There are 423 workplace fires per week in the UK

By Focus on Testing

03 Aug 2023

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In the UK, there are almost 22,000 workplace fires every year. That’s around 423 every week. Don’t let your business be part of that statistic.

“Today feels like an ideal day to watch my pride and joy go up in flames!” said probably…no business owner ever.

But as we’re all aware, life has a funny way of throwing us curveballs every once in a while. 

Indeed – sometimes fiery, flammable, combustible curveballs…

That’s why you, the savvy business owner that you are, have already taken a crucial step in protecting yourself and others from fire hazards in your workplace – by investing in quality fire extinguishers. 

They look the part. They’ve got the right labels. But do they work sufficiently?

Let’s delve into how you can best take care of your fire extinguishers for optimal efficiency, longevity and practicality…

MAINTENANCE OF COMMERCIAL FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

Firstly, fire extinguishers, like any piece of safety equipment, require a certain level of tender loving care to remain effective. But maintaining fire extinguishers is not just a good safety practice; it’s a legal requirement. 

WHAT ARE YOUR LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES?

As per the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – maintaining your fire extinguishers is an essential part of fire safety compliance for businesses of all sizes. To stay on the right side of the law, you must have the right type and number of extinguishers on-site and an up-to-date fire log book.

Keeping an accurate fire log book isn’t just a box to tick for compliance but a tool to aid in the regular maintenance and servicing of your fire extinguishers. But how often should these checks occur, and what exactly do they involve? Let’s take a closer look.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD FIRE EXTINGUISHERS BE CHECKED?

Fire extinguisher checks and services are a critical part of ensuring any building is safe in case of an emergency. But whilst a member of your team can perform some inspections, others will require a qualified technician and professional. 

There are two main types of checks that need to be carried out:

  • Regular visual inspections of fire extinguishers
  • Basic fire extinguisher service 

MONTHLY VISUAL INSPECTIONS

What types of extinguishers are these for?

All types of extinguishers should undergo monthly visual checks. This includes water, foam, dry powder, wet chemical, and CO2 extinguishers.

How often should fire extinguishers be checked?

You should carry out and log a visual inspection of your extinguishers once a month.

Who should carry these out? 

Any ‘responsible person’ within your workplace can carry these visual inspections out. This could be you or a designated member of your team. 

What is involved in the visual checks?

During the monthly visual inspections, you will need to ensure that the extinguishers are in good working order. This will involve checking the head cap pin, pressure gauge and seal to make sure they haven’t been tampered with. You should also check that the extinguisher is not blocked or obscured from visibility. 

FIRE EXTINGUISHER SERVICING

What types of extinguishers are these for?

Annual fire extinguisher services are applicable to all types of fire extinguishers, including water, foam, dry powder, wet chemical, and CO2 extinguishers.

How often should these be carried out? 

You should carry out fire extinguisher services once a year, as per the BS 5036-6 regulations

Who should carry these out? 

A qualified professional must carry out annual fire extinguisher services. That’s where the team here at Focus On Testing can help. 

What is involved in the annual services?

During our yearly fire extinguisher services, we thoroughly inspect each extinguisher and replace any damaged or expired parts like pressure gauges or safety pins. We also recharge any extinguisher that’s been discharged or lost pressure to guarantee its readiness for emergencies.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER TIMES THAT YOUR EXTINGUISHERS SHOULD BE CHECKED?

Yes. It should go without saying, but if you’ve recently used your fire extinguisher, it needs to be checked, refilled, or replaced immediately after. Additionally, if you suspect a problem with an extinguisher, it should be inspected immediately – irrespective of when you last checked it. 

WHY ARE REGULAR FIRE EXTINGUISHER SERVICES AND CHECKS IMPORTANT?

Above all, fire extinguishers, much like other equipment, are susceptible to wear and tear, blockages, and sometimes damage. Regular maintenance ensures these issues are identified early and rectified, keeping your equipment ready for any emergency.

Safety

If you maintain fire extinguishers properly, they can help prevent minor incidents from becoming major fires, potentially saving lives and your property

Legal compliance

In the UK, regular checks and extinguisher maintenance are required by law. Non-compliance can and does result in severe penalties and legal consequences.

Insurance requirements

Insurance providers often set regular fire equipment maintenance as a condition of their policies.

Employee confidence

Finally, regular health and safety maintenance shows employees that their safety is a priority, promoting a secure working environment and often boosting team morale. 

FOR FIRE EXTINGUISHER CHECKS AND SERVICES, CHOOSE FOCUS ON TESTING

Finally, for fire safety services that you can depend upon – get in touch with the team here at Focus On Testing on 0330 088 4597.

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