Property owners and facility managers regularly assess the risk of fire to follow safety rules. They examine the property to find potential fire hazards. Then, they evaluate the risk of these hazards causing harm and take action to reduce or eliminate the risks. These actions are part of the fire risk assessment process. This blog post will address these seven main questions related to it:
- Who is responsible for fire safety?
- What are the steps of a fire risk assessment?
- Can I do my own fire risk assessment?
- What types of properties require a fire risk assessment?
- What is the legal requirement for fire risk assessments?
- Why are fire risk assessments necessary?
- Who should conduct fire risk assessments?
For a workplace, if you are an employer, owner, landlord, occupier, or someone else who controls the premises, you are responsible. This includes positions like a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent, or risk assessor.
You’re known as the “responsible person”. If multiple people are responsible, they must collaborate to fulfil their duties. The Fire Safety Order also applies to places with paying guests. For example, if you run a bed and breakfast, guesthouse, or self-catering property.
Starting from 1 October 2023, the responsible person must record all findings from their fire risk assessment, regardless of the size or purpose of the premises. This is a new requirement. Before, it was only required for certain types of buildings. Responsible persons must also record their fire safety arrangements. These changes to fire safety laws affect all responsible persons.
Changes to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which will affect all responsible persons, are made by Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022.
According to Gov.uk, there are five steps of fire safety risk assessment process:
1. Identify the fire hazards
Firstly, check what fire hazards are present. This can be anything that can potentially start a fire, so it’s worth considering: electrical equipment, smoking, arson, heating, cooking, housekeeping and contractors.
2. Identify people at risk
From there, you can then determine the number of individuals that could be at risk from these fire hazards. Consider their specific situations, such as age, disability, or whether they are lone workers.
3. Evaluate, remove, or reduce the risks
Determine the number of floors and staircases on the premises. Assess the quantity and placement of exits. Identify whether fire alarms, fire exit signs, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers are necessary.
4. Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
Have you established a clear plan for ensuring people’s safety in the event of a fire? Are your staff members familiar with fire procedures? Do you conduct fire drills regularly? Are you maintaining fire safety provisions? Your plan should outline necessary actions and deadlines. Utilise the checklist to ensure comprehensive coverage of all areas.
5. Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly
Ensure that the fire risk assessment is reviewed periodically and update it promptly in the event of any significant changes.
You can assess the risk of fire on your own using fire safety risk assessment guides. If you lack the knowledge or time to do the assessment, you should appoint a “competent person” to assist you, such as a professional risk assessor.
Clik Cert provides a health and safety risk assessment form as part of its workplace safety certificate pack. This certification software is invaluable for companies and professionals involved in the fire risk assessment process.
A fire risk assessment is used to implement fire safety measures in structures like blocks of flats or houses where people sleep. Guides are available for risk assessments in different settings such as offices, shops, factories, warehouses and sleeping accommodations.
According to fire safety in the workplace documentation in gov.uk, as the responsible person you must conduct and regularly review a fire risk assessment of the premises. This will identify what you need to do to prevent fire and keep people safe.
Moreover, it is essential to document your fire risk assessment. The individual responsible for the premises is obligated to:
- Identify individuals who may be particularly vulnerable to fire risks.
- Minimise or eliminate fire risks to the extent possible.
- Implement general fire safety measures to address potential risks.
- Take extra precautions when managing flammable or explosive materials.
- Develop an emergency plan and, if needed, document any outcomes.
- Sustain general fire safety measures and facilities intended for firefighter use.
- Regularly review and reassess the findings of the risk assessment.
Conducting fire risk assessments is crucial for several reasons. From legal compliance mandates to the overarching goal of ensuring occupant safety, the multifaceted significance of these assessments becomes apparent:
Regulatory bodies require fire risk assessments for all non-domestic properties. Failure to comply can result in severe penalties.
The primary goal of a fire risk assessment is to ensure the safety of occupants. Identifying and addressing potential fire hazards minimises the risk of injuries and fatalities.
Fire risk assessments protect valuable assets. They prevent damage and financial losses from fire incidents.
We’ve already covered who is responsible for making sure an environment is fire-safe, but who should be in charge of conducting a fire risk assessment? There are two primary routes to explore for this.
1. Qualified assessors
Property owners and facility managers can do basic assessments. However, it is better to hire fire safety professionals or assessors. These experts can find complicated fire hazards and suggest ways to prevent them.
