Most fires are preventable. Those responsible for workplaces and other buildings to which the public have access can avoid them by taking responsibility for and adopting the right behaviours and procedures.
Employers (and/or building owners and occupiers) must carry out a Fire Safety Risk Assessment and keep it up to date. This shares the same approach as Health and Safety Risk Assessment, and can be carried out either as part of an overall risk assessment or as a separate exercise.
|What is a fire risk assessment?||A fire risk assessment is a process involving the systematic evaluation of the factors that determine the hazard from fire, the likelihood that there will be a fire and the consequence if one were to occur.|
|Is it required by Law?||Yes. There are a few exceptions.
The Law states that the responsible person for each property is required to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment each year and remove any risks or reduce them as much as possible.
The "responsible person" is defined as the person/s who owns or controls the business and/or in the case of multi-occupied buildings the owner of the property, and it is their responsibility to ensure that a Fire Risk Assessment is carried out on a regular basis.
|The Regulations||Since 1st October 2006, all employers/owners/occupiers, (the responsible person), have a legal obligation under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (RRFSO) 2005, to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment at their premises.
The Fire Safety (Employees' Capabilities) (England) Regulations 2010, an additional piece of legislation of the RRFSO 2005 was released on 6th April 2010.
The new regulations states "Employer to take employees' capabilities into consideration. Every employer must, in entrusting tasks to employees, take into account their capabilities with regards to Health and Safety, so far as those capabilities relate to fire."
So, employers will now have to consider what a worker is able and unable to do when giving those tasks and how these capabilities may affect their ability to deal with fire-related risk assessments and nominated fire wardens or marshals.
The person carrying out the Fire Risk Assessment should be competent to do so. A competent person may be regarded as a person with sufficient training and experience, knowledge or other qualities, to enable him or her to carry out a defined task.
|Can I carry this out myself?||Yes, if you consider you have the competence to do so.
We are normally employed either when a client does not have the necessary competence or when they do not have the time or resources to conduct the risk assessments themselves.
|When is a Fire Risk Assessment needed?||Periodically (annually is usual).
After significant changes (increases in staff numbers or changes in floor layouts).
If an assessment is considered no longer valid.
After a fire.
|What penalties and fines are there for not having a Fire Risk Assessment?||Failure to undertake regular Fire Risk Assessments is not only a risk to your business, your people and your customers, but can land you in Court. If there is a fire or if the premises have been identified to be a risk, then a lack of an appropriate Fire Risk Assessment and suitable precautions can result in prosecution with severe fines and, in cases of extreme negligence, prison terms.
Whatever the case, a lack of a Fire Risk Assessment and obvious measures to reduce risk and enhance safety, can be damaging in so many ways. And even if you can afford the fine (which can be tens to hundreds times more than the cost of the assessment), then the publicity can be very bad for business.