All You Need to Know About Fire Risk Assessments
When it comes to taking responsibility for your commercial premises, you cannot afford to make mistakes. As the owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that the relevant fire safety precautions are adhered to, in order to fully protect your property and your staff, as well as your customers and clients.
Here at Cheshire Fire, we’ve put together an article including everything you need to know about fire risk assessments in the workplace.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
This applies to all premises, buildings, structures and open spaces including; offices, shops, factories, clubs, public houses, restaurants, schools and sports centres. The owner, landlord or occupier of the business or non-domestic premises is solely responsible for the fire safety and is known as the ‘responsible person’.
The responsible person must ensure a fire risk assessment of the premises is carried out and regularly reviewed. In addition to this, a written record of the fire risk assessment must be produced and maintained where there are more than five people on the premises.
Similarly, a written record must be kept if a licence under an enactment is in force or an Alterations Notice for the building/premises requiring this is in force. This must also include:
- Details of those people that are considered being at particular risk e.g. children, disabled persons and the elderly
- Make sure appropriate fire safety measures are put in place and also ensure that these are maintained
- There is a plan for an emergency in place
- Employees are provided with all necessary information, together with appropriate fire safety instruction and training
A fire risk assessment and emergency plan must be available for inspection by the fire authority, if and when required.
This takes into consideration:
Potential Fire Hazards
A fire can occur when there is a source of ignition (e.g. matches, pilot lights, gas or oil heaters, boilers, cookers, electrical equipment), fuel (e.g. paper, wood, plastic, rubber, foam, packaging, furniture, varnish, adhesives, solvents) and oxygen (e.g. present in the air and as a gas in cylinders and piped systems).
Potential Risks to People
When there is a fire, the danger is the spread of the fire and the heat and smoke caused, which can engulf the premises and overwhelm and incapacitate those people trying to escape. It is, therefore, very important to assess the likely speed of the growth of any potential fire and to also assess any associated heat and smoke that could be involved.
The number of people working in the area should be considered, and this must also include contractors, visitors, etc. and how they will be made aware that a fire has occurred and how they will escape. Consideration must also be given to how people in the vicinity of the premises may be affected, particularly if dangerous chemicals are released into the atmosphere.
All risks should be recorded in the findings of the risk assessment.
When compiling the emergency plan, the following should be considered:
1. Escape from the premises
- Appropriate, easily accessible fire exit doors
- Fire/smoke curtains
2. Detection and Warning
- Fire alarms
- Emergency lighting systems
- Action to be taken if a fire is discovered, e.g. calling the fire brigade
3.Fighting the fire
- Appropriate fire extinguishers
- Fire safety training, including use of fire extinguishers and safe evacuation procedures
- Responsibilities in case of a fire
- Identify safe places for assembly/roll call
It is important to be aware that, if the risk assessment is required to be recorded in writing, the emergency plan must also be recorded.
Cheshire Fire is a leading supplier and installer of fire safety equipment. To ensure your premises meet Government standards and regulations, our team of qualified engineers are able to carry out comprehensive risk assessments on your behalf. For further information or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.