Although your business premises may be sat vacant during the Coronavirus pandemic it is still compulsory to ensure that you meet the laws necessary to protect your staff and business.
There are steps you can take as the responsible person to ensure that all risk from fire is identified and suitable measures are implemented.
- ‘Report in your fire Safety Risk assessment- If you have made significant changes to your business to help control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) it is vital that these are identified and recorded in your Fire Safety Risk Assessment.
- Staff training- It is the law to ensure that all staff are made aware of fire exits and meet up points for the event of a fire.
- Fire alarm systems- Ensure that all of your fire alarms are working regularly.
- One-way systems and the Fire Safety impact- It is common that in order to meet social distancing, your customers and staff are expected to adhere to a one way system, to ensure that the flow of people within your premises and therefore risk of contracting coronavirus is under control, however these changes can make significant impacts to Fire Safety. It is essential that anyone entering your premises will have a means to escape. This needs to be evaluated and recorded in your Fire Risk assessment. If you have any doubt, seek further advice from a competent person.
For businesses that have closed, owners can reduce the risk of fire by ensuring:
- Entrances and exits are kept clear
- It is vital that your building is secure and all of your usual measure are put into place to prevent arson, this will include ensuring that all of the fencing, gates are closed as well as locked. You need to ensure that your CCTV, security systems and external lighting is in working order to help recognize any signs of anti-social behaviour’s leading to arson. Any flammable substances are removed from the building externally which could result in ignition.
- Rubbish and commercial bins are emptied and stored securely away from any buildings
- Any excessive amounts of stock are not stored in a hazardous manner
- All utilities are isolated where possible – if unable to isolate electricity remove all plugs from sockets.
For a full list please see https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities to check you are compliant and updated with keeping your business safe during coronavirus (COVID-19))