Fires in the workplace occur in the UK and can devastate a business. All businesses must take fire safety seriously to prevent unnecessary damages, injuries, and fatalities.
A fire marshal plays a vital role in ensuring a business's and its employees' safety. With their specialised knowledge and training, they can recognise potential fire hazards and implement preventive and protective measures. From conducting regular fire drills to inspecting fire extinguishers, their presence can significantly reduce the risk of fires. So, if you want to protect your business from the consequences of a fire emergency, consider the need for a fire marshal.
Nominating a competent person to be a fire marshal is a crucial fire safety measure, and it helps businesses meet the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.
In this article, we will look at how to calculate the number of fire marshals a business requires and the factors that influence this.
A fire marshal, also known as a fire warden, is an appointed person in an organisation. A fire marshal has several responsibilities. The main one is to assist with fire evacuations and safety procedures to ensure they are carried out safely.
The other duties of a fire warden involve raising the alarm in the event of a fire, calling the emergency services, guiding people towards the designated assembly points, and taking a roll call.
The role of a fire warden also includes checking fire safety measures and emergency procedures. These measures include emergency exits, fire doors, fire alarms, fire safety signs, emergency lighting, arranging for electrical equipment to be PAT tested, checking fire extinguishers to ensure they are in working order, and assisting with fire drills.
If you would like more information on the role and responsibilities of a fire marshal, you can click here to see our dedicated article on the topic.
The first thing to consider when calculating how many fire marshals a business requires is the level of risk that a workplace poses. This should already have been determined as part of the fire risk assessment process.
There are three levels of fire risk: low, medium, and high.
Notably, only a few workplaces, such as small shops and offices, will likely fall under this category.
Most workplaces will fall into this category.
The workplaces under this category typically deal with fire and flammable materials (such as restaurants) or those that house vulnerable people (such as hospitals and care homes).
Alongside the level of risk that a workplace poses, several additional factors should be considered when determining the number of fire marshals a business requires. Think about the size of the premises and the number of staff. Factors include:
Let's look at an example workplace to explore how to calculate the number of fire wardens or marshals. A business requires a small office over two floors. This office employs 40 people, one of whom is hard of hearing.
The level of risk in this workplace is medium.
This is because there are highly flammable materials such as cardboard boxes and paper documentation, but there are very few sources of heat that could ignite a fire, as there is only a small staff kitchen on the ground floor. The office also has a large amount of open space, making searches and safe evacuations easier, and a clear emergency evacuation plan.
In this example, the office should appoint at least five fire marshals:
The specific number of fire marshals that a workplace requires will vary depending on a range of factors, including, but not limited to, those discussed in this article. For complex workplaces or those in which there is any doubt about the number of fire marshals required, we recommend you contact the local fire and rescue service for further advice.
Commodious offers two fire safety awareness training courses: one designed for all staff and the other is a specialised fire warden training. These courses are a great way of ensuring that a workforce is adequately trained in fire safety and understands how to act in the event of an emergency. For more information on these courses, use the links below: