By law you must carry out a fire risk assessment and work out if you require fire safety improvements. By failing to perform fire risk assessments you are failing to comply with the Fire Safety Order. Here are some simply guidelines to help you understand general fire safety and the fire risk assessment process as advised by the Health and Safety Executive.
- Fire risk assessments are essential to help you to identify areas of risk and help you to put in control measures in order to reduce the risks. It’s a good idea to perform the fire risk assessment while you perform you other general risk assessments also required under the health and safety law. Once you have performed the assessment and acted on the findings keep a record of your findings and carry out frequent reviews.
- The first step of the assessment is to identify any hazards. Look for all the sources of fuel in your workplace and any ignition sources which could cause a fire.
- Work out the people most at risk if there was to be a fire. Fires are of course dangerous for anyone, but you need to spot any people who are in significantly more danger. These people could be people visiting the premises or site, new employees, those with disabilities, people working on their own and night shift workers.
- Evaluate the risks you have discovered. Think about how the fire could start and what might happen. If you locate areas of fuel and ignition sources placed together address this issue and separate them. Look at the heaters in the workplace and make sure they are situated in safe areas where they will not be knocked over. Work hard to reduce the amount of waste and litter around your premises which could help the fire spread and also try and secure the sources of fire risk from people who might wish to deliberately start a fire.
- Plan on sequences of events if there is a fire. Work out how people will be informed, place fire fighting equipment where appropriate and make an escape route from all parts of the building. Put in a plan of who is responsible for helping any disabled people in the building and who will check to ensure everyone has been able to exit the building safely. Perform fire drills so everyone is aware of their duties and what to do.
- Make records of your fire risk assessments and how you plan on reducing the risks. Write down and record the plan of what to do if there is a fire and provide all the relevant information to everyone in your building. If anyone requires training ensure this is provided and practise the fire drills frequently. If the building is shared with other companies share your findings and plans of action with them and co-ordinate a plan together.
Call 0800 1488 677 if you wish to discuss any of the following guidelines with health and safety consultants.