What Happens in a Fire Safety Inspection?
A fire safety inspection is how your building can stay safe for your employees and properly protect vulnerable people. Any office building or place of work will need to consider how safe their building is and if there are any potential risks if a fire does occur.
Below, we have put together a few popular questions when it comes to fire safety inspections, things to consider when carrying out your own and what to expect during a professional inspection as well.
Which Buildings Have to Have Fire Safety Inspection?
Any non-domestic building will need to have fire safety inspections. Usually, this means places of work, whether that is an office or a warehouse, including schools and universities, or any place where large numbers of people will be gathered.
For smaller businesses, if you have up to 5 employees, you do need to keep a written fire safety record, which is worth keeping in mind. As well as large commercial buildings, smaller ones also need to be kept fire safe with regular inspections.
Who Can Do a Fire Safety Inspection?
The Regulatory Reform Order of 2006 says that for general fire inspections, a responsible person can carry this out. This can be the manager of a building, the owner, or any trusted person who can evaluate, record and properly consider each step of a fire safety inspection.
While a non-professional can carry out these inspections, you will also need to consult a professional for a full inspection, so they can properly evaluate any risks and sign your building off as being safe.
How Often Do You Have to Do a Fire Safety Inspection?
There is no official time which businesses have to have a fire safety inspection, although the government says this needs to be done regularly and kept up-to-date. For most businesses, this means an annual inspection, as well as employing professionals every few years to do a full fire safety check and properly evaluate any hazards.
On top of annual inspections carried out by a responsible person, you will need to employ a professional to carry out a full inspection every 4 years. This is to ensure that all hazards have been identified and considered, as well as the right action plans put in place to ensure everyone in the building is safe and understands what to do in case of a fire.
For buildings that are 3 stories or more, they will need to be professionally assessed for fire risks every 3 years, rather than every 4. This is only because buildings with more stories are harder to navigate and are usually more complex in terms of risks, so more regular inspections will ensure it remains safe in case a fire does occur.
The 5 Steps of Fire Safety Inspections
These steps are something that needs to be considered during every fire safety inspection. If you are the responsible person in your building, they can be a useful resource and if you are expecting a professional fire inspector soon, they can give you a good idea of what to expect from them.
Identify Who Is at Risk
If a fire does occur, then everyone in the building will be at risk. An important part of the inspection is to identify any vulnerable people and what you can do to ensure they can evacuate safely if there is a fire hazard. Vulnerable people could include the elderly, anyone with a disability and children too.
Evaluate and Remove Risks
Next, make sure everyone can evacuate, use the stairs and that no objects are blocking wheelchairs from evacuating. These are all good points to consider when inspecting. Consider how each group of vulnerable people could navigate their way to the fire exits and if there are any barriers stopping them.
If you do identify any risks, remove them and ensure these risks won’t be here in the future. This could mean changing how you arrange the stock room, checking you have fire extinguishers presents for example, or changing the floor layout of a room.
Record What You Find
Making a note of your findings, if there were any risks you identified and what you did to remedy the situation, is incredibly important. This proves that a fire risk assessment was performed and that every aspect of the building was considered safe.
It also helps you to make the building safer, displaying and highlighting to manage potential risks and issues.
Create an Emergency Plan and Train Employees
Every building will need an emergency plan and once you have looked at potential risks, you can then think about creating one. Consider how people from each office or space can safely evacuate and that each person has been trained.
Ensuring everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency is also an important part of the inspection. Employees will need to be trained, you can even perform a simple fire drill to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Don’t forget to keep on top of your fire safety to ensure your building stays safe. If there is a significant change in the layout or structure of your building, then an inspection will need to be done straight after this.
Professional Fire Safety Inspections With UKSM
Although annual inspections can be done by a responsible person in your building, you will need to hire a professional fire inspector every 3 to 4 years. UKSM can help, as we have a team of highly qualified people who can carry out a fire risk assessment and have plenty of experience under their belt.
They will perform a more in-depth inspection, going into the fine details and analysing each aspect of your building. They will produce a report that certifies your building as safe and in line with government guidelines. They can also offer useful advice on training employees and how to make your building safer for vulnerable people.