As a new business owner your time and energy will be taken up with getting to grips with establishing your business and raising your company awareness. You will of course also have to learn about what you need to comply with in terms of HMRC and Health & Safety Law.
It can be really tiring meeting your legal obligations as well as striving to make a success of your business. However, there is one area of Health & Safety that you cannot neglect and that is the welfare of yourself and anyone else you employ. One of the most confusing of setting up a new business is knowing whether you need to install a fire alarm system or not.
There may be some exceptions where you don’t need to install a fire alarm, such as if you work from home and you don’t employ any staff. Unless running your home business poses some level of fire risk, it may not be necessary for you to have an alarm by law, but you may consider installing a residential alarm to be on the safe side.
Who does need an alarm?
Should your new business fall into any of the following categories, and your business is run to create a profit, then by law you are operating a commercial business and will need a fire safety system in place that meets your needs:
- A factory or industrial facilities including warehouses and storage sites, distribution centres or site of manufacturing
- A garage or filling station, body shop or vehicle repair site
- A retail, or entertainment establishment, including public houses
- An eatery, dining or restaurant premises
- A suite of offices that supply a service
Regardless of whether you run a large or small business, you must comply with strict government fire safety rules that cover commercial buildings. Even if you only rent a small portion of a much lager building to operate out of, you must ensure that the building owner has put into place adequate fire safety provision to cover your needs. This may mean an upgrade or installing additional fire safety measures to cover your operation.
Which system to choose
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ fire alarm system to have installed. There are a number of options for you to choose from, but what you need will depend on what fire regulations you need to meet for your work environment. This includes assessing the architectural design and layout of your building, what building materials have been used in the construction and what sort of risks are posed from your business, the storage of flammable materials for example. It gets more complicated depending on the number of employees you have and they type of work they are involved in.
Don’t forget that having inadequate fire alarms fitted can be bad news for you should the worst happen. Not only will you be putting lives at risk by not having enough alarms, or the right type of alarms, but should your insurance company discover that your fire alarm cover was substandard, then your insurance claim could be voided. You wouldn’t want to be left with an enormous bill to foot after suffering a devastating fire.
Why not call in the professionals and get your business premises assessed for fire safety risks. You will be so glad you did!