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Business Covid-19 Fire Safety Advice

The National Fire Chiefs Council have produced some fire safety advice for business who are planning to fully or partially re-open. This document answers some of the frequently asked questions with regards to basic fire safety and how the law applies with regard to fire safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

GFRS advise all business to review their fire risk assessment prior to re-opening, as it is highly likely that significant changes to the way you run your business will have needed to have been implemented.
Following the advice set out in this document will aid in ensuring your staff and customers are kept safe from fire.
With a large number of businesses starting to re-open following the Covid-19 lockdown, a number of control measures, including hand sanitiser are being utilised to mitigate the spread of the virus.  A large proportion of hand sanitisers are alcohol based and can pose a fire hazard if exposed to a naked flame or spark.  The following guidance can help to reduce the risk of a fire starting or developing from alcohol based sanitisers:
  • Reduce the risk of fire by substituting with non-alcohol based hand sanitiser.
  • Keep all alcohol based sanitisers away from naked flames and any area that has a risk of a naked flame or a spark such as a designated smoking area.
  • Remind staff that there can be a residue of alcohol on their hands for a short time after application and to avoid being in contact with any naked flame until the sanitiser has fully evaporated.
  • Keep stock levels to a minimum and where there is storage, keep it locked in a location away from naked flames or any risk of sparks.  Ideally the storage area should be cool, ventilated and away from any designated fire exits or protected routes.
  • Ensure COSHH records are kept on the premises for any chemicals, including hand sanitiser.
  • Consideration should be given to the safe disposal of used containers as they may still have residue and therefore remain a fire hazard.  The risk of a deliberate ignition (arson) on external waste storage should also be considered.
It is important to remember that it is a legal requirement under a variety of legislation, including the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Fire Safety Order 2005, to have a up to date risk assessment identifying all hazards, including that of fire, to mitigate harm to your employees and other persons using the premises.  The risk assessment should identify hazards, the risk of such hazards and control measures to mitigate such hazards from causing harm.
For more information on fire risk assessments please view the relevant pages on this website  and for more information on the storage of flammable substances please visit the HSE website on https://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/storageflammliquids.htm

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