Fire Risk Assessments
The responsible person must carry out regular fire risk assessment of the premises. This will help identify what needs to be done to prevent a fire and keep people safe. You must keep a written record of all fire risk assessments that are carried out if your business has five or more people.
Here are some simple steps to help you carry out your assessment:
Step 1: Identify the fire hazard
The main two questions you should be asking yourself when identifying fire hazards are:-
- How could a fire start (heaters, lighting, naked flames etc.)? And;
- What could burn (packaging, furniture etc.)?
A Fire starts when heat (source of ignition) comes into contact with fuel (anything that burns) and air. Sources of ignition and fuel should be kept apart.
Step 2: Identify people at risk
Everyone is at risk if there is a fire. However the risk might be greater for some due to when or where they work (such as night staff or visitors) Children, the elderly or disabled people are also vulnerable so measures should be put in place, such as evacuation equipment.
Step 3: Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
Evaluate what you have found in the first two steps, remove and reduce the risk by thinking about what steps you can put in place to avoid accidental fires. Take action to protect your premises and people from fire.
Step 4: Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
Keep a record of any fire hazards and how you will reduce or remove them. If your premises are small, a record is a good idea. If you have five or more staff, then you must keep a record. You must have a clear plan of how to prevent fire and to keep people safe in a case of a fire. You will also need to make sure that your staff know what to do in case of a fire, which can be done by practicing a fire drill.
Step 5: Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly
Make sure that your risk assessments are under regular review as the risks may change. When changes are made, you should inform others who share the premises so they can be retrained.
You can do fire risk assessments yourself. However if you do not have the expertise or time to do the fire risk assessment yourself, you need to appoint a ‘competent person’ to write this for you e.g. a professional risk assessor.
Your local fire and rescue authority can give you advice if you do not think your risk assessment is being carried out properly. However they cannot carry it out for you.