How to keep your workplace safe
Disaster can strike when you least expect it. And when it does, it can happen so quickly. Everything that you have worked so hard for is suddenly gone, and all you can do is pick up the pieces of whatever is left.
Fire does not choose its victims. Whether you own a small business or are responsible for a multinational PLC, a fire will raze to the ground everything in its path that you have invested your time and money on, and can put the lives of your employees at risk. That’s why it is crucial to have a plan in place in case of fires or other emergencies. A plan can help you and your employees react and respond appropriately.
No law in Australia forces businesses to have an appointed fire warden, but of course, this does not mean that you should not have one. Best practice and conscience dictate that every business in Australia, and indeed around the world, must have at least one appointed fire warden present throughout business hours.
Failure to appoint a fire warden can put your employees’ lives at risk. Your business would possibly also be held liable, and you may also encounter issues with your insurance claims.
Work health and safety regulations
Section 43 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations state that every person conducting a business must follow the below steps and failure to comply can result in fines that range from $6,000 for an individual and $30,000 for a corporate body:
1. Prepare, maintain, and implement an emergency plan and provide the following:
- Emergency procedures, including effective emergency response
- Evacuation procedure
- Notifying emergency services
- Medical treatment and assistance
- Effective communication between the warden and all staff on site.
- Testing of emergency procedures
- Information, training, and instruction to relevant workers about implementation of emergency procedures.
2. Maintain an effective emergency plan for the workplace.
3. Must make sure to be aware of the following:
- The nature of work being carried out on site
- The nature of present workplace hazards
- The size and location of the workplace
- The number of workers and other persons present in the workplace
4. Implement the emergency plan in the event of an emergency.
What is a fire warden?
A fire warden is a member of your workforce that is given the responsibilities that relate to fire emergency procedures as well as fire prevention plans. Here are the roles and responsibilities of a fire warden:
- Thoroughly assess the fire risks present in the workplace
- Formulate detailed and thorough emergency plans
- Schedule fire drills
- Manage inspection check reports
- Perform risk assessments
- Perform routine testing of fire detection and suppression equipment
- Equipment testing
- Ensuring fire exits are free from obstructions
- Ensuring that routes to fire exits are passable at all times
- Formulate hazard prevention practices in the workplace
In the event of a fire, a fire warden has the following responsibilities:
- Sound and raise the alarms
- Notify emergency services
- Deploy the first response firefighting equipment such as extinguishers
- Communicate and inform staff
- Assist with the evacuation of employees with special needs
- Check the premises
- Administer first aid
- A roll call of employees at the assembly point
- Communicate with the emergency response on the status
- Inform everyone when it is safe to enter the workplace
- Incident report
Having a fire warden can help make the fire emergency response organised with a single point person for every concern and communication.
Why you should designate a fire warden
You may think that designating a fire warden may just be a waste of your resources. However, fire emergencies are serious disasters that you should not take lightly. Being ready for these events can help reduce the risks for you and your employees. That being said, here are the reasons why hiring a fire warden is will benefit you:
1. Having a fire warden can support your insurance claim.
Fire is one of the major risks that your commercial property insurance will cover. However, you must ensure that you are doing an adequate fire risk assessment on your end. Without a fire warden, your insurance provider will see it as a failure and negligence on your end to reduce and manage your risks. This can create delays in the processing of insurance claims and can even invalidate them, leaving you with potentially serious financial problems.
2. Someone will constantly monitor the safety of your workplace.
A fire warden is tasked to ensure that the workplace is safe from fire risks and hazards. No matter how careful you and your employees are, fire can happen anytime. By having a trained fire warden, you can have the peace of mind that somebody is checking the possible sources of fire in the workplace all the time.
3. Someone will ensure the workplace’s preparedness.
A trained fire warden will ensure that your fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, fire detectors, and fire alarms are all in good condition. What good are these pieces of equipment if they don’t work properly during a fire emergency?
The fire warden will also ensure that there are sufficient fire exits on the premises. He or she will also organise fire drill activities that will orient your employees and show them what to do in case of a fire.
4. You have a main person who will take charge in case of an emergency.
A fire emergency can result in chaos without someone managing the situation and people can become confused and disoriented without someone to guide them. A trained fire warden will react quickly and accordingly and take charge of the evacuation to ensure everyone’s safety.
Train your appointed fire warden with the best
Your fire warden has so much on his shoulders. With the responsibilities that he has to bear, it is only right to equip your fire warden with the best safety training in Australia. Adair Evacuation Consultants offer training on emergency response, evacuation, evacuation equipment, and warden training.
All you need to do to ensure the emergency readiness of your premises is contact Adair Evacuation Consultants and let us help you keep your workplace a safe place for all.