Business safety during the COVID-19 pandemic

Our Business Safety section has lots of sensible information and advice. However, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in Tyne and Wear may be adversely affected through:

  • reduced staffing levels
  • disruption to normal working practice

But it is vital that your business’ fire safety and the safety of all the people working in or visiting your business are maintained.

The Health and Safety Executive has some really helpful information to support businesses.

In addition, we have received this guidance note from the National Fire Chiefs Council:  Protection Advice to Businesses

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives

Competent persons

You must ensure that you have an adequate number of competent persons to help in the implementation of preventative and protective fire safety measures.

If you have absent staff you must ensure that you have adequately trained staff on-site at all times, to ensure that fire safety measures are not adversely affected.

Protection from arson

If your building is closed for an extended period of time, ensure it is secure and continue with usual measures to prevent arson:

  • Any combustible materials should be removed from site or stored securely
  • Rubbish is a potential fuel source so remove or store securely away from premises
  • Keep all entrances and exits of the building clear at all times
  • Stock should not be kept in excessive amounts

Fire safety testing

During this time you should continue to maintain and regularly test your fire safety provisions onsite (e.g. alarm test, fire drills).

Lone working

With a reduced workforce there may be an increased likelihood of people working alone within buildings; you need to ensure that these people are provided with adequate warning in case of fire so they do not become trapped.

Fire risk assessment

It may be necessary to review your fire risk assessment during this time to ensure suitable and sufficient measures are in place.

Sleeping on Commercial Premises

If you are allowing staff or volunteers to sleep in your business premises during this COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that you comply with current fire legislation. A Fire Risk Assessment must be carried out by the Responsible Person to identify the fire hazards and risks within the premises, then take appropriate steps to reduce them.

Secure buildings

Try to ensure premises are regular checked to ensure that security of the building is not compromised and identify any attempts of arson, any issues should be reported to FireStoppers: 0800 169 5558

Ensure fire safety isn't compromised

Chris Lane from our business fire safety team wants to remind businesses that fire safety must not be compromised during these difficult times. #FireSafety

Posted by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service on Monday, 23 March 2020

Returning to your business

Once your business can start to operate again here are some key Fire Safety matters for you to
consider. This leaflet is designed to help you.