damaged by dropping or simply moving them around. Also check for and corrosion or other age-related damage.
Check the pressure
Ensure the reading of any pressure gauge or indicator fitted to an extinguisher is within operational and safety limits. In most fire extinguishers, the correct pressure will be marked in green on the gauge.
Check the tamper seal and pull pin
Extinguishers come with a tamper seal to verify they have not been interfered with. If the seal is broken then someone may have tried to use the extinguisher. If so, it’s time to replace the extinguisher. The pull pin should be in the handle. If this is missing it’s another clear sign the fire extinguisher has been tampered with or used.
Track the professional inspections
Your fire extinguisher should have a tag or label to record annual inspections. Check the extinguisher service label is not out of date and the annual schedule is being maintained. Following these simple steps every month will help ensure your fire extinguishers are operational in the event of an emergency.