Fire is a major threat to businesses not only from a life safety perspective but also from asset loss, be it buildings, equipment or information. A fire risk assessment is your first step towards managing these risks.
Under the duties of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and the requirements of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, it is important for every workplace to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all persons that enter their premises. As fire can be so devastating, specific legislation is in force that seeks to minimise its consequences.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force on 1 October 2006. This clearly puts responsibility for fire safety management with employers and those who control premises, and Article 9 includes the specific requirement to risk assess, namely:
“9.— (1) The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him by or under this Order.”
The simple aim of a Fire Risk Assessment is to identify any significant risks in the workplace and work activities that could cause harm to people. It confirms if the correct precautions are in place or if further action is required to avoid harm to people and property. The risk assessment itself is a five-step process:
- Step 1 - Identify the hazards - Identify the hazards, including all sources of ignition and fuel and any work processes.
- Step 2 - Identify persons exposed to risk - Decide who may be in danger during a fire in the workplace or while they are trying to escape, e.g. employees, visitors, contractors.
- Step 3 - Evaluate the risks - Evaluate the risks from the identified hazards and decide whether existing precautions are adequate. Decide whether action is required to completely remove the hazard, if practicable, or to control and manage the risks more effectively.
- Step 4 - Record the findings and actions taken - Inform all employees of the actions taken.
- Step 5 - Review the assessment - Review the assessment at regular intervals or when a change occurs in the workplace or work activity.
In our risk assessment, hazards are measured against Articles 8-23 of Part 2 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and carried out by trained and qualified fire risk assessors with the intention of providing you with a strategic understanding of your current fire life safety provisions.