FIRE RISK ASSESSMENTS: The first step for the responsible person is to carry out a fire risk assessment and then review it on a regular basis.
Carrying Out an Assessment
- Identify fire hazards (e.g. how could a fire start and what could burn).
- Identify which people are at risk the most.
- Evaluate and then remove or reduce the risks.
- Record hazards, prepare an emergency plan, and provide staff training.
- Keep the fire risk assessment under regular review.
This process helps to identify what needs doing to prevent fire and to keep people safe. Businesses with five (5) or more staff members must keep a written record of the fire risk assessment.
Note: The government has produced a fire safety risk assessment chart in PDF format. It gives extra details and information on the steps to follow.
Some of the considerations to include when assessing workplace fire safety in non-domestic premises will be:
- Emergency routes and exits
- Fire detection and warning systems
- Fire fighting equipment
- The removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
- An emergency fire evacuation plan
- The needs of the most vulnerable people (e.g. young children, people with mobility needs and disabilities, and the elderly)
- Providing information to company employees and any other people who use the premises
- Staff fire safety training
Getting Professional Help with an Assessment
You do not need to be a health and safety expert to do a fire risk assessment. Using fire safety risk assessment guides will help you perform one yourself.
But, you may not have the time or you may lack the expertise. In this case, you can appoint a ‘competent person’ to help you (e.g. a professional risk assessor).
As a rule, the local fire and rescue authority can also offer some expert advice. They may confirm whether a risk assessment got carried out to a satisfactory level. Even so, it is not common practice for them to carry out risk assessments for the public.
Downloadable Assessment Guides
You can download publications for the following risk assessments guides on the government website:
- Animal premises and stables
- Educational premises
- Factories and warehouses
- Healthcare premises
- Large places of assembly (holding more than 300 people)
- Offices and shops
- Open air events and venues
- Residential care premises
- Sleeping accommodation
- Small and medium places of assembly (holding 300 people or less)
- Theatres, cinemas and similar premises
- Transport premises and facilities
Further guidance is also available for specialist areas such as:
- Risk assessments if you work in the construction industry.
- Purpose-built blocks of flats and other types of housing for a landlord.