While fire safety is a communal responsibility in the workplace, fire wardens have specific duties to carry out both in their day-to-day role, and in the case of a fire.
They are appointed by responsible persons in the business to assist them in meeting their legal fire safety obligations.
Keep reading to learn more:
Is it a legal requirement to have fire wardens?
Every organisation must have a responsible person or delegate authority to a competent person, which, in practice, usually means appointing fire wardens or fire marshals.
The law observes a responsibility to keep people safe. It places the responsibility on individuals within an organisation to carry out risk assessments to identify, manage and reduce the risk of fire.
Under the section ‘Fire Safety in the Workplace’, the www.gov.uk website states:
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the main piece of legislation covering fire safety in buildings in England and Wales. Under this legislation, you’re responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:
- an employer
- the owner
- the landlord
- an occupier
- anyone else with control of the premises, for example a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent or risk assessor
The number of fire wardens required will depend on the size, use and occupancy of the premises and the risks associated with a particular site or location.
For low-risk properties 1 warden for every 50 people is usually considered sufficient: for medium and high-risk sites, 1 warden to 20 and 15 people, respectively, is required.
When deciding on how many competent people may be required for a particular organisation or site, consideration should also be given to the general availability of those personnel, accounting for holiday, shift patterns, hybrid working and other variables which may affect the stated ratios at a particular time.
What are the duties of a fire warden?
Fire Wardens acts under the delegated authority of the responsible person: The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that:
As the responsible person, you must:
- carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly.
- tell staff or their representatives about the risks you’ve identified.
- put in place and maintain appropriate fire safety measures.
- plan for an emergency.
- provide staff information, fire safety instruction and training.
In the event of an emergency, it is also likely they will be responsible for the timely evacuation of the building in a safe and controlled manner.
What qualifications do you need to be a fire warden?
A competent person is defined by the HSE as having ‘sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly.’
Whilst they also state that ‘the level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the situation’, in this instance, a thorough understanding of the principles of fire safety would be the basis of competency, usually attainable through a fire warden or fire marshal course from a reputable provider.
A one-day training course is usually sufficient to ensure a person is properly prepared.
Typically, the course contents should include the basics principles of fire; an overview of the fire classification system; an introduction to legislative requirements; how to identify common workplace fire hazards and mitigate them; emergency evacuation procedures; also, how to use safety equipment such as fire blankets and extinguishers, etc. It is also recommended this be reviewed and updated annually.
How can WA Management help?
WA Management offer both in-person and online training solutions for your nominated fire wardens: our Fire Warden online training course can be accessed online via desktop or tablet to be completed at the learner’s convenience. We also provide in-person Fire Warden training as part of our bespoke Health and Safety training packages.
Fire Safety and Fire Wardens training courses are essential tools in protecting your workers from the risk of fire. Make sure you don’t miss out on our 10% off deal on these courses, available until the end of November. Simply enter the code ‘fire10’ at checkout to save!
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