How to Establish a Robust Fire Safety System in the Workplace

A robust fire safety system plays an important role in providing protection for building occupants in the case of fire. In the workplace setting, or even in any type of commercial buildings, first and foremost, a fire safety system saves lives. It also keeps the property save from loss due to fire. Therefore, fire safety system should be the primary concern for any business.

A robust fire safety system should at least include emergency routes and exits planning, fire detection and warning systems, the appropriate fire fighting equipment, and well trained workers.

Plan the emergency routes and exits so that exit doors and any discharge lead directly to an open space or area such as the yards. These emergency routes and exits should be unblocked and unobstructed for all times. Copies of exit map should be consciously posted in the workplace. Further, emergency routes and exits planning should be regularly reviewed to ensure its effectiveness. Review should consider, among others, changes of work space setting or any building alternation.

All the potential fire hazards and threats should be identified before selecting the appropriate fire detection and warning system. If you are aware of what types of fire, how and where a fire can occur in the work-site, robust fire detection and warning system could be established. Aspects such as layout and size of the workplace, number of people on the work site, physical limitation (building construction constrain), and respective regulations, codes and standards should also be considered*. These also apply when selecting proper fire fighting equipment.

Any fire detection and fire equipment should be regularly tested and maintained.

Last but not least, most fatalities and injuries from fires in the workplace are the result of workers not knowing the right fire safety and exit strategies to follow. Therefore, employers should ensure that their workers are equipped with the proper knowledge and training to face of a fire in the workplace. This include establishing training manual based on existing fire safety plan, identifying participant and selecting member of the in-house fire response unit, and determining time of training and drill.

Worker’s knowledge of fire safety plan should be updated on regular basis. Importantly when their work-site is altered or changed.


*Some rules, codes and standards regarding fire safety system are as follows:

  • Building Act No. 28 of 2002
  • Government Regulations No. 36 of 2006 concerning the Implementation of Building Act Regulation no. 28 of 2003
  • Decree of the Minister of Manpower No. KEP/186/MEN/1999 on Fire Response Unit at Work Place
  • Regulation of the Minister of Manpower No. PER.02/ MEN/1983 on Automatic Fire Alarm Installation
  • Decree of the Minister of Public Works no. 10/KPTS/2000 on Technical Provision of Fire Protection against Fire Hazard in Building and Building Environment
  • Decree of the Minister of Public Works no. 11/KPTS/2000 on Technical Provisions on Urban Fire Management
  • Regulation of the Minister of Public Works No.26/PRT/M/2008 on Technical Requirements of Fire Protection System in Building and Environment;
  • Regulation of the Minister of Public Works No. 20/PRT/M/2009 on Technical Guidelines for Urban Fire Protection Management
  • Regulation of the Minister of Public Works No. 25/PRT/2007 on Guidelines for Function Certificate of Feasibility Function (SLF) Build Building
  • Regulation of the Minister of Public Works and Housing No. 14/PRT/M/2017 on Building Requirements
  • SNI 03-1735-2000 Procedures for Access Building and Environmental Access Planning for Fire Prevention at Houses and Buildings
  • SNI 03-1736-2000 Methodology of Passive Protection System for Prevention of Fire Hazards in Houses and Buildings
  • SNI 03-1745 2000 Procedures for Planning and Installation of Upright and Slope Piping Systems for Fire Prevention in Buildings and Houses
  • SNI 03-1746-2000 Procedures for Planning and Installation of Exit Facilities for Rescuing Fire Hazards in Buildings
  • SNI 03-6574-2001 Procedures for Emergency Lighting Planning, Directions and Hazards Warning System in Buildings
  • SNI 03-3985-2000 Procedures for Planning and Installation of Fire Detection and Alarm Systems for Fire Prevention at Houses and Buildings
  • SNI 03-3987-1995 Procedures for Planning and Installation of Light Fire Extinguishers for Fire Prevention at Houses and Buildings
  • SNI 03-3989-2000 Procedures for Planning and Installation of Automatic Sprinkler System for Fire Prevention in Building Buildings
  • SNI 03-6570-2001 Installation of Fixed Installed Pumps for Fire Protection
  • SNI 03-6571-2000 Fire Smoke Control System in Building Buildings

Building Safety: Impractical & Exorbitant State Regulations?

