A fire risk assessment is required by law for every business with five or more employees.
This is with good reason; a workplace fire can be catastrophic and cause major harm to both people and property. But what does a fire risk assessment consist of and why is it important?
Here at ASCO, we’ve written this article to answer all of your questions.
What is a fire risk assessment?
A fire risk assessment is a thorough examination that detects all potential fire hazards in a non-domestic property.
Once all possible risk factors have been identified, the assessor will evaluate their severity and make recommendations on how this danger can be mitigated.
All vulnerable demographics are considered and taken into account when formulating an emergency plan.
Once the inspection is complete, your assessor will note any areas of concern and decide whether the current fire safety procedures are satisfactory.
Should they be found wanting, a new emergency plan will be created to reflect the risk assessment findings.
This can sometimes result in an updated evacuation plan or further fire safety training for staff.
Is a fire risk assessment legally required?
As established in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all businesses are legally obligated to have a fire risk assessment.
Failure to obtain this can have serious consequences; should a fire occur in a property without a valid fire risk assessment, the responsible person could be held liable.
This could result in financial penalties or even a custodial sentence in instances of extreme negligence.
Furthermore, if your company has inadequate fire safety measures in place and a fire does occur, it could cause your business insurance to be invalidated.
Who is responsible for carrying out a fire risk assessment?
A fire risk assessment must be completed by an experienced professional who has a thorough knowledge and awareness of fire safety laws.
Often, the designated responsible person for the building does not meet these criteria so will employ the services of a third-party assessor.
The responsible person has a duty of care to ensure fire risk assessments are carried out regularly; most fire safety experts recommend that they should be performed once a year or whenever there are major changes to your business.
What are the benefits of a fire risk assessment?
As well as ensuring compliance with all regulations, a fire risk assessment has many other advantages, including:
- Minimises risks – A fire risk assessment will identify any potential hazards and quickly rectify them, reducing the threat they pose.
- Provides peace of mind – Building occupants can relax knowing that all fire safety hazards have been identified with steps put in place to mitigate their risk. Fire risk assessments alleviate anxiety in an emergency situation as they ensure that a thorough evacuation plan is in place.
- Protects assets and valuables – By taking steps to lessen the risk of a fire, you reduce the costs of fire damage and prevent interruptions to your business. Additionally, the majority of insurance companies will require a valid fire risk assessment as a condition of coverage.
- Saves lives – A fire risk assessment detects any flaws in your fire safety procedures to improve emergency preparedness.
Our knowledgeable professionals are BAFE-accredited and have a wealth of experience to carry out even the most complex fire risk assessments.
For additional information or to book your fire risk assessment, contact our friendly team today.