Fire Risk Assessments became compulsory on 1st October 2006, under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. It is a LEGAL requirement for Business Operators to undertake Fire Risk Assessments. The legislation specifies that it is the Business Owner or Controller who is responsible for Fire Safety and Fire Risk Assessments and not just the Property Owner. The Fire Safety Order reforms Fire Safety Law in non domestic premises in England and Wales, it replaces Fire Certification under the Fire Precautions Act 1971.
The main duty holder under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the ‘Responsible Person’ in relation to the premises. The duty of the Responsible Person are extended to any person who has, to any extent, control of the premises and to the extent to which they have control. This would include Landlords, Facilities Managers, Employers Occupying Premises, etc. You need to appoint one or more ‘Competent Persons’ to carry out the Fire Risk Assessment and any of the preventive and protective measures needed to comply with the Fire Safety Order. The Competent Person could be you, or an appropriately trained employee or one of our competent Fire Safety Consultants can fulfil this role for your organisation.
The Fire Risk Assessment
A Fire Risk Assessment will help you determine the chances of a fire starting and the dangers from fire that your premises present for the people who use them and any person in the immediate vicinity.
It must take the whole of your premises into account, including areas that may be infrequently used. If your premises are small then it may be able to assess them as a whole. In some premises it may be necessary to divide them into a series of assessment areas or zones using natural boundaries.
It is important that the fire risk assessment is carried out in a practical and systematic way. Government Guidance suggest that there are five steps needed to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment, they are:
- Identify Fire Hazards
- Identify People At Risk
- Evaluate, Remove, Reduce and Protect from Risk
- Record, Plan, Inform, Instruct and Train
In practical terms you Fire Risk Assessment is likely to contain more than five sections and should include:
- Premises Particulars
- General Statement of Policy
- Management Systems
- General Description of Premises
- Fire Safety Systems within the premises
- Plan Drawing
- Fire Hazards
- People at Risk
- Means of Escape (Horizontal Evacuation)
- Means of Escape (Vertical Evacuation)
- Fire Safety Signs and Notices
- Fire Warning System
- Emergency lighting
- Fire Fighting Equipment
- Method of calling the Fire Service
- Emergency Action Plan
- Record of Fire Safety Deficiencies
- Significant Findings
- Additional Hazards
Your fire risk assessment should demonstrate that, as far as is reasonable, you have considered the needs of all relevant people including those with disabilities or impairments which may prejudice their escape from the premises.
Under Health and Safety Law (enforced by the Health and Safety Executive or Local Authority) you are required to carry out Health and Safety Risk Assessments in respect of any work processes in your workplace and to take or observe appropriate special, technical or organisational measures. If your Health and Safety Risk Assessment identifies that these processes are likely to involve the risk of fire or the spread of fire then you will need to take this into account during your Fire Risk Assessment under the Fire Safety Order, and prioritise actions based on the level of risk.
Sharp Fire & Safety can provide a full Fire Risk Assessment service, using fully competent and experienced Fire Safety Consultants, for premises on a large or small scale, leaving you to run your business without worrying about compromising the safety of your employees.