Fire Risk Assessment

The first step to preventing fire is to carry out a fire risk assessment. Not only does a fire risk assessment deliver real benefits to your business, by taking a few steps to reduce a risk of fire, employers can prevent fire breaking out. If you consider the fact that approximately 70% of business that have suffered a fire - never reopen or close within 3 years of a fire. Not only  by taking the time to carry out a fire risk assessment looks like a sensible investment.

A fire risk assessment is a legal requirement of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and is fundamental to the development of a fire safety strategy. Its aim is to make buildings a safer place to be, by reducing the likelihood of a fire occurring and reducing the consequences for any person(s) in the building.

So what is a Fire Risk Assessment?

It is an organised and methodical look at your premises, the activities carried out there, the likelihood that a fire could start and in the event of a fire the harm to those in and around the premises.

The aims of a fire risk assessment are:

  • To identify fire hazards
  • To reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as reasonably practicable
  • To determine what physical fire precautions and management arrangements are necessary to be implemented to ensure the safety of the people in your premises in the event of a fire situation occurring.

A “hazard” is something that has the potential to cause harm, where as a “risk” is the chance or likelihood of that harm occurring.

Do I need a Fire Risk Assessment?

If you occupy a business premises, it is most likely that by law you will need to carry out a fire risk assessment. The law requires that the following buildings need to have a fire risk assessment;

  • Block of flats
  • Factories
  • Houses in multiple occupation
  • Hotels, guest and boarding houses
  • Offices
  • Places of assembly, such as public houses and clubs
  • Residential care and nursing homes
  • Schools
  • Shops and retail units

If you employ five or more employees, the significant findings of your fire risk assessment must be fully documented. The Fire and Rescue service need to see evidence of the fire risk assessment.

Can I carry out my own Fire Risk Assessment?

The law requires that the person carrying out the fire risk assessment must be “competent” to do so. A competent person is defined as someone who has sufficient training and experience/knowledge and any other qualities that allow them to assist you. If yourself or no one else within your organisation has the appropriate level of competence, then the responsible person can seek the services of an outside agency to assist with the completion of a fire risk assessment.

How often does a Fire Risk Assessment need to be reviewed?

There is no hard or fast rule that states how often a review of your fire risk assessment needs to occur, although it must be remembered that the assessment itself is a “LIVE” documentation and such should not be just completed and then filed away. If you believe that your fire risk assessment is no longer valid or if there has been significant changes to your premises or work process, then you will need to review your fire risk assessment.

Some reasons for reviewing your fire risk assessment include;

  • Alterations to the building, including the internal layout.
  • Changes to work processes, the way they are organised or the introduction of new equipment
  • Failure of fire precautions for example fire alarm and detection system, sprinkler system
  • Introduction, change of use or increase in the storage of any hazardous substances
  • Presence of people with any form of disability
  • Significant changes to displays or quantity of stock
  • Significant increases in numbers of persons using the premises
  • Substantial increase to fixings and furniture

Contact Guardian Fire Protection for help and guidance on your Fire Risk assessment.

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