Fire Doors in Business Premises – They Need Them, Do You?
It is widely acknowledged that when it comes to the buildings in which people work and frequent, such as retail outlets or public buildings, the business owner or manager has certain responsibilities to protect themselves, their staff and any visitors as well as passers-by and adjoining buildings.
The majority of the regulations which govern fire safety for business’s and in the workplace are set and governed under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2006.
The regulations apply to any individual who is responsible for premises, is an employer or is self-employed but works from dedicated premises, is responsible for a domestic premises where a specific part of the premises is used for business purposes, runs or manages a charity or voluntary organisation, is a contractor with control (or part-control) of a premises or a person who provides accommodation in return for payment.
The first part of the Act refers to the preparation which any person must make so that in the event of fire they, their premises and their staff and visitors remain safe. Under the legislation the person must do a risk assessment and then implement and maintain a “fire management plan”. There are downloadable guides designed to help business owners with every aspect of this planning and include step by step guides to risk assessments and standard forms and papers which should be completed and kept in the businesses’ fire policy documents.
The law also provides a bare minimum of fire fighting and detecting equipment which must be provided, maintained and tested on a regular basis. Whilst fire and smoke alarms are standard and must simply be put in place other items of fire suppression such as extinguishers are more specific to the materials which are likely to be combustible so an office with electric equipment would undoubtedly require different extinguishers than a kitchen where the oven or deep fat fryer could be problematic; as the different fires are fought with different extinguishers the appropriate one is the one which is provided.
The provision of an adequate fire door is one of the most important and obvious elements of fire safety which an employer or business owner is required to provide and whether it is an external or internal fire door there are still strict regulations which the fire door must adhere to.
The legal aspects and requirements of a fire door must fall inline with British Standard 476 which states the accepted width and material of an adequate fire door. They must be at least 44mm thick, must be in an adequate frame, should be self-closing with a closer which has been manufactured in accordance with BS 6459 and should open in the direction of escape without swinging back.