The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety Management – Part 22

March 30, 2020 12:48 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at those activities of a company which can be classed as fire safety management. In part 21, LWF looked at the areas of greatest risk in fire safety management. In part 22, will discuss those tasks that fall within the remit of the fire safety manager which can be categorised as ‘good housekeeping’.

The activities of a company which are classed as housekeeping are those which, if not completed regularly and efficiently, can cause an increased risk of fire.

It is important that staff are aware of the particular risks of any hazardous substances and practices that may be encountered, particularly in factories and warehouses. It may be that a temporary or additional risk is introduced and where appropriate, advice as to how they should be protected should be obtained from the appropriate authority.

Some of the general ideologies of effective housekeeping are:

Combustible materials should be kept separate from potential ignition sources.
Flammable materials, liquids, paints, polishes etc. should be stored in appropriate containers.
Potential hazards should be recognised, acknowledged and mitigated wherever possible.
Proper waste control management must be practised, where a build-up of rubbish is possible, so is the seat of a fire.
Standards of cleaning must be maintained throughout, but especially in relation to dust on machinery and inside extract ducts etc. Kitchen areas should be subject to a rigorous cleaning and maintenance schedule.
Waste should not be allowed to accumulate outside the building, especially when it is stacked against outside walls. All waste should be cleared regularly and appropriately.
‘Dark areas’ such as cinemas and dark rooms must be checked regularly.
Checks as appropriate on the premises during closed hours.

While it is accepted that the fire safety manager in the majority of organisations will not be undertaking these tasks personally and that the regular jobs will be delegated to other members of staff, the manager should have a schedule of checks to ensure all regular tasks are completed to a good standard. This should include tasks such as the cleaning of kitchen grease extract systems (canopies, filters, fans, ductwork and risers) of fat build-up which can be especially dangerous given the potential for fires in kitchens. The cleaning should be undertaken in accordance with fire safety regulations to control the risk of fire and fire spread.

A lack of good housekeeping has been known to invalidate insurance, so keeping on top of areas of risk is essential to safety and finances.
In part 23, LWF will look at the fire safety manager’s responsibilities in terms of training and education and security. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact the LWF office on 0800 410 1130.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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