Out of 500 UK tradespeople, 85% revealed that they “wouldn’t know what to do if they encountered a fire at work”. A recent study from IronmongeryDirect reports.
Additionally, the research showed that only 12% of workers regularly carry a fire extinguisher with them while working, while 92% wouldn’t know whether a workplace or building was compliant with fire safety regulations.
The study, which examined various popular trades, found that some workers were more likely to encounter fires than others. For instance, 56% of locksmiths and 50% of joiners and plasterers had encountered a fire incident while at work. Building surveyors, electricians, and builders accounted for 48%, 39%, and 34%, respectively.
Additionally, fire safety knowledge amongst the trades also varied, and 86% of tradespeople admitted they were unaware of the differences between electrical, gas, and chemical fires.
The concerning statistics have sparked an initiative to improve fire safety knowledge amongst tradespeople, with IronmongeryDirect partnering with Fire Immunity, a provider of fire protection services in Bristol and the South West.
Director of Fire Immunity, Edgaras Zilinskas said:
“A safe working environment is essential for every business to protect employees and ensure legal compliance. The first step is having the building in which you operate undergo a fire risk assessment, as this will highlight any areas for improvement or potential risks.”
A clear understanding of fire safety equipment is also vital, with Edgaras adding: “Installing fire alarms and smoke detectors in every area is vital, alongside training staff on a fire safety plan. You should also install an adequate number of fire extinguishers on every floor, in easily accessible locations.”
The study also revealed that fire door recognition amongst various trades was also lacking, with 80% of tradespeople saying that they would not know how to identify one. An additional 13% admitted that they had used one incorrectly by propping or wedging them open while working:
“Leaving a fire door open means the door is no longer effective. If a fire breaks out and the door is ajar, smoke could quickly spread around the building, damaging the building and harming individuals.
“A fire door that is blocked from the other side could become a hazard in case of a fire. Someone could trip and injure themselves and, in rarer cases, the obstruction may catch and cause another fire. In addition, anything blocking a door could also prevent someone from escaping, so keeping the door obstruction free and closed is vital,” Edgaras warns.
Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect, said: “It’s clear from our research that many tradespeople are unprepared when it comes to fire safety, with worrying numbers not knowing what to do in the event of a fire or how to advise their customers on fire safety.
“We hope that by highlighting these issues, we can help to raise awareness and encourage tradespeople to take steps to improve their fire safety knowledge and preparedness.”