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Fire Safety In Your Barber Shop
Fire safety regulations should be one of your top priorities and compliance isn’t a choice.
Over 70% of businesses which have been involved in a major fire either do not reopen or subsequently fail within three years. Once a business has suffered a fire, it can be difficult to recover so it’s best to take action before it’s too late.
Complying with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 will help to ensure business longevity by reducing the likelihood of a fire starting, as well as being prepared for the worst. Also, by failing to meet the regulations, you risk a fine, a prison sentence, and the lives of your staff and customers.
Meeting the regulations isn’t as difficult as you might think, and it all starts with a fire risk assessment of your barber shop.
The Five Stages Of A Fire Risk Assessment
Completing a fire risk assessment allows you to fully understand your business. When you go through the five steps, you’ll then have done everything that’s required of you:
1. Identify all potential combustibles and possible sources of ignition;
2. Consider all the relevant people who are at greatest risk from fire;
3. Remove or reduce the risks of fire as much as possible and provide precautions;
4. Prepare for an emergency with fire safety equipment, by providing correct training, and by having a plan which everyone is aware of;
5. Record any findings and regularly review the assessment to keep it up-to-date.
Your risk assessment, including all of your findings and the actions you have taken, should be written up. Although only a requirement if you hire five or more people, it is still good practice and acts as proof that you’re fulfilling your duty as a responsible business owner.
Barber Shop Fire Hazards
A fire needs three things in order to burn: oxygen, heat and fuel. When you remove one or more of these elements, a fire is then far less likely.
You need to identify the items which can burn. This may be stock which is piled in cardboard boxes, or an overflowing bin. It’s also the array of chemicals and sprays, some of which are highly flammable.
These need to be kept away from things that could start a fire. Possible sources of ignition are heaters, lighters, and electrical equipment.
Hairdryers can get very hot, so take care of where you are putting them down. And if your clippers or other equipment have frayed or damaged wires, wrapping them in tape isn’t a safe solution. These need to be either professionally repaired or replaced.
You can ensure that electrical equipment is up to scratch by having an annual PAT check. That way, you’ll know everything is working properly and you can stop using the items which are a potential hazard. It’s also a good idea to have your electrical installations checked by an electrician from time to time.
Identify Those At Risk
You must next consider all of the people who could be adversely affected by an emergency in your barber shop. This will include staff and customers, as well as any contractors or other visitors who may be present.
Provisions then need to be in place to help those who may need assistance making their escape. Children, the elderly and the disabled are all likely to need a helping hand, especially if there are any steps.
Evaluate And Act
For all your findings, you’ll need to take the relevant action and provide the appropriate precautions.
Smoke and heat alarms will allow for early detection of a fire and will allow everyone to get to safety as quickly as possible. Fire exit signs, and maybe even emergency lighting, are essential for helping people make their way swiftly towards the exit.
You also need to have the right extinguishers to match the risks which are present in your business. They may well allow you to put out a small fire in order to prevent it escalating and causing more harm.
In a barber shop, you’ll likely need CO2 extinguishers in order to safely extinguish fires involving electrical items without the risk of electrocution. A powder extinguisher is another good choice as it is ideal for safely putting out fires involving cloth, paper and rubbish, as well as flammable liquids and gases.
And with every extinguisher, you’ll need to partner it with the correct sign which gives information about its use so anyone can use it.
When you purchase a new fire extinguisher, it is essential that you have a professional install and commission it. That way, you’ll know it is in exactly the right place.
Also remember that all extinguishers in your business need to be serviced annually by a service engineer, except for CO2 extinguishers which require this every five years.
Record, Plan and Train
In order to ensure everything is in place before an emergency occurs, you need to have a plan of action. It should include the route people use to make their exit, where they assemble, who calls the fire service, and who your fire wardens are.
Just as you’ll have staff who are trained first-aiders, you’ll also need to assign a few as fire wardens too. With the appropriate training, it’s their role to hold fire drills, keep people calm in an emergency, and to assist you in promoting good fire safety.
With this all in place, you should then test the procedures you have by holding a fire drill. With customers in chairs, every so often raise the fire alarm and perform an emergency evacuation. If everything goes to plan, you’re good to go but it may also raise an issue you may not have otherwise noted. And it’s best to find that out now, rather than when it’s too late.
Once the fire risk assessment is completed, it still needs to be kept up-to-date with any changes that occur. This could be a new layout of the premises, a change of use, or the addition of other services which bring their own risks, such as sunbeds.
Many fire services recommend that a fire risk assessment is reviewed annually.
The overall responsibility for ensuring the business complies with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 falls to the business owner. But the responsible person can also appoint a competent person who can assist them.
For peace of mind, some barber shop owners opt to hire a professional risk assessor so they can be confident they’re doing everything possible to stay fire-safe.
To find out more information about fire risk assessments and fire safety equipment, visit www.fireprotectiononline.co.uk
And with the discount code BARBER5 exclusively for British Master Barbers members, you can get an extra 5% off when you purchase fire safety equipment or services.