Fire Risk Assessments
Fire can have a devastating effect on people and business. Each year many people are seriously hurt or even lose their life as result of fires in the workplace. For business, even the smallest fire can lead to the loss of premises on a temporary or a permanent basis. Besides loss of life, fire costs UK business millions of pounds, from damage to property, loss of business, fines, compensation claims and insurance premiums.
Many fires can be avoided by taking fire precautions. If a fire does break out, the effects can be minimised by having effective controls and procedures in place. Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the a designated ‘responsible person’ must carry out a fire safety risk assessment and implement and maintain a fire management plan.
The RRO applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales, including the common parts of blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 apply very similar duties.
The law applies to those people who are:
» Responsible for business/commercial premises
» An employer or self-employed with business premises
» Responsible for a part of a dwelling where that part is solely used for business purposes
» A charity or voluntary organisation
» A contractor with a degree of control over any premises
» Providing accommodation for paying guests
Five Step Risk Assessments
A fire risk assessment is a formal document designed to help reduce the risk of fire to occupants and prevent or minimise damage from a fire, and completing one regularly is a legal requirement. The Fire Risk Assessment should be designed to meet the specific requirements of your premises and will need to meet all the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
It generally comprises 5 key areas (HM Government ‘A Short Guide To Making Your Premises Safe From Fire’ :
1. Hazard identification
Identifying the risks:
» anything that can start a fire, eg naked flames, heaters or commercial processes or equipment such as cookers or hot-air dryers
» anything that can burn in a fire, such as piles of waste, display materials, textiles or other flammable products
» oxygen sources such as air conditioning, medical products or commercial oxygen supplies which might intensify a fire
2. Identify people at risk
Those particularly vulnerable, including:
» people who work close to or with fire hazards
» people who work alone, or in isolated areas such as storerooms
» children or parents with babies
» elderly people
» disabled people
3. Evaluate, remove or reduce or control the risk
Take action to:
» remove the fire hazards you identified where possible, or reduce any hazards you can't remove entirely
» replace highly flammable materials with less flammable ones
» keep anything that can start a fire away from flammable materials
» have a safe-smoking policy for employees or customers who want to smoke in a designated area near your premises
4. Record, plan and train
You will need to:
» record significant findings and action taken (legal obligation if you employ 5 or more persons)
» prepare an emergency evacuation plan
» inform and instruct relevant people
» provide training
5. Review the fire assessment
It is a legal requirement to review this document regularly. How often depends upon the finding of the risk assessment and the level of risk associated with the premises.
HBI staff include members of the Institute of Fire Engineers who are qualified and experienced in performing Fire Risk Assessments. We can also assist in Fire Safety Management or Training.
Please contact us for more details about this service.