Escape Routes & Fire Risk Assessments.
As an employer, you have a legal duty to your staff and anyone on your premises to ensure they have adequate means of escape in an emergency, as well as carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment to ensure that you do, so they can reach a place of safety easily.
This basic advice gives you guidelines as to what you can do to meet the legal requirements for any premises. In doing so, you achieve compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The general rule of thumb is that your escape routes should be at least 1 metre wide, clear of any obstructions, and lead to a place of safety outside or away from the building. If there are doors on these routes, they must be able to be opened without the use of a key, so consider other opening mechanisms such as push bars; Security wise, any roller shutters or security grilles should be opened when people are on the premises.
If your premise is relatively small, with a simple layout and normal fire “risk”, so long as there is no possibility of anyone getting cut off from an exit by flames, your normal entrances and exits should be sufficient. Also, if no-one sleeps on the premises, then 18m is the furthest distance anyone should be expected to travel in one direction, any further is fine but you would need more fire safety provision.
If you have a larger premise, or it is on multiple storeys, then things are a little more complicated, in that anyone should be able to turn their back on the fire and move to a place of safety outside the building, therefore more involved escape routing should be present; if there are 2 or more escape routes, then you need to make sure that smoke and flames can’t affect more than one of the routes at the same time.
All premises should have an escape plan, clearly identifying action to be taken in the event of fire, and duties for wardens to assist with. Your employees should be made aware of what to do and where their escape routes are, and how they should be kept clear, usable and where they will lead to. Have an evacuation strategy, and you must consider people with disabilities or less mobility when planning it out.
Spark-Risk are highly qualified and experts in all issues of fire safety planning and provision, as well as Fire Risk Assessment and fire safety training; if you have any queries or would like more information about what you need to do as an employer, we can help, so please don’t hesitate to CONTACT US to speak to one of our friendly & knowledgeable team.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states in article 14 that:
Emergency routes and exits
14.—(1) Where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that routes to emergency exits from premises and the exits themselves are kept clear at all times.
(2) The following requirements must be complied with in respect of premises where necessary (whether due to the features of the premises, the activity carried on there, any hazard present or any other relevant circumstances) in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons—
(a)emergency routes and exits must lead as directly as possible to a place of safety;
(b)in the event of danger, it must be possible for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and as safely as possible;
(c)the number, distribution and dimensions of emergency routes and exits must be adequate having regard to the use, equipment and dimensions of the premises and the maximum number of persons who may be present there at any one time;
(d)emergency doors must open in the direction of escape;
(e)sliding or revolving doors must not be used for exits specifically intended as emergency exits;
(f)emergency doors must not be so locked or fastened that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by any person who may require to use them in an emergency;
(g)emergency routes and exits must be indicated by signs; and
(h)emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting.