A Fire Safety Risk Assessment is an essential part of ensuring premises are safe and compliant with safety regulations. Moreover, fire assessments are legally required in England and Wales and so is keeping them up to date. It falls on the responsible person with a building to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment. In addition to that, they must update the assessment whenever new relevant legislation is introduced. The significance of this document should not be overlooked as it outlines the possible risks to safety. More than just that, it protects occupants by introducing safety guidelines and instructions on how to act in the case of an incident.
How to ensure Fire Safety
To begin with, the responsible person within a building has to identify all the possible risks. The outcomes of the fire safety checks are then recorded as a part of the Fire Safety Risk Assessment Document for the building. once this is all in place, the person responsible must take action to mitigate or eliminate the risks present.
In many cases, it will be impossible to completely avoid fire safety risks. However, in such situations, it’s essential to put measures in place that will reduce risks to a minimum. Additionally, the responsible person should outline what actions occupants need to take in case of an emergency.
If you are in charge of ensuring Fire Safety, this checklist will help you get started:
- Plan and carry out an up to date Fire Safety Risk Assessment
- Ensure accidental fires can be avoided
- Separate anything that can catch on fire from sources of ignition
- Make sure you have all necessary fire equipment and that its expiration date hasn’t passed
- Install and maintain fire detection equipment (smoke and fire alarms and detectors)
- Train building occupants how to act in an emergency
- Clean regularly and avoid build-up of waste
- Do not obstruct fire exits and mark them clearly
How to carry out a Fire Safety Risk Assessment
Usually, the assessment can be included in overall building risk assessments. Alternatively, it can also be completed or updated separately. A Fire Safety Risk Assessment needs to identify 3 key factors:
- What could cause a fire to start with the building (sources of ignition)?
- What flammable substances (if any) are there within the building?
- Who are the people that may be at risk?
The UK Government offers detailed guidance on this subject. You can read their advice on the Government’s official website or download the Fire Risk Assessment checklist and work through the points it covers to create your assessment. Additionally, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website has useful resources related to overall risk assessments and fire safety in particular.
Updating your Fire Risk Assessment
At the moment, there is no legislation outlining how often a fire risk assessment should be updated. However, a yearly update to the Fire Risk Assessment is recommended. That’s not to say assessments can’t be carried out more often as well. The recent introduction of the Fire Safety Act 2021 for example, has led many building owners and duty-holders to update their Fire Risk Assessment in line with the latest government advice. Read more about the topic in our Fire Safety Guide for Businesses.