The importance of fire risk assessments

A fire risk assessment must always be carried out for the premises that your business operates in. This is a legal requirement that comes under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This, along with your fire evacuation plan, forms the foundations of your business’ fire safety.

What is a fire risk assessment?

In simple terms a fire risk assessment is an assessment of your premises, the activities that take place on there and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in or around the premises. It will include the possible sources of ignition, fuel, current firefighting provision and the ability of those inside to escape from their workplace safely. Once this has been done, it will, if done correctly, highlight what improvements are required to your current fire safety procedures.

Fire risk assessments are often overlooked by businesses, leading to employees being put under unnecessary risk because they are unaware of the danger and hazards surrounding fire safety and what they should do in the event of a fire.

Rule number 1.

It must be reviewed regularly. It is recommended that the review is carried out every twelve months from the date of the original assessment, with a full, brand new assessment being carried out every five years. If the layout, purpose of the building or if the nature of the occupants has changed substantially, a new assessment would also be required. This is because changes to the fabric or use of the building can alter any fire safety measures currently in place.

Rule Number 2.

You must keep a written record of your fire risk assessment if your business has 5 or more people. We would always recommend having a written fire risk assessment no matter how many employees you have. There are a couple of exceptions in which a fire risk assessment MUST be written down, even if there are less than five people. These are if the premises requires a licence or if the fire brigade have instructed you to do so following a visit.

Rule Number 3.

The Fire Risk Assessment MUST record the main findings and any actions that are required following the inspection and assessment. The first part of the fire risk assessment is the review itself, and this will assess the fire safety of the premises against a number of specific points. The second part takes the form of a list of recommendations. It is vitally important to act upon the recommendations you are given for your building because this is ultimately what will keep you, your employees and your business safe.

If you do not have a fire risk assessment carried out for your building or don’t follow any recommendations made and put these into place, the penalty could be severe fines or in extreme cases of negligence, a custodial sentence.

Is your business safe?

If you would like further advice, please contact our Health and Safety Team on 01302 341 344.

 

By Aaron MoxamRisk Services Assistant

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