FIRE CLEARANCE CERTIFICATES FOR BUSINESS PREMISES
Any premise, despite its purpose, is prone to fire. The Occupational Safety and Health Act 2007 of the Laws of Kenya (the Act) was formulated to provide for the safety, health and welfare of workers and all persons lawfully present at workplaces.
The Act provides for fire prevention, precautions in places where dangerous fumes are likely, precautions with respect to explosive or inflammable dust or gas, safety provisions in case of fire and evacuation procedures.
According to the Act, every occupier of a work place should take effective steps to ensure that all persons employed therein are familiar with the means of escape in case of fire and with the routine to be followed in case of fire. Further, every workplace or workroom there should be maintained and conspicuously displayed adequate and suitable means for fire extinguishing. The said means should be free from any obstruction so as to be readily accessible and a training done for its correct use.
The premises should also have well marked exits from the building and any of its rooms, which exits should be fastened or locked in a manner that can be easily and immediately opened.
Employers, building owners and occupiers must carry out fire safety risk assessments and keep them up to date. This shares the same approach as health and safety risk assessments and can be carried out either as part of an overall risk assessment or as a separate exercise. To help prevent fire in the workplace, a risk assessment ought to identify what could cause a fire to start, substances that burn and the people who may be at risk.
Based on the findings of the assessment, building owners, employers and occupiers need to ensure that they provide adequate and appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.
Once the risks have been identified, appropriate action ought to be taken to control them. Consideration should be given to whether they can be avoided altogether or, if not possible, how they can be reduced and managed. Consideration should also be given to how people will be protected if there is a fire.
The County Government is responsible for regulating and ensuring fire safety and prevention. The county has its officers tasked with inspecting premises and certifying them for issuance of extinguishing equipment and certificates at a prescribed fee. Depending on the officers’ assessment, they prescribe the best fire extinguishing equipment and issue the owner of the premises with a certificate. This certificate is renewed annually subject to inspection by the officers.
By: Praxedes Kageha