An assessment for fire risk is a mandatory undertaking that has to be carried out in all places of work, commercial premises, and anywhere the general public have access to. The ‘responsible person’ is legally liable for fire safety, and if you are the owner or landlord, or in some cases the occupier, then this will be your responsibility. The penalties for non-enforcement are very serious, and you could face a fine or be imprisoned if you do not conform.
The assessment itself is a very detailed process, and the ‘responsible person’ has to carry it out in the first instance, as well as periodically re-evaluate it. If the business comprises of over five staff, a written record of the assessment must be kept. You can do the assessment yourself if you are conversant with the relevant up-to-date fire safety advice documents. However, if you feel you do not have the experience, or this undertaking proves difficult, then a professional fire risk assessment company can be employed to send a what is termed a ‘competent person’ to undertake the duties on your behalf.
Making the assessment involves conducting a thorough and methodical inspection of a building with the purpose of pinpointing any potential fire risks and hazards, as well as ascertaining the adequacy of the fire precautions that are in place, and to see if any additional measures need to be taken. All the activities that are carried out within the building must then be fully examined in order to determine the risk levels and chances of a fire breaking out in the premises, in addition to the degree of damage that it could potentially pose to the surrounding premises and buildings.
You are required to inform the staff about the details of the risks you have identified, and installed. You will also need to be responsible for the maintenance of all appliances and procedures, have a plan in the event of a fire emergency, and regularly update the employees with information and physical procedures.
Sufficient time must be allocated to inspect every part of the premises, both on the inside and outside. This must include rooms (including store rooms) and areas that are infrequently used. If the building or premises is relatively small, it is normally possible to carry out the fire risk assessment in one session; in the cases of larger buildings and premises, however, this is not practical. In this event, there are two options: either the assessments can be done in parts to correspond with the layout of the building and room structure, or, alternatively, on a room by room basis.
Aside from identifying the fire hazards, you must identify the people at risk, evaluate the risks that are posed and remove or reduce them. Further to this, you must make a comprehensive written report of your findings, draw up a plan which can be executed in case of emergency, and periodically update the fire risk assessment. You will have to ensure that there are fully operational fire detectors and fire extinguishers and associated equipment, which is clearly on display and accessible. You must also guarantee that there are clearly marked emergency routes and doors marked ’emergency exit’, with a clear and simple fire evacuation plan that can be used in an emergency, which allows for the special needs of the disabled, elderly, and children.
Our fully qualified team here at Protect & Detect are always on hand to provide professional advice and assistance to companies requiring fire assessments throughout Ipswich, Norwich, Colchester and the surrounding areas. Our wealth of experience means we have the knowledge and skills to carry out thorough fire risk assessments on your behalf, as well as offering training for a nominated responsible person so they are able to conduct future assessments themselves. Simply get in touch with our friendly staff today for further information or advice about any of the services we provide.