Fire Safety in the Workplace | Western Cape Government

Fire Safety in the Workplace

(Department of Local Government, Western Cape Government)

Every day, many of us wake up, commute to work and spend most of our time focused on routine behaviours.

But ever so often the unexpected might happen: a building fire, a veld fire, a vehicle fire or some other fire disaster. Routines change drastically and we are suddenly aware of how fragile our lives and routines can be. Each fire disaster can have lasting effects – people may be seriously injured or killed, and devastating and costly property damage can occur.

We need to be prepared in case of a fire emergency. Key to fire safety is practising specific fire safety and fire prevention behaviours. There are some very simple steps you can take to prevent loss of life and property from fire.

Be Prepared

  • Never lock or block fire exits or doorways, halls or stairways. Fire doors provide a way out and slow the spread of fire and smoke. Never prop stairway or other fire doors open.
  • Learn your building's evacuation plans. Make sure everyone knows what to do if the fire alarm goes off. Plan and practise your escape plan.
  • Make sure your building manager displays evacuation routes in high traffic areas like passages.
  • Know the sound of your building's fire alarm and display emergency numbers near all telephones.
  • Know who is responsible for maintaining the fire safety systems. Make sure nothing blocks these devices and promptly report any sign of damage or malfunction to the building management.

Regularly carry out a fire-risk assessment in the workplace by identifying any possible fire dangers and risks. Consider these five points when completing a fire safety risk assessment.

Identify Fire Hazards

  • Sources of ignition.
  • Sources of fuel.
  • Sources of oxygen.

Identify People at Risk

  • People in and around the premises.
  • People who are especially at risk.

Evaluate, Remove or Reduce and Protect Premises from Risk

  • Evaluate the risk of a fire starting.
  • Evaluate the risk to people from a fire.
  • Remove or reduce fire hazards.
  • Remove or reduce the risks to people from a fire.
  • Protect people by providing fire precautions.

Record, Plan, Inform, Instruct, and Train

  • Record any major findings and action you have taken.
  • Discuss and work with other responsible people.
  • Prepare an emergency plan.
  • Inform and instruct relevant people.
  • Provide fire safety training.


  • Review your fire-risk assessment regularly.
  • Make changes where necessary.

In the Event of an Emergency

  • React immediately. If an alarm sounds and you see smoke or fire, or some other unusual disturbance, immediately exit the building and go to the assembly point.
  • Get out and stay out. Once you have escaped, stay out. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. Tell the fire department if you know of anyone trapped in the building.

When it comes to fire, don't be scared, be prepared.

District Emergency Centres

City of Cape Town Tel: 021 480 7700
Overberg District Municipality Tel: 028 425 1690
West Coast District Municipality Tel: 022 433 8700
Eden District Municipality Tel: 044 805 5071
Central Karoo District Municipality Tel: 023 414 2603
Cape Winelands District Municipality Tel: 021 887 4446
All Emergencies Cell: 112
The content on this page was last updated on 19 June 2015