A fire risk assessment is a mandatory undertaking that must be carried out in all places of work and in areas that are accessible to the general public. Failure to conform to such regulations can lead to very serious penalties or even imprisonment. The assessment is a detailed one and must be carried out by an appointed ‘responsible person’ such as a fire warden. This person must pursue such a task in the first instance and then re-evaluate it periodically.
If your business has more than five staff members than the assessment details must be recorded in writing and kept somewhere safe. Assessments can be made by anybody, as long as they have the relevant fire safety advice documents to hand. If you do not feel comfortable with undertaking such an important task, a professional fire risk assessments company can provide a competent person to take on these duties on your behalf.
What is a Fire Risk Assessment?
A fire risk assessment is a methodical and scheduled investigation of your premises, performed in order to ascertain the fire risks and safety levels of your surroundings. The elements of this assessment are carried out in order to highlight the likelihood of a fire starting and the harm it could cause in certain circumstances to those in and around the area. The main aims of the assessment are to:
- Identify – Any potential fire risks and hazards (sources of ignition, fuel etc).
- Reduce – Those risks to a level that is as low as reasonably possible.
- Evaluate – What precautions need to be put in place to ensure the safety of those in and around your premises (escape routes, lighting, training etc).
The responsibility of a fire risk assessment should be placed upon one designated individual; this is usually an employer or another person who has control over the premises in question. This can be the premises owner or an appointed fire warden. If you have more than one responsible person then it is vitally important that they cooperate and communicate with each other in a professional manner.
The responsible person must focus entirely on the safety of all relevant individuals and must pay particular attention to those at an increased risk; such as disabled people. They must also have the training and knowledge required to implement these measures correctly and appropriately.
Here is a quick list of necessities that must also be in place as part of your fire risk assessment procedure:
- Employees and all relevant persons must be made aware of the relevant information and the risks identified by the assessment. They must also be made aware of the measures you take to prevent such risks and how these measures will protect your employees in the event of a fire.
- Employees need to be consulted and a handful of them nominated to carry out specific roles in connection to your fire safety proposals.
- If employing children you must provide their parents with clear information on the fire risks as identified in your assessment. You must also make them aware of the measures you plan to put in place.
- All non-employees and temporary site workers/visitors must be made aware of the relevant risks and the fire safety procedures behind them.
- You must take into consideration the presence of dangerous substances and the risks they present to your premises in the event of a fire.
- A suitable method of contacting emergency services must be established.
- Appropriate information and training must be provided to employees the moment they begin working for your company and then periodically after that.
- All fire-fighting equipment and detectors should be properly and periodically maintained by a competent person in an efficient manner.
- All emergency escape routes should be highlighted clearly and maintained regularly.
Total Fire Services Fire Risk Assessments
For complete peace of mind and to ensure your premises is safe and as risk free as possible, it is sometimes best to hire a professional who is trained and experienced in such competencies. Fire risk assessments are a huge responsibility with a lot of liability resting on the responsible person. Here at Total Fire Services we offer our clients two types of fire safety consultancy – standard and advanced.
The content for both levels of assessment is exactly the same and recommended by the Health and Safety Executive and the Employers’ Guide Published by the Home Office. Our service also complies with recommendations enforced by PAS 79:2007 (Fire Risk Assessment – Guidance and a Recommended Methodology). Contact us for more information.