Carrying out a fire risk assessment is a legal requirement for businesses, and failure to do so could result in a heavy fine or imprisonment. Making sure a building is safe from the risk of fire protects its occupants from harm and ensures businesses don’t suffer if a fire does occur. Here’s all you need to know.
Identifying a Responsible Person
What is the first step of a fire risk assessment? This is the question many business owners will ask.
Firstly, a business will need to appoint a responsible person, who will be in charge of carrying out the assessment. This must be someone fully trained in all aspects of fire safety. In small businesses, it’s usually the owner who would be regarded as the responsible person.
If you don’t have anyone within the business who is trained in fire safety, then it’s possible to get a fire risk assessment carried out by an external organisation.
Fire risk assessments need to be reviewed every 12 months and completely re-written every five years. If there are any changes to a building or the way it’s used, then a fire risk assessment will be required thereafter, even if it was previously carried out less than 12 months ago.
The assessment needs to be completed in a written format if there are more than five employees in a business. However, businesses with less than five staff will still need to have an assessment in place.
A fire risk assessment consists of two parts. The first part will include a review of the premises, and the second part will detail recommendations to ensure a building is fire safety compliant.
Some of the aspects that will need to be assessed will include fire safety risks and hazards, who might be affected, what measures and controls are in place to mitigate fire risks, and what further action could be taken.
The responsible person will need to look at and assess aspects such as fire doors, fire alarm requirements for business purposes, emergency routes and exits, fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and blankets, as well as having an emergency evacuation plan in place.
Importance Of Carrying Out Assessments
While carrying out a fire risk assessment might not be top of your to-do list when you’ve got lots of business deadlines to meet, the consequences of not completing it could be devastating. As well as the risk of loss of life, few businesses fully recover following a fire.
If you’re found to be flouting fire safety rules and don’t carry out an assessment, you could be hit with a minimum £5,000 penalty, a potential disqualification, or up to two years in prison. It’s simply not worth taking the risk.
If you want expert assistance in carrying out a fire risk assessment, to ensure you comply with regulations, contact the professionals at Safety Aide.
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