A guide to Fire Risk Assessments

It’s estimated that there are 15,000 fires in businesses across the UK every year. Behind those figures lies financial ruin, lost lives and a host of businesses lost. It’s serious stuff.

Prevention starts by taking responsibility

Fire prevention, employee safety and the security of every business starts with a Fire Risk Assessment. If you are an employer, owner, landlord, occupier or someone in control (like a facilities manager) of non-domestic premises, a Fire Risk Assessment is a legal requirement. Complying with regulations and implementing the right processes and procedures is a must!

When does a Fire Risk Assessment need to be reviewed?

Your Fire Risk Assessment should be reviewed annually or after any significant changes are made within your business that could compromise your fire safety, like:

  • Alterations to the building’s layout or extensions
  • Changes to staff numbers or occupancy rates
  • Activities and operational changes
  • Legislation updates When changes are made, a simple action plan is created with follow up actions. Importantly, the findings of the review must be documented.

Identifying hazards and people at risk

A Fire Risk Assessment initially reviews the fire risks and those it might affect. In order to spread, fire needs a source of ignition and a source of fuel. So, identifying both of these elements and keeping them separate from each other is vital to reduce any risk.

Sources of ignition include:

  • Naked flames or sparks
  • Electrical equipment
  • Chemical processes
  • Frictional heat
  • Electrostatic discharges

Sources of fuel:

  • Oxygen
  • Combustible materials (wood, paper etc.)
  • Chemicals and solvents

Review employee safety by assessing everyone individually, and looking at their physical strength and fitness, place of work, job function and location. For example, does their workstation or environment impair a safe and swift evacuation? Is mobility or physical ability going to present a challenge in certain situations? Careful consideration should be given to how the risk of fire may affect employees, contract workers, visitors and members of the public.

Evaluating fire measures and implementing a plan

With the right planning, you can identify all aspects of fire safety and take the right action to keep your business safe. Any procedures you outline stemming from your Fire Risk Assessment should cover three core areas:

  1. Fire detection and warning
  2. Means of escape
  3. Provision of fire-fighting equipment

Processes and responsibilities should be built into your plan, including training and staff communications around fire safety duties and guidance. Ongoing management, a review of the processes and keeping up-to-date records is a never-ending process and has to be done with due diligence and an understanding of the implications of non-compliance.

FIND OUT MORE

If you’ve got any questions about how to complete a Fire Risk Assessment and how to consistently review your records and amend your plan to reflect any changes, remember you can always call the Citation Fire & Electrical team to discuss your needs.