A Stockport fire has prompted a call for business owners to carry out a regular fire risk assessment of their business premises.

Health and safety expert Michelle Hay of Stockport’s Michelle Hay Training is drawing attention to the importance of fire risk assessments after the latest business fire story to hit the headlines.

Over 20 firefighters recently tackled a blaze at a Stockport manufacturing business on the Castlehill Industrial Estate. Fortunately, no one was harmed, but it took fire crews around three hours to tackle the blaze. Despite the fire being confined with limited damage, the whole site was smoke logged. 

Michelle commented:

“The initial investigation revealed that the cause may have been a heater left near cardboard boxes.  Fortunately the fire did not spread to neighbouring businesses, so the business owner was lucky on this occasion. It could have cost a lot more to put right.” 

A simple Fire Risk Assessment would have spotted the hazard and helped avoid the fire in the first place.

Michelle again:

“Protecting people, property and stock from fire should be top of the agenda for all businesses.

“While leaving a heater so close to combustible material is an obvious fire hazard to safety professionals, it is frequently overlooked by employers and employees. However, via the assessment process, it can be pointed out and acted upon promptly.”

The purpose of a Fire Risk Assessment is to ask certain questions about the site and check that suitable provisions are in place.  In particular to avoid the fire in the first place, to know what to do in a fire and especially to be able to get everyone evacuated safely in an emergency. 

The GM Fire and Rescue Service expects every business to take a comprehensive review of fire safety provisions, no matter what the business activities are. From office to engineering site, from cafe to college. In the workplace the employer must comply with fire safety law. Employees also have a duty to ensure premises are fire safe, as do other contractors and people on the premises. 

Michelle again:

“I frequently come across workers who know that things are lacking in the health and safety area, but often feel that it is pointless to raise their concerns because of lack of support.

“Change must start at the top and work its way down. Only then can a cohesive and strategic safety culture begin to develop. Everyone needs to be involved in health and safety, making sure that the person responsible – the business or building owner  – is accountable for fire safety. “

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