What is a fire risk assessment?

It’s a careful look at your premises and the people who use them, from a fire prevention perspective. It’s about understanding the potential risks, then improving your fire safety precautions to keep people safe.

There are various types of fire risk assessments. These include intrusive and non-intrusive assessments. You should decide beforehand what type of assessment you require. An accredited fire risk assessor will be able to assist with this

What does a Fire Risk Assessment do?

A documented suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment will not only reduce the risk of fires occurring and ensure compliance with current fire legislation but will also ensure that you have appropriate precautions and safeguards in place to protect staff and visitors to the premises. It will also assist in complying with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales and the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006

What does it cover?

Some of the areas a fire risk assessment will cover are as follows:-

  • Fire Hazards
  • The occupants
  • Fire alarm and detection systems
  • Emergency escape lighting
  • Signage
  • Fire Prevention 
  • Storage and handling of flammable liquids or gas
  • Means of escape
  • Smoke control systems 
  • Fire procedures
  • Training and drills
  • Maintenance
  • Housekeeping

Who can carry out a Fire Risk Assessment?

This depends on the size and complexity of your premises. Only trained competent persons should carry out a fire risk assessment. As the Responsible Person of the premises you should ensure that the  fire risk assessor you choose is suitably qualified and has the requisite experience and knowledge. We would recommend that the fire risk assessor is third party accredited. At JSM Safety Solutions we are FRACS accredited and are on the Nationally Accredited Fire Risk Assessors Register (NAFRAR) as a Tier 3 Fire Risk Assessor.  This has been obtained by having experience in a variety of premises from residential, commercial, hotels, offices and retail with the requisite knowledge, qualifications and continuing personal development (CPD) that goes with it

Penalties for not having a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment

In order to ensure businesses and commercial sites are taking the right precautions and preventive measures, local fire and rescue services are able to visit and check up on your fire risk assessment, as well as the measures you have in place.

These visits can result in a number of outcomes, with many getting simple advice for suggested improvements to fire safety measures. However, there are consequences if the fire and rescue service do not deem the systems you have in place to be robust, or up to fire regulation standard. This includes having a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment

Whether you own or rent your commercial premises, you should be aware that there is no escape from fire safety legislation.

It is a legal requirement to undertake a fire risk assessment and to implement the required fire safety remedial works, highlighted by the assessment. Many existing business owners simply put off doing a fire risk assessment to avoid the ensuing work. 

New businesses fail to include the cost of effective fire safety in their start up plans and then find the potential cost prohibitive so early in business life. However, compliance with fire safety legislation is compulsory and failure to comply is simply illegal and punishable through the normal judicial channels. 

This could be a fine up to £5,000.00 and a requirement to carry out the correct works, or, if the negligence has resulted in a fire which put people at risk, it could result in a prison sentence of up to 2 years

 To Conclude

A fire risk assessment is an integral part of every business and must be reviewed on a regular basis. The responsible Person is responsible for choosing a competent person to carry out the fire risk assessment and ensuring all required actions identified are carried out

Those companies that  employ specialists to carry out the fire risk assessment will gain a clearer understanding of what changes, if any, they need to make and can be confident that persons using the premises are safe from fire and the relevant legislation has been complied with

If you would like further information on fire risk assessments and how we can support your business, please get in contact on 07583937153 or email us on stewart@jsmsafetysolutions.com