What Is A Fire Risk Assessment And Who Is Responsible?

A fire risk assessment includes measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of a potential fire whilst identifying persons at risk. The process of a fire risk assessment is to identify and evaluate the factors determining the hazards of a fire as well as the likelihood and potential consequences if the worst was to happen. 

It’s also required to identify who could be at risk as well as prepare an emergency plan, which might include the emergency routes and exits, the evacuation plan, fire detection systems, fire fighting equipment that is likely to be needed and also training that can be provided for members of staff so that they can protect themselves if a fire does break out in your premises.

Fire risk assessments are often overlooked by businesses despite them being essential to protect a company, its employees and also its premises from the detrimental impact of a fire whilst making the premises a much safer place. Based on the findings of an assessment, an employer will need to ensure that adequate fire safety measures are introduced to minimise the risks.

At UK Safety Management, we understand the critical importance of protecting your business with a fire risk assessment, however, many businesses are unlikely to understand the purpose and regulations behind the assessment. We’ve put together this guide to explain what fire risk assessments are, when you’ll need to have one, who can complete the assessment and also how often it should be carried out.

Does my business need a Fire Risk Assessment?

One of our frequently asked questions is if a fire risk assessment is really needed and which businesses the regulations apply to. To comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005), any business with non-domestic premises must carry out a fire risk assessment, providing there are more than five occupants.

In other words, if your business has five or more people, you must have a written record of your fire risk assessment which describes in detail the risks and appropriate methods to prevent these risks from occurring. 

Whilst this does mean that a business with less than five employees doesn’t require this assessment, there are some situations whereby organisations will need an assessment despite having less than five employees.

The reasons for this are commonly due to the premises needing a licence or being instructed by the fire emergency services that this assessment is required.

Who is responsible for completing a Fire Risk Assessment?

The Regulatory Reform Order (2005) requires a responsible person within the business to carry out a fire risk assessment. By law, there are there no rules as to who carries this out, however, it must be someone competent enough to complete a sensible and sufficient assessment of the premises.

This chosen person must have the understanding of the measures that can be used to reduce any risks of fire whilst having an awareness of fire safety measures that can be implemented, including fixed wire testing, emergency light testing, fire alarm servicing, fire extinguisher servicing, gas safety checks and PAT testing.

If you lack the expertise or time to carry out this assessment, you must seek a professional risk assessor. Businesses with larger or complex premises may also require having a professional fire risk assessment carried out as the fire risk assessment tends to be more complicated and needs more consideration and planning.

 

How often should a Fire Risk Assessment be carried out?

Technically, there are no rules on how often a fire risk assessment should be carried out, as this is dependent on the size and nature of your business. This solely depends on what type of equipment will be used in your premises, so it’s well worth consulting fire safety experts to determine the frequency your business should have their fire risk assessments carried out.

The Regulatory Reform Order (2005) states that your fire risk assessment must be kept up-to-date and updated if there are any significant changes to the workplace, for example, an increase in the number of employees working in your premises or any renovation work undertaken.

As leading health and safety consultants, at UK Safety Management, we recommend carrying out fire risk assessments on an annual basis, which is subject to regular review. Of course, this is dependent on your business, as you may benefit from having this assessment more (or even less) frequently.

What if I fail to have a Fire Risk Assessment?

Failing to implement any fire safety measures will have a detrimental impact on your business. However, failing to have a fire risk assessment and not having suitable fire safety precautions implemented will result in your company facing significant fines.

In extreme cases whereby a fire does break out and you are proven to be negligent, you may even face a prison sentence.

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As a business owner your responsibility is to ensure that anyone entering your premises is safe from the risks of a fire. This is why you must protect your business using fire safety protection measures to comply with health and safety legislations whilst you also save lives.

At UK Safety Management, we’re leading health and safety consultants and we have provided essential fire safety servicing for electrical safety and fire safety for over ten years. Our workplace safety services are tried, tested, trusted and proven. 

We serve a large and varied client base including Landlords, Architects, Developers, Consultants, Local Authorities and Housing Associations, so in other words, no job is too big or too small.

To receive a quote tailored to the needs of your business, please get in touch with us today. We have friendly people ready to help you.

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