Fire Risk Assessments For The Workplace

Fire has the potential to occur in any property or premises including various businesses and work environments from offices, factories and restaurants to building sites, hotels, salons and many more.

This can present a wide range of challenges for landlords, employers and business owners who must ensure that they properly manage the hazards and risks in the workplace so that it is safe and compliant.

Here we talk about fire risk assessments London in the workplace, what they are, why they are important, who is responsible and what they should include.

  • What Is A Fire Risk Assessment?

A fire risk assessment is a methodical and organised evaluation of a premises to identify any potential fire hazards, determine the level of fire risk and what preventative measures can be taken to reduce or remove them.

Hazard – Anything that has the potential to cause harm, damage, increase liability or result in production loss.
Risk – The likelihood and consequence of an activity, process or substance to cause harm.

For example, having multiple plugs in a socket can be considered a hazard, but the risk will be how likely it is that they could overload and cause a fire.

  • Is A Fire Risk Assessment A Legal Requirement For All Workplaces?

Fire risk assessments aren’t merely a suggestion but are a legal requirement for all premises that aren’t a ‘single private dwelling’ under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or RRO.

As stated in the RRO, it is the duty of the ‘responsible person’ to take general fire safety precautions to ensure that the premises is safe, reduce the risk of harm and reduce the risk of fire.

This means that if you own, occupy or manage a workplace or business then you are responsible for complying with fire safety legislation which includes ensuring that a fire risk assessment is completed, relevant fire safety measured are implemented and everything is regularly reviewed and updated.

  • Who Can Perform A Workplace Fire Risk Assessment?

Technically, anyone can carry out a fire risk assessment but as specified in the RRO, they must be performed by a ‘competent person’ who has the necessary understanding, skills and knowledge to complete the fire risk assessment sufficiently on the particular type of building and business.

With so much at stake, it is common for employers and business owners to utilise the services of a fire safety specialist to carry out the assessment on their behalf which can work out extremely cost-effective and means that it is done to a high standard.

  • How Often Do Workplace Fire Risk Assessments Need Reviewing?

Because workplaces can change regularly with evolving staff levels, new products, processes and different equipment, new fire hazards can arise overtime that mean the fire risk assessment needs to be revised and updated. Typically, it is recommended that they are reviewed every 12 months or so but there are circumstances which mean this should be done sooner, such as;

  • If there was a fire related incident
  • A large increase in personnel
  • New employees with disabilities or who may be vulnerable if a fire occurred
  • The business processes, equipment, materials or chemicals change
  • There have been significant or structural modifications to the property
  • Changes in machinery, furniture, fixtures and equipment
  • Faulty fire safety equipment
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