What is a PAS 79 Fire Risk Assessment?

Making sure your business is carrying out routine Fire Risk Assessments as well as staying on top of your everyday HR and Health & Safety duties can feel overwhelming – but that doesn’t mean it can be avoided!

PAS 79 outlines nine key stages for carrying out a thorough Fire Risk Assessment which you should follow, and which we follow here at Citation Fire & Electrical:

    1. Gathering information and data about the premises, including the procedures carried out in the structure as well as the people either present or likely to be
    2. Identification of fire hazards and their control or elimination processes
    3. Assessment of the likelihood of a fire breaking out
    4. Determination of the fire protection measures that are present
    5. Obtaining all the necessary information about the premises’ fire safety management
    6. Assessment of the most likely consequences to individuals if a fire breaks out
    7. Assessment of the premises’ overall fire risk/rating
    8. Preparation and documentation of an action plan
    9. A definitive date for a review of your Fire Risk Assessment

To make sure your business leaves no stone unturned when it comes to your fire safety, our professionals have compiled a list of things you should consider when assessing the risks in your business.

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1. Check for Fire Hazards

Whether your business is based in an office, restaurant, warehouse or shop, you’re going to have potential fire hazards that need your attention. Some examples of possible fire hazards that will need managing in your setting include, but are not limited to:

  • Plug sockets and cables
  • Fixed or portable heating appliances
  • Electrical equipment such as computers, printers, and photocopiers
  • Light fixtures
  • Hot processes such as welding and abrasion
  • Flammable liquids and vapours.

 

2. Assess the People at Risk

Now you’ve established the fire hazards in your business, you need to look at who’s most at risk. Depending on your business type, you might be legally responsible for more than just your employees, this may include visitors to your building which will affect your Fire Risk Assessment.

    1. Is your premises open to the public? Examples include galleries, museums, libraries, theatres, concert venues etc.
    2. Do you employ people to work in your business temporarily? Examples might include contractors, seasonal workers, interns, vendors etc.
    3. Are any of the people on your premises classed as vulnerable?

 

3. Evaluate the Act

Now you’ve covered the above two stages of your Fire Risk Assessment, you need to evaluate your findings, assess the likelihood of a fire breaking out, and think of the potential risks to your people and business if it was to happen. This stage is split into two subcategories – preparing for the actions to take when a fire breaks out and the actions to take to prevent a fire from breaking out.

Examples of actions to take to prevent a fire from breaking out include (but are not limited to):

  • If you find that a particular socket is overloaded, can you use an extension lead instead?
  • If you use chemicals such as cleaning products in your business, can you store them somewhere that’s far away from all heat sources?
  • Instead of propping a fire door open to promote ventilation, can you open a window?

Examples of actions to prepare for when a fire breaks out include (but are not limited to):

  • Do you have a clear, communicated emergency evacuation plan in place where everybody on the premises can reach a point of safety quickly in the event of an emergency? This plan should include vulnerable people who may need assistance in the event of an emergency evacuation.
  • Who’s in charge of liaising with the fire safety services on behalf of your business?
  • Have you established safe escape routes and communicated them to your employees?
  • Is your firefighting equipment in good working condition? i.e., fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire sprinklers etc.

These are just a few examples of ways you can prevent a fire from breaking out and how you can prepare for what actions to take when a fire breaks out. Once you’ve gathered the ‘what ifs’ and matched them with the appropriate fire solutions, you’re ready to reflect them in your paperwork and training.

 

4. Record, Plan and Train

Documenting your Fire Risk Assessment is your legal responsibility especially if you employ five or more persons, so it’s important it’s tightknit and everything’s covered! By everything we mean:

    1. Record your fire hazards and risks
    2. Have a clear plan on how to manage them
    3. Make sure your Fire Risk Assessment and any changes are communicated to the appropriate employees so they can stay up to date with their fire safety training.

 

5. Review

The final stage is to review your Fire Risk Assessment so everyone on your premises stays safe, and your business remains compliant with PAS 79 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

As an employer, you need to make sure your Fire Risk Assessment is revisited every year or if there are any significant changes to your business such as:

  • A change in capacity or occupancy
  • A change to activities or operations
  • Structural alterations to your building’s layout or extensions
  • Introduced new chemicals or flammable materials

This five-stage checklist is just a broad overview of your responsibilities under PAS 79 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005- so it’s important you’re familiar and compliant with the fire safety standards, and you can follow them confidently.

 

How we can help

As a BAFE accredited fire safety compliance provider, carrying out Fire Risk Assessments is our bread and butter especially as we’ve supported thousands of clients nationwide with theirs.

Along with conducting Fire Risk Assessments for UK businesses, we also test and maintain fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and emergency lighting systems so they stay in good repair and are maintained to keep you on the right side of the law and your people stay safe.

To book your Fire Risk Assessment with us, get in touch with our consultants to receive a no-obligation quote by calling 0800 055 6559 or by filling out our enquiry form.

 

 

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