A fire risk assessment isn’t just something we recommend that every business and landlord does, it is required by law under The Fire Safety Order 2005. A fire risk assessment is necessary to create a fire safety policy in a non-domestic building, it ensures that all eventualities are reviewed, in order to protect not only the building, but the people in it.
We’re going to look at why exactly it is so important, and the reasons why you should have your fire risk assessment reviewed on a regular basis.
What is a fire risk assessment?
The designated Responsible Person in a business has a duty to ensure that a fire risk assessment is carried out, otherwise they can be prosecuted. A government report for fire prevention and protection statistics states that in 2017/18 there were 15,572 unsatisfactory fire safety audits and this resulted in 14,734 informal notifications. The report also states that 2,246 formal notices were issued too.
To avoid being prosecuted due to poor fire safety standards, take a look at our article Fire Safety Laws That Your Business Should Be Following.
The risk assessment must identify fire hazards and people at risk and evaluate or remove the risks. It reviews:
- emergency routes and exits
- fire detection and warning systems
- firefighting equipment
- the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
- an emergency fire evacuation plan
- the needs of vulnerable people (for example, the elderly, young children or those with disabilities)
- providing information to employees and other people on the premises
- staff fire safety training
The importance of completing a fire risk assessment
There are a lot of reasons why completing the risk assessment is important, and not just because this is the law. The assessment ensures that you have the best possible fire safety policy, and this could potentially mean saving lives. It can be tempting to push fire safety to the back of your mind when it isn’t an immediate threat, but the reality is that a fire could happen at any time. According to the government report of fire statistics, there were 253 fire-related fatalities last year, and fire risk assessments can help to lower this number.
Completing a fire risk assessment gives you peace of mind, knowing that all of the risks have been identified and the area has been made a safer space because of it. You won’t need to worry about any potential hazards, because it will all be taken care of. That being said, regularly reviewing your fire risk assessment is very important too.
Why you need to have your fire risk assessment regularly reviewed
So, you did your risk assessment and built a policy from it, what’s next? Hopefully, you won’t have to do anything for a while, but eventually a new risk assessment will be required. This is another requirement by law, although when exactly it is required is not stated. The law does state ‘Any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date’ under regulation 9 of the Fire Safety Order 2005. It is particularly important if there have been any changes in the business, or if it has been a while. Here are just a few reasons why you would need to update your fire risk assessment.
1. Something may have happened to invalidate your fire risk assessment
Despite every effort, fires do sometimes occur, but hopefully the damage will be minimal if a fire risk assessment is carried out properly. Unfortunately, this means that the assessment might no longer be valid and will need to be reviewed.
The incident may have highlighted errors in the original assessment and reviewing it means you can make it better, so that a fire doesn’t happen again. You will also need to replace any equipment you used, such as extinguishers, and this will need to be considered in the assessment.
2. Circumstances are always changing, so you fire risk assessment should too
There’s no telling what tomorrow will bring, circumstances are always changing. This might include moving an organisation or hiring new staff, among other things that would affect the validity of your fire risk assessment.
If you move, you will need to conduct a new risk assessment to identity the hazards in the new space and make sure that you have all of the equipment you need. When there has been a change in staff, you may need to review your assessment in order to adjust training if necessary. Making sure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire is of the utmost importance.
3. Equipment needs to be checked to ensure it is not faulty
Faulty equipment will be extremely dangerous if a fire occurs and it doesn’t work. Conducting regular fire risk assessments will also help you to keep track of servicing your alarms and extinguishers and ensuring they’re in working order. When you review potential hazards, you should also consider whether you have all the right equipment.
Make sure you’re always prepared
Don’t get caught out by a fire or by the law, and make sure that you are always prepared for the worst. A comprehensive fire risk assessment that’s regularly reviewed can save lives.
Our engineers here at Fireline have the expertise and accreditation to compile a Fire Risk Assessment for your organisation. All of our Fire Risk Assessors are qualified to the highest standards. Find out more here and book your assessment today.
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