Fire Safety Regulations: Do You Know Your Responsibilities?
There are lots of fire risks in a salon, such as hairdryers and flammable chemicals. So fire safety needs to be a primary concern, even for hairdressers. But do you know what you must be doing about it?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 exists to ensure the safety of everyone. And it applies to all business premises.
That means your salon needs to have in place procedures and equipment which will safeguard its longevity, as well as your customers and workers. And this duty falls to the owner, occupier or employer as the ‘responsible person’.
As a business owner, you may choose to delegate this to the most competent person, but the ultimate responsibility still lies with you.
So now is the perfect time to make certain that everything is being done, because you don’t want to wait until it’s too late.
It’s important that in your business, you:
– carry out fire risk assessments which identify potential dangers and risks;
– consider who the relevant people are who have the greatest risk;
– remove or reduce the risk of a fire as much as possible and provide general fire precautions;
– ensure fire safety equipment is operational and maintained, and provide appropriate training;
– prepare an emergency plan and advise everyone of their duties;
– keep a record of any findings, and review risks regularly.
A Fire Risk Assessment
One of the most important things which needs to be completed in every business is a fire risk assessment. It’s the best way of discovering the hazards which exist. That way, you can put in place relevant methods of fire prevention and fire protection.
These are combustible materials which may become the source of a fire. Perhaps it’s a stack of cardboard boxes or the bins which are full of rubbish. This may also include the array of chemicals and sprays you have, as some of them are highly flammable.
You should also consider all the possible sources of ignition. A naked flame, electrical equipment, and heaters are all common ways for a fire to start. Handheld and freestanding hairdryers can get very hot, so you should be careful with such items, and be wary of where you put straighteners and curling tongs after use.
And if you’re drying your own towels, tumble dryers are a possible fire risk, so make sure you have registered your appliances so you can be contacted if the manufacturer ever recalls them for safety reasons.
All of your electrical equipment will also need inspecting annually. PAT testing ensures that they’re working safely, and proves you’re fulfilling your obligations.
Then you must consider all the people who could find themselves affected by an emergency at your premises. This includes employees, visitors, contractors and members of the public.
With all the information, you can then look objectively at what you can do to reduce or remove those risks as much as possible. You can also ensure that you are providing the correct fire extinguishing equipment to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Have A Plan
It’s good to always have a plan. But it’s essential to have an emergency plan when such a situation presents itself, one which everyone is aware of.
It needs to state where everyone should assemble, the location of fire exit doors and the safe routes from which everyone can get to them. It should also say who calls and liaises with the fire services when they arrive and also identify the fire wardens.
Fire wardens are regular members of staff who are ready to jump into action. They need to receive the appropriate training. It’s then their role to hold fire drills to test procedures, make everyone familiar with them, and to keep people calm in an emergency.
The Right Tools For The Job
When something needs doing properly, it helps to have the right equipment. And that’s the same when it comes to extinguishing a fire.
So in a salon, you’re likely to need CO2 extinguishers to safely extinguish fires involving electrical items without the risk of electrocution. And a foam extinguisher may also be a good choice as it is suitable for fires involving cloth, paper, rubbish, flammable liquids and flammable gases.
To give people the best chance of success, you should give all staff basic training in how to use the equipment you provide.
Ensure that extinguishers are partnered with the correct safety sign which will give important information about the use of the extinguisher.
Additionally, you need signs which will direct people to emergency exits safely, and having smoke alarms installed is vital for early detection and warning.
Being alerted to a fire early on can save lives and could reduce the amount of damage it causes if dealt with quickly.
Once a fire risk assessment has been completed, it then needs to be kept up-to-date. That means changing it whenever there has been an alteration to the premises. This may be a new layout or changing how a certain area is used.
Many people, including fire services, suggest that it is reviewed annually just to ensure it’s current.
The overall responsibility always falls to the responsible person, who is generally the business owner. But you should appoint a competent person who can assist with fire duties and the risk assessment.
For peace of mind, you may instead choose to hire a professional risk assessor to perform a fire risk assessment for your salon. That way, you’ll have confidence that what needs doing is being done.
To find out more information about fire risk assessments and fire safety equipment, visit www.fireprotectiononline.co.uk.