How To Carry Out a Fire Risk Assessment
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Order) places the emphasis on risk reduction and fire prevention. Under the Order, persons responsible for commercial buildings, i.e. the employer, owner or any other person who has control of any part of the premises, are required to carry out a mandatory detailed fire risk assessment identifying the risks and hazards (the significant findings) in the premises. In addition, this resultant fire risk assessment must be recorded if you employ five or more persons. However, even if you employ less than five persons, good practice dictates that you record your five risk assessment. Completing a fire risk assessment is an important undertaking that must be carried out correctly to ensure that fire safety procedures, fire prevention measures and fire precautions are in place and functioning effectively. Good management of fire safety in the workplace will assist in ensuring that any hazards present are unlikely to result in a fire occurring and if they do occur, they can be contained in one area or the speed of fire spread delayed significantly. Even a small fire can cause enormous damage to life and property, which is why it is essential to complete the fire risk assessment on a regular basis. At present, a large number of companies make use of certified or registered fire risk assessors to execute the fire risk assessment on their behalf in a competent manner. If you are looking to commission a competent fire risk assessor, you will need to carry out due diligence to ensure that you select the right candidate or company. An inexperienced fire risk assessor may result in your fire risk assessment being ‘suitable and sufficient’ and thereby resulting in enforcement action by the Local Fire Authority under Article 9(1) of the Order. In addition, whenever your premises experience a ‘significant change’ or if this does not occur, it is important to review this fire risk assessment on a regular basis. One of the areas assessed is that of training and instruction provided to staff. One method of ensuring compliance is by providing fire safety training to your employees through fire safety training courses. You can find a wide range of fire safety training courses that are designed to educate staff in fire prevention, the use of different types of fire equipment and safety measures in an effective manner. There is no ‘one size fits all’ and employees are educated depending on the sector in which they are working. For example, if an employee is from the construction sector then he is trained on construction fire safety. Usually, fire training courses are tailored to offer basic practical knowledge regarding fire safety and to enable employees to understand their role with regards to fire safety. It’s time to know about how fire risk assessments are carried out in companies according to standard requirements. Generally, a fire risk assessment takes place in a sequential way. Professional fire risk assessors carry out the process strategically to ensure all the fire risk assessments are verified and documented.
The process will: Identify sources of fire hazards:
This is the initial step that must be performed thoroughly. Usually, a source of ignition, fuel and oxygen are required to trigger a fire. Removing or reducing these items on your premises can prevent fire from occurring. Identifying people at risk: You will need to identify the location of where people work throughout the premises, and to in addition, consider other persons who may be at risk, such as customers, contractors etc and where they are likely to be located. Particular attention should be paid to persons at special risk such as lone workers, people who are unfamiliar with the premises, people with disabilities or persons who may not be able to leave the premises quickly, other persons in the immediate vicinity of the premises and people with language difficulties. Evaluate, remove, reduce and protect from risk: By evaluating the risk of a fire occurring and the risk to persons, the next step is to remove or reduce the sources of ignition, fuel and oxygen. However, risk can never be completely eradicated, so now adequate preventative measures can now be implemented to mitigate the effects of the residual risk. Record, plan, inform, instruct and train: It is important to documentation the significant findings identified by the fire risk assessment and the actions taken. This will assist you in constructing a suitable emergency plan of which employees are then informed of. However, this plan will prove to be ineffective unless staff are instructed and trained in its use and additionally, in good fire safety practice. Review: It is essential that you continually monitor what you are doing to implement the fire risk assessment to assess how effectively the risk is being controlled. If you have any reason to suspect that your fire risk assessment is no longer valid or there has been a significant change in your premises that has affected your fire precautions, you will need to review your assessment and if necessary amend it.