There are three main causes for fires at work. Arson is the top cause – deliberately started fires – and these are the hardest to guard against. The other two main causes – a lack of awareness of hazards and carelessness are much easier to do something about, simply by providing good staff fire safety at work training. Good staff fire awareness training should increase fire awareness and reduce carelessness by increasing understanding of health and safety in the workplace.
Fire training is a legal requirement, although the exact contents of the programme depend on the workplace. The style and contents of the training to be used is up to the owner or person in charge of health and safety; training must be found which is at the correct level for their company type and with content which most suits their company. And there is no rule about how the fire awareness training should be provided.
Fire safety at work training can be completed as an external course attended by staff outside of the workplace; or a trainer can come into a company and run an in-house training session. Another alternative, which is becoming more and more popular, is to complete fire awareness training by computer course. An online or CD-ROM course is a perfect training medium as it means training can be done in-house, at a time which suits the company, and each member of staff can complete the training at different times, so staff are not all tied up in training at the same time.
However the training is provided there are certain elements which will always be present in a good training programme for fire safety at work -
- Fire awareness training – how fires are started, what keeps them going and what makes them spread
- Fire precautions – how to avoid a fire.
- Fire procedures – staff should know the Fire Action Plan, who the Fire Wardens are, what the fire signs mean and what to do when evacuating
- Housekeeping – this will cover keeping fire exit routes clear and keeping flammable and combustible products safe.
- Protection – fire doors, safety checks – smoke alarms, sprinkler systems and extinguishers, regular inspection and testing of electrical equipment
- What to do in the event of a fire – how to raise the alarm, what evacuation steps to take.
- Record keeping – it’s important to keep records of training and provide proof of completion for each member of staff
But health and safety managers are looking for more than content. A programme should be not too long or short, clear and engaging. Staff must be able to easily digest and retain the information, so interactivity is important – and a test – staff are going to pay much more attention if they know they are going to have a test at the end!
Fire safety programmes vary extensively and it is important to find the right provider. If their website includes customer reviews and testimonials, read them and listen to recommendations. Computer-based courses may offer a preview online.
Once fire awareness training has been completed get feedback, look for improvement in working practice and behaviour and make sure training is repeated at regular intervals. Health and safety in the workplace is of fundamental importance so take the time to get the training programme right.
The Interactive Health And Safety Company provide all areas of health and safety training in the workplace. Their Fire Awareness In The Workplace programme can be completed online or on CD-ROM, and is a cost-effective and time-efficient way of ensuring staff stay safe and meet legal requirements.
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