In 2019 the Fire Door Inspection Scheme found that over three quarters of all doors inspected that year were not fit for purpose. Building owners and employers have a responsibility to ensure that employees and building users are safe under the Fire Safety Order (FSO). The order also states that a nominated “responsible person” must be instated who will be held responsible if they do not fulfil their duties.
Gavin Scarr-Hall, Health & Safety Director at Peninsula, says: “Fire doors play a critical and lifesaving role in stopping the spread of fire, but most of the ones installed in workplaces up and down the UK are not up to standard. We estimate that 85% of all fire doors in the UK would fail inspection right now. Businesses must take fire safety seriously. The fittings of the door can be the different between a passing or failing inspection not just the door itself and, in a serious situation, could actually make the difference between life and death.”
The two most important functions of a fire door are to form a barrier to stop the spread of flames and smoke, and to provide a means of escape. Most doors are certified to hold back fire for either 30 or 60 minutes, depending on the type of door, allowing people enough time to retreat to safety.
Fire doors work by intumescent strips that activate and expand when exposed to heat. For this reason, it’s recommended that the gaps between the door and the frame are between 2mm-4mm. This ensures that the protective seal remains intact and isn’t damaged by frequent opening and closing.
Fire doors should always be fitted correctly by a competent installer and checked regularly. While professional maintenance is important, anyone can spot a faulty fire door by carrying out a simple five-step check:
- Is the door missing an official certification label?
- Is the space around the door bigger than the width of a pound coin?
- Is the seal around the door faulty or damaged?
- Are any of the hinges loose or missing screws?
- Is the door unable to close firmly on to the latch without sticking to the floor or frame?
If you answer yes to any of these then a PAS79 Fire Risk Assessment will need to be conducted immediately by a licensed professional to ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace.