Fire & Emergency Evacuation

Fire is a potential hazard in all workplaces, more of a risk in some than in others.
Further, there may be a number of other reasons why workers may have to
evacuate. Has the employer done everything possible to reduce the risk of a
fire occurring? Is there an emergency evacuation plan in place? The information
provided here includes an Action Plan for reps, and a Fire Safety Assessment Form.

 The Problem

 Legal Standards

 Action Plan for HSRs

The Problem
Fires in the work environment have significant potential to cause losses. These losses may be in the form of:

 Loss of life

 Injury to employees

 Property damage

 Product damage

 Equipment damage

 Loss of information

 Community damage; and

 Environmental damage

Fire causation factors
Many fires can be attributed to malfunctions in electrical equipment through component failure. The following can cause component

 Defective components or manufacture;

 Overworking

 Inappropriate use

 Inadequate ventilation and overheating

 Ageing

 Lack of maintenance or neglect

 Mistreatment or damage

Flammable materials or substances stored or used incorrectly pose a potential fire risk. Poor housekeeping, for example, where waste
material is stored or allowed to accumulate in inappropriate locations, such as exit routes, increases the likelihood of a fire occurring.
Some dusts (such as flour dust, coal dust, even dust from fabrics) have the potential to explode when coming into contact with an ignition

Legal Standards

In May of 2015 it was given regulatory status by the states and territories. Regulations and Australian Standards.Procedure guide  AS MP 24 Use of lifts in emergencies  AS 1841 Maintenance of fire protection equipment  AS 1940 Rules for the storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids  AS 2220 Rules for emergency warning and intercommunication systems for buildings  AS 2441 Installation of fire hose reels  AS 2444 Portable fire extinguishers .1 Hazardous Substances of the OHS Regulations (2007) and (old) Code of Practice 1999.  WorkSafe Guidance Note . other equipment. There are hundreds of Australian Standards on fire and fire control.Under Section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 the employer has a duty to provide and maintain a healthy and safe working environment. This includes providing a safe system of work. unless called up in other regulations . Australian Standards: These are not regulations per se. The following are some specific Standards (some of them are a series of Standards):  AS 3745 Planning for emergencies in facilities  AS 4083 Planning for emergencies . fire resistance and more.Developing a plan for a small organisation  The National Construction Code of Australia. persons who manage or control workplaces must ensure that the workplace and the means of entering and leaving it are safe and without risks to health.2 Security for health care facilities . may be relevant to this hazard in your workplace:  Compliance Code . Under Section 26. or the WorkSafe Topic information page on Dangerous Goods).  The Dangerous Goods Act and Regulations (see the hazard page on the site. supervision. training.however they provide advice which should be complied with. emergency exit signs.Workplace amenities and work environment. in particular the sectionResponding to emergencies.upon registration at the NCC website). (see summary of Duties of Employers ) In addition to the Act. (The Code can now be accessed online free . dimensions of exits and paths of travel to exits.selection and location  AS 1221 Fire hose reels  AS 1603 Automatic fire detection and alarm systems  AS 1851 Portable fire extinguishers (series)  AS 3760 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment .  Part 4. and where appropriate personal protective equipment. This is a national code and applies to all commercial buildings in Australia. the following Acts.Emergency management . The Code calls up a number of Australian Standards and specifies what is required in terms of number of exits required. information.Health care facilities  AS 4485.

A full catalogue of all Australian/New Zealand Standards can be found at the SAI Global website . fire should be dealt with in this way: 1. Review and evaluation of any control strategies. You can download a brief checklist here .you will need to adapt it for your workplace.  Develop specific checklists to enable the process of identification to be carried out.  Check any past incidents. 1 . 2 . This includes Material Safety Data Sheets for all substances used and stored at the workplace. which is Standards Australia's online shopsite. These checklists should be developed either with other OHS reps or the OHS Committee. Please check that these are up to date Advice and assistance on fire prevention and emergency procedures may be sought from the following sources including:  Metropolitan Fire Brigade .  Ensure that all incidents are recorded. Use checklists to identify fire hazards and to check the effectiveness of warning systems and emergency procedures.Control: Elimination/reduction of risk As with other hazards. etc  Discuss the issue of fire hazards with members of your designated work group.  AS 3504 Fire blankets The above list is not exhaustive . Sometimes a combination of control methods should be used. Consider the following: Design . Control: Elimination or reduction of the risk 4.Community Education Department 9665 4464  Fire protection consultants (yellow pages)  Standard Association of Australia 03 9693 3555 Action Plan for Health and Safety Representatives As with all workplace hazards. Identification of the hazard 2.start by trying to eliminate the hazard at the design stage.Assessment of the risk  Check all MSDS to ensure that flammable substances are used and stored correctly. Assessment of the risk 3.Identification of Fire Hazards  Ensure you look for fire hazards as part of your regular workplace inspections.just a sample. properties of building materials.  Ensure that the employer has provided you with all relevant information to identify and assess any hazards. 3 . the preferred order of control should be followed .

