A fire risk assessment ensures that all non-domestic premises are fully compliant with UK fire safety laws. Although they are vital for ensuring the safety of all buildings, many people overlook their importance and are unaware of the risk assessment process. With this in mind, the team at Firepoint has written this detailed explanation of just what happens during a fire risk assessment.
What is the fire risk assessment process?
The assessment will typically be carried out by an accredited, third-party inspector who will identify any potential hazards in the building and evaluate their risk. The assessor will then determine if there are any groups who would be vulnerable in an evacuation. Are there any occupants with mobility issues? Is this a facility where children would usually be present? This will all be taken into consideration when the assessment findings are presented; any areas of concern that are identified should be swiftly acted upon and used to create a new emergency plan.
Upon completion of the fire risk assessment, the results will be evaluated and a decision will be made on whether the existing fire safety arrangements are adequate. Should these be found wanting, a new action plan will be put in place to mitigate risk. This can sometimes result in a change of evacuation proceedings or further fire safety training. All action taken must be noted and a record kept of all fire risk assessments carried out; this ensures all premises are up to date and compliant with the law.
Who is responsible for a fire risk assessment?
By law, all commercial premises are required to have a designated ‘responsible person’; this can be a building manager, landlord or employer if the property is a workplace. It is the legal responsibility of this person to carry out fire safety checks and ensure that all safety protocols are followed. This is established in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and, should any premises be found lacking, this could result in the responsible person being found liable. Failure to carry out a valid fire risk assessment can result in penalties and even custodial sentences in cases of extreme negligence.
How often should a fire risk assessment be performed?
Although there is no legally specified time frame for how often a fire risk assessment should be reviewed, most fire safety experts recommend that they should be performed once a year. The Fire Safety Order states that all fire safety measures should be ‘reviewed by the responsible person regularly’. This should include a quick monthly examination of all fire safety devices to identify any visually obvious flaws that need immediate attention. However, if there are any changes to the building – for example, structural alterations, changes to the building use or a drastic increase in personnel – a new fire risk assessment must be performed to reflect this.
Firepoint Services provides fire risk assessments to commercial premises across Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham – as well as the wider North East region and Scotland. Our FETA qualified team has all the necessary experience and knowledge to ensure your business complies with all fire safety laws. We also provide an extensive range of fire safety products to keep your property protected.
To book your fire risk assessment or get advice from our experts, contact us today.