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Fire Risk Assessment

Fire Risk Assessment

Fire safety Law, requires employers to complete a fire risk assessment that looks at removing and reducing the risk of fire.  A Fire Risk Assessment should be continuously reviewed and updated. It is good practice to review it annually. The assessment documentation along with site based procedures must be kept as a working document.

Each year people die or are seriously injured as a result of fires at work. Besides loss of life, fire costs UK businesses 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.

In October 2006 stringent rules introduced in England, Scotland and Wales, 2006 Fire Safety Order (October 2006) requires employers and building owners to:

  • Ensure that suitable fire protection is provided for all premises.
  • Take measures to protect their premises and those in it from the dangers of fire.
  • Have fire detection and alarm systems that are designed, installed, commissioned and maintained by a professional third party certificated company.

The Fire Safety Order 2006 consolidated over 100 pieces of existing fire safety legislation. Fire certificates are no longer required and the emphasis is on preventing fires and reducing risk. Anyone who has some control over premises must take reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire. The regulations apply to all non-domestic premises. This legal obligation is placed on the person in charge of the workplace and is enforced by your local Fire Authority.

Our Fire Risk Assessments are designed to meet the specific requirements of your premises and will meet all the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2006. Our assessments are qualitative in design and format, providing a systematic look at the possible sources of fire in the workplace, the dangers that fire poses to those who use the workplace and how the risk and spread of fire can be minimised. Once the required risks have been identified, the changes must be implemented.

  • If you employ 5 or more people your findings and actions should be fully documented
  • The Fire Brigade now actively enforce the regulations through ad hoc inspections

For further information on the new legislation see Regulatory Reform Order 2005 & the requirements for the ‘responsible person’.

When did you last complete a Fire Risk Assessment?

Don’t let your Fire Risk Assessment slip. Under UK Fire Safety Law, employers must carry out a Fire Risk Assessment that looks at removing and reducing the risk of fire. Your Fire Risk Assessment should be reviewed and updated continuously to keep it a ‘live’ document. In particular, it should be updated following any change in premises, processes or the number of people employed or if you’ve had a close call or a real fire. It is essential to review it at intervals not exceeding 12 months.

If your Fire Risk Assessment is not up to date don’t delay and make contact with the team at Artisan Fire & Security today.

Who is Responsible for Fire Safety?

Everyone who enters your business premises - employees, customers, contractors or other visitors - should ensure fire safety. However, each non-domestic premises now has a legally-designated 'responsible person' who must arrange for a risk assessment, identify any possible fire risks and deal with them.

It will usually be obvious who the responsible person is, although sometimes several people will share the responsibility - for example in shared premises or larger businesses. The responsible person will be someone who has control over premises, or over some areas, departments or systems. For example, it could be:

  • the owner, employer or manager of a business
  • the owner or managing agent of premises which are shared between a number of businesses
  • individuals within a multiple-occupancy building, such as self-employed people or
  • voluntary organisations if they control someone within the premises

You should establish who the responsible person is within your business or premises.

Where there is more than one person responsible for a premises, they are expected to:

  • co-operate with the other responsible persons so far as is necessary to comply with the regulations
  • co-ordinate with the other responsible persons' measures required to comply with the regulations
  • share information with each other

The 'responsible person' is someone who has control, or a degree of control, over premises or fire-prevention systems within premises. If you are the responsible person, you must make sure that everyone who uses your premises can escape if there is a fire.

The people you need to think about include anyone who might be on your premises, including employees, visitors or members of the public. You need to pay particular attention to those who may need special help, such as elderly or disabled people or children.

You must:

  • carry out a fire-risk assessment and identify possible dangers and risks
  • think about who might be particularly at risk - you may have disabled employees, or people who work with hazardous chemicals
  • get rid of the risk from fire, as far as reasonably possible
  • put in place fire precautions to deal with any risks that remain
  • make sure there is protection if you use or store flammable or explosive materials
  • have a plan to deal with emergencies
  • record your findings and review them as and when necessary

If you are the responsible person, you must make sure that the fire-risk assessment is carried out. You can appoint some other competent person to do the actual assessment, but you are still responsible in law.

In many small or less complex premises achieving an acceptable level of fire safety is likely to be a matter of common sense providing the responsible person makes enough time available to go through all the necessary steps.

The enforcing authority, which is usually the local fire authority, must be satisfied with your safety measures. If not, they will tell you what you need to do. If they find major problems they can serve an enforcement notice requiring you to improve safety or even restrict the use of your premises or close them altogether until you deal with any problems they raise.

Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order

In all premises that are not single private dwellings, the responsible person must carry out an assessment to remove or reduce risks.

Providing the premises have been built and maintained in accordance with Building Regulations and the use of the workplace can be described as normal risk or lower, undertaking a risk assessment will be a simple matter and is unlikely to cause significant expenditure. If however, the premises are not in accordance with the above categories and are classified as a high risk, substantial action may be necessary and an action plan should be produced and implemented based on the complexity, size, occupancy and consequential risks.

The guidance provided in the fire safety risk assessment and guides published by the Government will indicate how to comply with the fire regulations. The guides are published to allow premises and their ‘responsible persons’ to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. These guides will allow you to comply with the Fire Regulations, current & future.

The responsible person can enlist the help of other people who have the necessary experience or skills and competence to carry out part or all of the risk assessment. This 'competent' person (possibly a current employee with knowledge of safety and company working practices) does not have to be an expert, but they need to have sufficient experience and training with regard to the problems they are advising on.

The responsible person always remains accountable for the outcome. This is worth remembering, should you require help with your risk assessment.

Should your completed fire risk assessment result in the production of an action plan indicating that significant works or expenditure are necessary, contact your local Fire Safety Department and a Fire Safety Officer will advise you, to ensure you are undertaking the most effective method of complying with the regulations for your particular workplace.

What are the requirements?

Employers are required to:

  • Carry out a fire risk assessment
  • Monitor & Review the risk assessment & revise as appropriate
  • Inform staff or their representatives of the risks
  • Plan for an emergency
  • Provide staff information and training
  • Nominate people to assist

Employers are required to provide and maintain: (to the extent that it is appropriate as determined by the fire risk assessment)

  • Means For detecting & giving warning in case of fire
  • Emergency lighting
  • Means of escape
  • Fire safety signs
  • Firefighting equipment

Above source: is taken from Lancashire fire rescue website

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