Industrial building integrity discourse in Indonesia has been always brought adversarial debates between the proponents and the opponents. The proponents suggest that the existing theoretical framework should be adhered for a reason of, inter alia, workplace safety and rule of law. The opponents, however, claim that in practical reality the state regulations are silent as there is lack of the necessary state instrument to achieve compliance. It leaves the application to private agency (building consultant and testing agency) so that the pursuant of necessary safety certificate is costly. Further, the complexity of regulation structures in Indonesia, of which the state entrust the practical instrument responsibility to regional governments resulting in the absence of technical regulations in the regional level.

There are several regulations of building safety issued by the state. The main regulations on building safety include:

  1. Building Act No. 28 of 2002
  2. Government Regulations No. 36 of 2008 on the Implementation of Building Act No. 28 of 2002
  3. Regulation of the Minister of Public Works No. 25/PRT/M/2007 on Certificate of (Building) Functionality
  4. Regulation of the Minister of Public Works No. 26/PRT/M/2008 on Fire Protection System in Building and Building Environment
  5. Regulation of the Minister of Public Works No. 29/PRT/M/2009 on Guidelines of Building Technical Requirements.

In the nutshell, there are two primary conditions that should be adhered in regard with building safety: administrative and technical. This likely perceived as uncomplicated, easy, and simple requirements. However, it is transpired as a flood of state regulations. Of the above list, for instance, there are numerous other Minister Regulations and Regional Regulations on Building Safety. It is so many; it is likely very complex for one to get a good understanding on building safety regulations, the respective regulatory agency and the regulatory instruments.

In reality, there is no room for waiving building safety regulations. There are already numerous incidents and accidents occurred in the past years due to unsafe building integrity. Building safety is about people lives which are priceless. It is about business responsibility to protect the safety and health of those who work for them. It is about moral values, humanity over money. When people lives are at stakes, would the debates over cost and regulatory effectiveness ebb? Realistically, the answer is NO. The debate would never go away. As much as the moral value could be used to push compliance, it should not be used as the trump card for justifying ineffective state regulations regime.

UU No. 28 Tahun 2002

PP No. 36 tahun 2005 tentang Pelaksanaan UU No. 28 tahun 2000

PermenPUR No. 29_PRT_M_2006

PermenPUR No. 26_PRT_M_2008

PermenPUR No. 25_PRT_M_2007 tentang Sertifikat Laik Fungsi

State Administrative Court: the 2017 Labour-intensive Minimum Wage is unlawful

In its ruling read on 6 February 2018, the panel of judges of the State Administrative Court of Bandung decides that the 2017 Labour Intensive Minimum Wage imposed in three municipals in Jawa Barat namely District of Bogor, District of Purwakarta and City of Bekasi is unlawful. The minimum wage in question is set   for the garment/apparel industry.

The object of the lawsuit is Governor of Jawa Barat Decree No. 561/Kep.644-Yanbangsos/2017 concerning the Minimum Wage of Certain Labour-intensive Industry Type of Garment/Apparel Industry in the District of Purwakarta of 2017 dated 24 July 2017; Decree No. 561/Kep.679-Yanbangsos/2017 concerning the Minimum Wage of Certain Labour-intensive Industry Type of Garment/Apparel Industry in the District of Bogor of 2017 dated 28 July 2017; and Decree No. 561 / Kep.Kep.680-Yanbangos / 2017 concerning the Minimum Wage of Certain Labour-intensive Industry Type of Garment/Apparel Industry in the City of Bekasi of 2017 dated 28 July 2017. These Decrees stipulated a certain sector-based minimum wage lower that the prevailing municipal minimum wage. According to the Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Regulation No. 7 Tahun 2013, sector-based minimum wage figure should be greater than municipal/provincial minimum wage.

The plaintiff in this case is several trade unions including Confederation of Indonesian Prosperous Trade Union and Confederation of All-Indonesia Trade Unions. While the defendant is the Governor of Jawa Barat province.

In the nutshell, the State Administrative Court assert the Governor decrees are null and void. Further, it requires the defendant to revoke the decision and impose the district/city minimum wage to the plaintiff based on the Governor of Jawa Barat Decree Number 561/Kep.1191-Bangsos/2016 about the Municipality Minimum Wage in jawa Barat Province of Year 2017 dated 21 November 2016 effective as of 1 January 2017 with details as follows :
1. The District of Purwakarta: IDR. 3,169,549.17  per month;
2. The District of Bogor: IDR 3,204,551.00 per month;
3. The City of Bekasi: IDR. 3,601,650.00 per month.

