Your questions answered: What are our obligations relating to having a fire alarm system?

By Portner Press on July 9th, 2019
  1. Fire, Emergency & Incidents
  2. Fire Safety

We are a small sales company with offices throughout Australia. Our head office in NSW has both office space and a warehouse. What are our obligations in relation to having a fire alarm system in place?
Under health and safety legislation, employers have an obligation to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees and not expose them to risks.  Failure to implement appropriate fire alarm systems could result in serious breaches of these health and safety obligations.

To ensure that employers are meeting their fire safety obligations, they should:

  • manage fire and explosion risks in their workplace by eliminating or minimising the risks as far as reasonably practicable;
  • introduce, maintain and know how to use appropriate firefighting equipment;
  • develop and maintain an effective emergency plan;
  • develop and maintain effective evacuation procedures; and
  • understand incident notification procedures and how to implement them when required.

As part of this, employers should have in place an appropriate fire alarm system to reduce the risk to health and safety of their employees.  For more information on fire safety, please see Chapter F2 of the Health & Safety Handbook.

In addition to an employer’s obligation under health and safety law, compliance with the NCC Building Code of Australia requires smoke detection systems to be implemented in all class 5 – 8 buildings.

Notably, these classes include office buildings and buildings used for activities such as storage, production or repair. Any such smoke detection systems must comply with Australian Standard 1670 (fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems).  This Australian Standard can be purchased here.

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