When Does a Business Need a Fire Risk Assessment?

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Within any business regardless of the sector, premises or size, it is essential to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment. The ‘responsible’ person must arrange this, identifying what needs to be done to prevent fire and potential risk of harm to people and property. A written record must be maintained at all times.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

A Fire Risk Assessment is an examination of all relevant aspects of a business’s premises. It must be methodical, detailed and organised.  As defined by the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 a Fire Risk Assessment must focus on the following steps:

  • Identify fire hazards
  • Identify people at risk
  • Evaluate, remove or reduce risks
  • Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
  • Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly

Why does a business need to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment?

Fundamentally, a Fire Risk Assessment is required to prevent injury and loss of life. The assessment process allows you to ensure that a high standard of fire safety is met and maintained.

Having a structured assessment process ensures that you cover the following considerations: -

  • Status of emergency routes and exits
  • Condition of fire detection and warning systems and equipment
  • Removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
  • Quality of emergency fire evacuation plan, staff training and provision of information to employees and other people on premises
  • Provision for the vulnerable or those with disabilities

The Assessment essentially needs you to focus on HAZARDS and RISKS.

HAZARD = anything that has the potential to cause harm.

RISK = the chance of harm occurring.

Fire Risk Chart with branding

With such a detailed assessment needing to be carried out you may have concerns about the time and frequency of these assessments.


When should a Fire Risk Assessment be carried out?

The short answer is that there is no fixed or required period for carrying out or reviewing a Fire Risk Assessment. It is advisable to run a review on a regular basis, usually annually but the frequency could be informed by anything from sector-specific recommendations, size of premises, nature of activities or changes to the operation.

Sometimes it will simply be a case of reviewing that everything is still to the same standard as it was in the last assessment. There are however, a number of things that could trigger an updated Fire Risk Assessment.

  • Alterations to the structure of the premises or changes to exits or entrances
  • Changes or upgrades to equipment of machinery
  • Employment of new staff, employment of an individual with a disability or a significant increase in the number of staff
  • A new requirement to store or dispose of hazardous substances
  • In response to a fire-related incident
  • In the event of damage to fire safety equipment

A pro-active approach is always advised and you can find sector specific information on Fire Risk Assessment for areas such as construction, healthcare or transport as well as detailed guidance for offices, shops, factories or warehouses.

If you are concerned that you are not able to deliver a Fire Risk Assessment on a regular basis or you are concerned that you do not have the necessary skill or expertise then please contact us today to discuss your requirements.

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