The Court also requires the defendant to pay forced money (dwangsom) of IDR 5,000,000 for each day of delay, if the defendant neglects and /or does not enforce the decision of Bandung State Administrative Court which has a permanent legal force.

Referring to the Indonesian State Administrative Court Law, the Governor can appeal the District Court decision to the State Administrative High Court. The appeal period stipulates by section 123 paragraph (1) of the Administrative Court Law is 14 days after the Court decision is legally notified to the parties. if the submission deadline ends and there is no appeal, then the parties are deemed to have accepted the decision of the judges of the Administrative Court.

Amar Putusan PTUN No. 108_G_2017_PTUN.BDG

Is there such thing as reverse gender discrimination?

Discrimination based in sex, as some argue, works both way. It is not only women experience unjust or unfair treatment because of their charasteristic, but some men also think and assert that they are discriminated againts women inherent charasteristics. Is this perception has ground, though?

In Indonesia, menstrual time off is stipulated in the Labour Law No. 13 of 2003. Women who feel pain could take 2 days time off if they feel pain during the first and secod day of their period. Although, some may argue differently, the state objective of such regulation is likely to protect women reproductive health, more than an affirmative action against discrimination because of women inherent charasteristics.

In some of the garment manufacturing in Indonesia, this one article in the Labour Law might perceived as a barrier to productivity. As an industry that is highly populated by women, mostly young, the thinking that every single female worker fromevery production line alternately taking one of two days off for menstrual time off is indeed very dreading. It could be imagine that companies must orchestrating a very fine tune production schedule to manuveur around this situation. That is impossible. With the fast pace industry that it is, how can garment factories losing their workers for one or two days every single month? So, what they do then is offering women 2 days additional pay if they don’t take menstrual time off. Not every woman feels pain during their period anyway. Case closed? Not so fast.

These additional 2 days pay per month (roughly around USD 20-30, depending on the regional minimum wage) are only offered to women. It is anyway, an additional incentive that is attached to women’s inherent charasteristic. Men do not have period. Their productivity does not halted by it. Some men that I met in garment factory, not only production workers but also those very experience external auditors, see this as discrimination or (this is how men watered it down) potential discrimination against men. Their logic is that women are rewarded if they have a full attendance in a month (for not taking time off for menstrual pain) but men are not. Well, I argued then that men, in this context, men do not have menstrual period, Companies do not have to anticipate that men will take a day of two of time off every month. It could always be asserted that men productivity will not be compromised by monthly period, So, it was only logical for companies to protect their production interest by only giving women a two days worth of pay for not taking menstrual time off. No discrimination here.

But is it though? Is it not a reverse discrimination? Afterall, men are being unfairly threated because, the only reason, they don’t have period. Well, those are very tough questions. First of all, whether or not this is related to the discrimination assertion, I disagree on a policy of replacing the rights to take time off with money. It is always be expected that in the case of blue collar job, or any job for that case, people are more likely than not to choose money over taking their statutory rights. They would give up that rights for a significant amount of money. By substituting rights with money, companies consiously rid the feeling of entitlement of the said rights.

Now to get back to the discrimination argument, indeed it feels very unfair. Why does women full attendance get rewarded and men’s don’t? Regardless the natural characteristic of the opposite sex, shouldn’t men also get rewarded for showing up at work every day in a month? Giving additional benefits only to women not because their sex but mainly because of production/business reasons, very much look like that there is no other logical argument not to provide men with the same benefits, despite of their sex.

This is quite complicated. Shouldn’t men take three months paid leave because of women also get three months paid leave for maternity? In the surface, the plain answer is NO. A perceived benefit that is attached no natural charasteristic should not and would not be taken as discrimination.

But, let’s take a step back for a moment. Let’s throw some more questions about the issue of reverse discrimination before we make judgement. Should equal treatment construe as providing the same to all blindly? Should mitigating reasonings considered when judging discrimation (i.e natural charasteristic)? Should the intent (in this example, of providing the benefit) matters more than the action? Is discrimination more about feelings (of unfairly or unjustly treatment) that facts?

Your answer to those questions may influence your last judgement whether or not the sample case in question a reverse dicrimination. For me, with more details to the case I am already quite persuaded to take a different position. Or at least I am moved from really sure (that it is not) to not quite sure about the whole thing.