Acts. and Australian Standards?  Has the workplace been designed to eliminate or minimise the risk of fire?  Can ignition sources (sparks. Substitution  Can fire resistant furnishings and furniture minimise fire risks?  Can less flammable materials be used in the workplace?  Can the quantities be reduced and/or the form be changed? Engineering  Can inflammable materials and ignition sources be isolated from each other and from workers? Isolation may mean isolation by distance. Regulations.  Has the rep/OHS Committee been given access to all relevant publications such as Codes of Practice. fire windows and shutters be installed to delay the spread of fire?  Can additional storage facilities be installed to reduce the fire risk? .  Can ventilation/exhaust fans etc. prevent the build up of inflammable or explosive gases?  What warning systems can be installed to signal hazardous pre-fire situations or actual outbreaks in the early stages?  Can the workplace layout be changed to facilitate fire fighting and emergency procedures?  Can heat-producing equipment be kept away from the walls to enable air circulation?  Can fire doors. and heat sources) be eliminated from the workplace?  Can inflammable materials be eliminated from the workplace?  Have work practices been designed to eliminate or minimise the risks associated with fire?  Can workplace practices be changed to eliminate fire risks?  Has the workplace been designed to facilitate fire fighting and emergency procedures in the case of fire?  Has the Employer/HSR/OHS Committee contacted the Fire Brigade for advice on fire prevention?  Has the HSR/OHS Committee surveyed employees for suggestions and recommendations for improvements in the area of fire safety?  Have arrangements been made so that all new employees receive induction training? This must include fire procedure training. flames. or by barriers.

police).  the need to stay calm.  Are all emergency response teams trained in the case of a fire situation? Personal protective clothing  Will the protective clothing and equipment issued minimise burns or other harm such as smoke inhalation suffered by a worker in the event of fire?  Is breathing apparatus required/supplied/available?  Are fire blankets provided? Fire and Emergency Evacuation Plan It is important that your workplace have a simple plan to respond to emergencies. .)  Is there a maintenance system to ensure that warning systems and fire fighting equipment are in working order?  Are extinguishers appropriate for the type of fire risk?  Is there a system to ensure emergency procedures will work? (eg to ensure that exits are not blocked or locked?)  Are signs adequate for fire prevention and for emergency procedures?  Is all staff suitably trained in fire prevention and emergency procedures? In some cases the training may need to be in different languages.  how. electricity. All employees should receive a copy of the plan.  how to establish and use a fail-safe communications system. The health and safety rep/OHS Committee should develop the plan in consultation with all employees.  names of the key leaders responsible for making decisions during the emergency (and their duties eg. gas. The emergency plan should cover:  Immediate action to stop or minimise the hazard (eg use of fire extinguishers if trained).  Are the means of access and exit adequately sign-posted and readily accessible? Administrative measures  Has a housekeeping program been implemented to minimise the fire risk? Is it being practised?  Is there a maintenance system to prevent fires? (eg maintenance of electrical equipment. a warden). SES. etc. removal of refuse. which should also be posted on notice boards.  how to notify emergency personnel (ambulance. Plans work best when they are reviewed and updated. when and where to evacuate. fire brigade. This will reduce the potential for injury and illness and avoid panic.  who to call to raise the alarm. It is vital that all employees are trained in the emergency procedures outlined in the plan.

These should be repeated these regularly. OHS is able to provide basic remedial works and assist you in obtaining best value from any contracted services you may need. Carry out either a new Fire Risk Assessment or a re-inspection to meet the requirements of the Fire Safety Order (FSO) 2005. procedures. This section includes information for a wide range of workplace environments. By following steps 1-5. organisation. It provides useful advice adaptable to all workplaces. 1-2-1 coaching. See Also:  Fire Escapes .What are the rules?  Workplaces have a variety of potential fire risks depending on their type and location. Where actions require physical improvements. The Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) has a range of resources on its website. OHS can provide on-going support and consultancy through Last amended June 2015 FIRE SAFETY www. under 'Fire Protection Equipment and Consultants' to find private companies. The contact phone number for the MFB Community Education Department is 03) 9665 4464. In order to ensure the action plan is successfully implemented. This will include both management systems and | 0871 384 3119 A full review of existing Fire Safety Management System (FSMS) including policies. As a guide the FRA must be reviewed at least annually or as often as is required (when for example there are changes in working practice.A Guidance Note for Preparing for Emergency Evacuations at the Workplace has been issued by the Western Australian Commission for Occupational Safety and Health to provide guidance on preparing for emergency evacuations at the workplace and some of the legislative requirements under that state's OHS Act. occupancy or building use). which is a statutory obligation for the Responsible Person (RP) under the FSO. As a result of the FRA we will provide the RP with a comprehensive action plan based on a Risk Prioritisation System to ensure the safety of users of the premise/ venue and compliance is achieved. All risk assessments require periodic monitoring and review and fi re safety is no exception. Ensure the employer organises a few test runs to check on the key components of the communication systems and evacuation procedures. The Community Education Department of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and a number of private companies can provide assistance (for a fee) with the preparation of emergency plans. As part of our process we are committed to providing all the support and advice required. periodic reviews. Look the Yellow Pages.ohs. we are confi dent that we will be able to provide you with the level of compliance required for your business and more importantly a safe working environment. and working in partnership with OHS. monitoring and audit process to contribute to a gap analysis. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Fire Management Policy Research (Investigation) Fire Risk Assessment Management Aspects Premises FRA Fire Management Plan Implement Procedures and Training of Specifi c Findings Monitor Compliance 1 2 3456 .