fireproof filing cabinets

Are you doing everything you can to stay compliant with fire safety regulations?

Sometimes it can be hard to get to grips with pieces of legislation that affect your business. One such area is the fire safety legislation in the UK, which is notably difficult to get your head around. Here, we’ll break down the current requirements for UK based businesses, so you can easily understand what your responsibilities are.

What is the legislation?

All legislation in England and Wales is part of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. All commercial premises fall under this regulation, so if you’re a trading business of any shape or form, this is what you need to adhere to. The following elements are the parts of this order which should be ticked off by your business:

·      Risk assessment

All businesses should have a fire risk assessment, which should not be a static document. You should risk assess your premises around once a year, in case anything has changed that could increase the fire risk in that year. If you employ more than 5 people, you should document this for checking. The outcome of the risk assessment should include purchasing anything you need, such as fireproof filing cabinets, extinguishers or signage.

·      Fire extinguishers

Your business must have appropriate firefighting equipment. This means you should have the right number and type of extinguishers, fire blankets if you have a canteen, and maybe even sprinklers and hose reels if you are classed as a higher risk business. All equipment should undergo an annual check to ensure it is operational and safe.

·      Signage

There are a number of signs you need in your premises, including:

  • Fire notices: Telling people what to do in the event of a fire
  • Extinguisher signs: Explaining the type and location of the extinguisher
  • Exit signs: Highlighting fire exits
  • Call point signs: Identifying activation points for fire alarm
  • Warning signs: Informing of danger in the vicinity


·      Alarm systems

Larger businesses should always have an alarm system to use in the event of the fire. This should be either manual, such as a ‘break the glass’ system, or automatic, with sensors in strategic locations. Everyone needs to be able to hear the alarm easily, and should know what to do and where to go in the event of an alarm. They should not stop to collect important items; in fact, any irreplaceable items should be kept in fireproof filing cabinets.

·      Emergency lighting

Your building should be fitted with lighting that will operate even if the power is cut out. Specifically, there should be lighting on the fire escape route, so people can find their way out, and lighting to stop panic in communal areas and around sensitive equipment. Check them monthly and have them serviced annually.

·      Training

Everyone who regularly works in the building should know what to do if a fire breaks out. This means you need to operate regular drills, and show new employees what their action should be in the event of an emergency. You should have a fire marshal or warden appointed who will take charge of assisting with evacuation, using fire extinguishers and contacting the emergency services. Ideally these people will be trained by professionals.

Fire safety doesn’t have to be complicated; in fact, most of it is common sense. More information is available from the Government website here, and if you need additional items such as fireproof filing cabinets or signage, talk to Office Furniture Online and we’ll be happy to help.

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Last Modified / Updated on: May 21, 2018 at 10:40 am

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Random Glossary term

  • Millwork

    Millwork refers to custom feature fabricated off-site in workshops; this may apply to built in counters, shelving, cabinets, wall or ceiling panelling, mouldings, etc.

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