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What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

What Is A Fire Risk Assessment?

Fire Risk Assessment - Your Responsibility

"What is a Fire Risk Assessment" is the second most researched question on our website.  Let's get to the bare bones -

A Fire Risk Assessment involves a physical inspection of the building to determine the adequacy of the existing fire precautions and the need for any additional measures. It is a process involving the systematic evaluation of all factors in the workplace, in order to determine:

  • the hazard from fire,
  • the likelihood that there will be a fire and
  • the consequences if one were to occur
  • who is at risk
  • what can be done to reduce or eliminate the hazard

An assessment is necessary in virtually all buildings in England and Wales, other than domestic dwellings, and a written record of the findings and actions must be kept if there are 5 employees or more.  It is not carried out for property protection, but for life protection.

Carrying out the assessment.

The assessment process has 5 steps:

  1. Identify the fire hazards.
  2. Identify people at risk.
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks.
  4. Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training.
  5. Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly.

There are guides available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fire-safety-law-and-guidance-documents-for-business, and the checklist blow is also a useful tool.

Fire Risk Assessment Check List

Who can carry out the assessment?

In a nutshell any one can carry out an assessment, however if a business owner decides to assess the premises, he or she needs to be deemed current and competent in fire safety or appoint a ‘competent person’ to help, eg a professional risk assessor, if they don’t have the expertise or experience.  If the Fire Service inspect the premises, they will expect to find a Fire Risk Assessment that is suitable and sufficient.  If not, notice may be served and the assessment process revisited.

Is it worth avoiding professional help?  Getting it done right the first time is always the best option.  Engaging professional help means:

  1. The business owner can get on with running the business, avoiding lost time and productivity.
  2. Professional help doesn't need to be expensive, and can ensure the most up to date standards are applied.
  3. At the end of the day fire destroys lives and futures.  Is saving a few quid really worth the risk?

Nobody really expects a fire to happen to them - fires always happen to other people.  Carrying out the Fire Risk Assessment is a start to the responsible management of fire safety in the work place. It not only helps you comply with the law, it will keep you safer and protect your property and business.

For further help or advice on fire safety in the workplace, call Fire Safety Specialists on 01246 434 314.

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