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Fire risk assessment requirements

Did you know that any organisation employing 5 or more people (whether commercial or not for profit) is obligated by law to complete a written and specific fire risk assessment on an annual basis? Failure to meet this basic requirement could result in a large fine, or in extreme cases, a custodial sentence for the owners of the business.

When did your company last complete a written fire risk assessment?

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What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) states that all non-domestic premises housing 5 or more people must review the following on an annual basis:

  • Your current fire prevention measures (particularly in relation to storage, smoking, flammable/combustible substances, machinery and equipment and general housekeeping).

  • How well you could communicate to those onsite in the event of a fire (fire detection systems, alarms, signage, emergency lighting).

  • Your escape routes – are there clear escape paths? Do you complete regular fire drills? Do you have any vulnerable staff with special escape requirements?

  • How well could you confine and/or suppress a fire?

  • The level of awareness and training among your staff in terms of what to do in the event of a fire (fire training, fire drills, fire tests etc).

Each of the above should be rated according to the level of risk. If the risk identified in any area is too high, you then need to put an action plan in place to reduce the risk (with timescales and lines of responsibility). You should consider potential improvements and maintenance requirements, as well as future training needs. Your findings must be documented, and these records retained for inspection and review purposes.

Who Can Complete a Fire Risk Assessment?

A competent individual, whether a trained employee or an outside contractor can complete a fire risk assessment. The RRO clearly states that someone is classed as competent if they have sufficient training skills and knowledge to carry out the task at hand. The larger or more difficult the building, the greater the required level, training and experience that’s required of the assessor.

Who Needs to Ensure a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) is in place?

Typically, this is the responsibility of a Director, Manager or Owner of a company. If the allocated ‘responsible person’ fails in their duties, they can expect a substantial fine or, in extreme cases, a custodial sentence.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment Designed to Achieve?

Only 7% of small and medium-sized business will still be trading 2 years after a serious fire. So while the implementation of an FRA is necessary to ensure that you’ve considered the best possible means by which to protect your employees and premises (and addressed any issues which might prohibit this), from a commercial perspective, it’s also vital in terms of safeguarding the future of your business. An FRA is specifically designed to ensure you regularly review the risk to your buildings and premises, and act upon any issues identified.

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How Can FireCare Help?

Are you convinced that you have a competent individual – with all the required training, knowledge and skills on hand to complete a fire risk assessment on your behalf? Are you willing to risk a large fine and possibly imprisonment by relying on someone who is not 100% competent? For those not willing to take this risk, FireCare are committed to completing an assessment on your behalf. Our trained assessors will examine your premises and processes, providing you with all the information and recommendations required to stay safe and legal.

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