The 5 most common Fire Risk Assessment Failures
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales, the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 make Fire Risk Assessments a legal requirement to be carried out on all premises where people may be working.
Under this legislation, the responsible person is required to ensure that a Fire Risk Assessment is carried out in the workplace and to address and solve any issues highlighted during the assessment.
If you’re not sure who the ‘responsible person’ is in your workplace, take a look at our handy guide.
A Fire Risk Assessment, often shortened to FRA, is meant as a ‘snapshot’ of the normal running of the business. With that, this article is not meant as a cheat sheet to pass your upcoming FRA but to enlighten you as to the kind of dangers that we often identify in the workplace through our Fire Risk Assessment service.
Lack of emergency lighting
Emergency escape lighting systems are a requirement of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
However, the vast majority of business premises are built well before 2005, so many business owners are finding themselves caught out. This is particularly the case with external lighting, where standards have been changed more recently.
Businesses must have all emergency routes and exits clearly illuminated in the case of emergency, near to each final exit and outside the building to a place of safety.
Another area of failure for businesses during a Fire Risk Assessment is fire alarms that have not been serviced every 6 months or fire alarms that no longer comply with BS5839-1.
Fire alarms are one of the first lines of defence against a fire in business premises, which is why fire safety standards require them to be serviced every 6months and comply with British Standard 5839-1.
Excessive use of trailing extension leads
Electrical faults and neglect are a common cause of fires across the UK and is one of our top causes for a failure or area of concern in our Fire Risk Assessments. Too many extension cords or cords that trail across areas of foot traffic can be a significant fire risk.
Damaged electrical equipment and wiring can cause fire, but simply overloading electrics is also cause for concern. Too many extension leads, multi-plugs or cables can cause over-heating, melted plastic and fire and considerably increases the risk of fire.
Fire doors not maintained
Fire Doors are specifically designed to help control and confine flames and smoke in the event of a fire. Failing to maintain these doors properly can spell disaster in a fire situation as fire is allowed to spread faster than expected.
Fire doors should be checked regularly to ensure that they fit and function as intended and any defects rectified.
Another common issue that we find during our Fire Risk Assessments is poor housekeeping.
Poor housekeeping is characterised by a general disorganisation that results in a fire risk. This can range from incorrectly stored flammable materials and waste to evacuation routes being blocked.
This is a common failure and these 5 area of concern during a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) can often be indicative of a lack of staff training.
Bonus: Lack of Staff Training
A lack of staff training is often a root cause of the above issues and could be indicative of a lack of good fire safety management within a business. Businesses need to ensure that their staff are well informed of fire safety practices, including good housekeeping, evacuation plans, assembly points and the use of fire extinguishers.