Do I Need a Fire Risk Assessment?
When managing a property, it is imperative to control fire risks of all kinds. How exactly do you go about doing this though? When it comes to controlling fire risks, the first action you need to take is actually identifying the risks. To do this, you need a Fire Risk Assessment. If you aren’t familiar with Fire Risk Assessments or you aren’t sure if you need one or not, then fear not, we will talk you through it below.
What is a fire risk assessment?
Many people will have heard the term ‘fire risk assessment’ but having a basic understanding, if you manage a property, isn’t enough. You need to know what it is, who it’s meant for, why it’s important and how to do it.
Let’s start with a definition.
A Fire Risk Assessment is a legal demand for all non-domestic premises to assess their potential fire risks. The goal of the risk assessment is to identify the buildings fire risks but also to provide recommendations on how to manage those risks and increase safety.
The assessment doesn’t necessarily have to be a document. If there are fewer than 5 occupants in a building then the assessment doesn’t have to be written down. However, we suggest doing so as it clearest way to communicate the risks and recommendations to staff.
Do I need a Fire Risk Assessment?
For non-domestic properties, a Fire Risk Assessment is a legal requirement that can result in lofty fines or a prison sentence, if not correctly implemented.
The current fire safety legislation (The Regulatory Reform Order 2005) states that the responsibility for fire safety in non-domestic premises falls upon ‘the responsible person’. It is the ‘responsible person’, or the person who has control of the premises, to ensure that fire safety standards are met at all times.
The order states that "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."
There is a legal responsibility for the ‘responsible person to have a Fire Risk Assessment in place. So if that’s you, make sure you have yours!
Imagine this, the responsibility for fire risk in your building is placed upon you. But, you haven’t carried out a thorough risk assessment, so some risks are not being managed. If this was you then the fire authorities have a duty to enforce compliance with the regulations.
This means that they could serve a notice on you, or, if worst comes to worst, you could face prosecutions, fines and imprisonment. Hopefully, the last sentence got your attention! Fire safety shouldn’t be taken lightly.
So, now you know the importance of Fire Risk Assessment and why you need to have one in place. We will now look at certain guidelines that you need to follow in order to be complicit with the fire safety regulations. One of the most important guidelines is how often you review the Fire Risk Assessment.
This means that completing an assessment once five years ago and never updating it simply will not suffice! We suggest that after you have undertaken an assessment, you then review it every year from then on. After 5 years, however, you will need to carry out a brand new assessment, so make sure you know the date when one was carried out.
Changes in the layout or structure of the building will also result in the need to carry out a fire risk assessment review. Be aware of any changes in your buildings such as the purpose, layout or the occupants as these will generally make a difference to your fire safety plans.
Reviewing and making recommendations towards fire risks are the fundamental parts of the Fire Risk Assessment. The review entails the ‘responsible person’ assessing the fire safety of the properly against a number of points. The recommendations will then put together action steps to ensure those risks are managed and the property is fire safety compliant.
If you need a fire risk assessment in the North West please get in touch with Parr Fire Protection Services. We can ensure that your business is fully compliant and make sure that your staff are able to deal with any situation safely.