2. In-house teams
Big companies may have their own safety teams that can do fire risk assessments. These teams need to have the right training and qualifications to do a complete evaluation in order to safely conduct fire risk assessments.
Mitigating Hazards in Fire Risk Assessment
Recognising common fire hazards and having a strategy is crucial for a thorough fire risk assessment. This practice not only ensures legal compliance but, more importantly, safeguards occupants, protects assets and enhances the overall resilience of a space against potential fire incidents.
Defining objectives, evaluating resources and analysing potential challenges represent the three primary factors in the initial phase of developing a strategy.
This process encompasses:
- To highlight potential workplace hazards that could lead to a fire risk.
- To recognise any elements within the workplace that might endanger employees in the event of a fire.
- To identify and implement measures aimed at either eliminating or, at the very least, minimising these risks.
These are some examples of fire hazards and solutions in a workplace:
1. Electrical systems
Hazard: Faulty wiring, overloaded circuits.
Mitigation: Regular electrical inspections are important. It is also important to use surge protectors. If any issues are identified, they should be addressed promptly.
2. Flammable materials
Hazard: Improper storage of flammable liquids.
Mitigation: Implementing proper storage protocols, using fire-resistant containers and providing adequate ventilation.
3. Ignition sources
Hazard: Malfunctioning equipment, open flames.
Mitigation: Regular equipment maintenance, restricting open flame use and providing designated smoking areas.
Key Steps to Mitigating Hazards
Making sure your workplace is safe is really important to avoid fires. In this part, we talk about simple steps to reduce possible dangers, making your workplace a safer and more secure space.
By using different strategies, we can lower the chances of accidents and build a strong foundation for a secure work environment.
You can use different measures to minimise or control these hazards:
- If the dangerous item is not needed for work, removing it gets rid of the risk.
- If you cannot remove the hazardous item, try to reduce the amount of it instead. For example, only keep the necessary amount of flammable material needed for production.
- Explore alternative products that pose fewer problems than the current item in use.
- Keep flammable materials away from potential ignition sources.
- Store flammable materials in suitable containers to enhance safety.
- Make sure to maintain the equipment well. This will prevent fire hazards and improve operational efficiency.
- To maintain efficiency, make sure your workplace is tidy, regularly remove rubbish and keep your equipment clean.
- Take steps to prevent opportunities for vandalism or arson.
Technology in Fire Risk Assessment
Fire risk assessments are an important part of fire safety management for property owners and facility managers. Professionals should understand the process. They should identify common hazards. They should use technology to do this ongoing process and save time and money. This will make the environment safer for occupants and protect assets.
Fire risk assessment software
Explore the benefits of utilising fire risk assessment software. These tools make it easier to assess, improve the accuracy of data and provide a centralised platform for managing assessment records.
You can access the Clik Cert certificate packs on both desktop and mobile software. They are organised by industry, making it easier for you to find the certifications you need. For example, “Workplace Safety Pack.”
This pack comprises three certificates applicable to various industries. With this kind of certification, you can utilise the risk assessment form to oversee the health and safety of your business. Identify and document any hazards, assess their severity and record the implemented control measures. Keep these digital records for easy access when needed. The checklist, part of the workplace safety pack, guides you through essential safety checks typically conducted on-site.
The workplace safety pack comes free with Clik Cert. Explore these certificates with the Clik Cert trial.
Regular review and updates
Fire risk assessments need regular review and updates. We may need to adjust the assessment and safety measures if the building’s use, occupancy, or structure changes. Regular assessments and proactive fire prevention, along with new technology, help create a complete fire safety plan. Investing time and money in fire risk assessments meets legal requirements and prioritises safety. This gives peace of mind to property owners, facility managers and building occupants.
Bespoke fire risk assessment forms
Clik’s bespoke certificate service provides fire safety businesses with their own unique risk assessment forms. Request specific branding elements into their risk assessment forms to their brand awareness and provide a professional service for your clients.
With bespoke forms, companies can fill out specific fields on their risk assessment forms, which are relevant to the unique aspects of the jobs they undertake. This way, important details are always recorded and you have digital proof of completed tasks to help future work.
Begin your fire risk assessment process today using Clik Cert’s technology and certification software. Start your free trial now.