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Fire Safety Regulations Guide
Remove or Reduce Fire Hazards
Having identified the fire hazards in Step 1, you now need to remove those hazards if reasonably practicable to do so. If you cannot remove the hazards, you need to take reasonable steps to reduce them if you can. This is an essential part of fire risk assessment and as a priority this must take place before any other actions.
Ensure that any actions you take to remove or reduce fire hazards or risk are not substituted by other hazards or risks. For example, if you replace a flammable substance with a toxic or corrosive one, you must consider whether this might cause harm to people in other ways.
Remove or reduce sources of ignition
There are various ways that you can reduce the risk caused by potential sources of ignition, for example:
- Wherever possible replace a potential source by a safer alternative.
- Operate a safe smoking policy in designated smoking areas and prohibit smoking elsewhere.
- Replace naked flame and radiant heaters with fixed convector heaters or a central heating system. Restrict the movement of and guard portable heating appliances.
- Separate ignition hazards and combustibles, e.g. ensure sufficient clear space between lights and combustibles, build fire-resistant enclosures for hot processes, incinerate rubbish off site.
- Inspect and monitor ignition hazards so that preventative corrective actions can be undertaken, e.g. sample temperature on ducts and in oil baths, inspect for hot spots in electrical systems and mechanical systems.
- Ensure electrical, mechanical and gas equipment is installed, used, maintained and protected in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
- Strictly control hot processes/hot work by operating permit to work schemes.
- Check all areas where hot work (e.g. welding) has been carried out to ensure that no ignition has taken place and no smouldering or hot materials remain that may cause a fire.
- Ensure that no one carrying out work on gas fittings which involves exposing pipes that contain or have contained flammable gas uses any source of ignition such as blow-lamps or hot-air guns.
- Ensure that no one uses any source of ignition while searching for an escape of gas.
- Take precautions to avoid arson.
Remove or reduce sources of fuel
There are various ways that you can reduce the risks caused by materials and substances which burn, for example:
- Reduce stocks of flammable materials, liquids and gases in open areas to a minimum. Keep remaining stock in dedicated storerooms or storage areas, preferably outside, where only the appropriate staff are allowed to go, and keep the minimum required for the operation of the business.
- Do not keep flammable solids, liquids and gases together.
- Keep areas containing flammable gases ventilated, e.g. fork lift truck charging units.
- Ensure flammable materials, liquids and gases, are kept to a minimum, and are stored properly with adequate separation distances between them.
- Ensure adequate aisle is maintained separation between stacks of stored goods.
- Separate fuel into fire-resistant enclosures, e.g. store raw materials and finished goods separately.
- Use non-combustible building materials for building modifications.
- Remove, or treat large areas of highly combustible wall and ceiling linings, e.g. polystyrene or carpet tiles, to reduce the rate of flame spread across the surface.
- Develop a formal system for the control of combustible waste by ensuring that waste materials and rubbish are not allowed to build up and are carefully stored until properly disposed of, particularly at the end of the day.
- Take action to avoid any parts of the premises, and in particular storage areas, being vulnerable to arson or vandalism.
- Check all areas where hot work (e.g. welding) has been carried out to ensure that no ignition has taken place and no smouldering or hot materials remain that may cause a fire later.
The fuel hazard can also be reduced by the installation of automatic sprinkler systems or other suppression/extinguishing systems, The provision of such systems may have been a requirement of a local act or engineered solution and must be maintained.
Remove or Reduce Sources of Oxygen
You can reduce the potential source of oxygen supplied to a fire by:
- closing all doors, windows and other openings not required for ventilation, particularly out of working hours;
- shutting down ventilation systems which are not essential to the function of the premises;
- not storing oxidising materials near or within any heat source or flammable materials; and
- controlling the use and storage of oxygen cylinders, ensuring that they are not leaking, are not used to 'sweeten' the atmosphere, and that where they are located is adequately ventilated.