What is a Fire Risk Assessment?
A fire risk assessment is an organised and methodical look at your premises, the activities carried on there and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the premises.
The aims of the fire risk assessment are:
- To identify the fire hazards.
- To reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as reasonably practicable.
- To decide what physical fire precautions and management arrangements are necessary to ensure the safety of people in your building if a fire does start.
Five Key Steps to a Fire Risk Assessment
You need to identify:
- sources of ignition such as naked flames, heaters or some commercial processes;
- sources of fuel such as built-up waste, display materials, textiles or overstocked products; and
- sources of oxygen such as air conditioning or medicinal or commercial oxygen supplies.
- people working near to fire dangers;
- people working alone or in isolated areas (such as in roof spaces or storerooms);
- children or parents with babies; and
- the elderly or infirm and people who are disabled.
Evaluate the level of risk in your premises. You should remove or reduce any fire hazards where possible and reduce any risks you have identified. For example, you should:
- replace highly flammable materials with less flammable ones;
- make sure you separate flammable materials from sources of ignition; and
- have a safe-smoking policy.
When you have reduced the risk as far as possible, you must assess any risk that is left and decide whether there are any further measures you need to take to make sure you provide a reasonable level of fire safety.
In this step you should record, plan, instruct, inform and train.
You will need to record the dangers and people you have identified as especially at risk in step 1 and step 2. You should also record what you did about it in step 3. A simple plan can help you achieve this.
You will also need to make an emergency plan, tailored to your premises. It should include the action that you need to take in a fire in your premises or any premises nearby. You will need to give staff, and occasionally others, such as hotel guests or volunteer stewards, instructions. All employees should receive enough information and training about the risks in the premises. Some, such as fire marshals, will need more thorough training.
You should make sure your fire-risk assessment is up to date. You will need to re-examine your fire-risk assessment if you suspect it is no longer valid, such as after a near miss and every time there is a significant change to the level of risk in your premises. This could include:
- if you store more materials which can catch fire easily;
- a new night shift starting; or
- a change in the type or number of people using your premises