Fire Risk Assessment

Fire risk assessment

In the United Kingdom, it is a legal requirement for a Fire Risk Assessment to be carried out on almost all premises where people could be working.

This is under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales, the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 in Scotland and the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 in Northern Ireland.

Under these regulations, the "responsible person" is legally obliged to ensure that the fire risk assessment is carried out and to deal with any issues that were highlighted during that assessment (although the relevant phrase is "duty holder" under the Scotland regulations and "appropriate person" under the Northern Ireland regulations).

The definition of the "responsible person" is typically the person who has primary responsibility for premises. This could include facilities managers, owners of premises and managers of buildings.

This applies if you are:

  • Responsible for business premises
  • An employer or self-employed with business premises
  • Responsible for a part of a dwelling where that part is solely used for business purposes
  • A charity or voluntary organisation
  • A contractor with a degree of control over any premises
  • Providing accommodation for paying guests

Good management of fire safety in your place of business is essential in ensuring the safety of your employees, sub-contractors and visitors. In most cases, conducting a fire risk assessment will be a relatively straightforward and simple task that may be carried out by the responsible person, or a person they nominate, such as a consultant.

There are five steps in carrying out a fire risk assessment:

  1. Identify hazards - consider how a fire could start and what could burn
  2. Who are the people at risk - employees, contractors, visitors and any other person deemed to be vulnerable, e.g. disabled
  3. Carry out evaluation and action - consider the hazards and people identified in 1 and 2 and implement control measures to remove and reduce the risks to protect people and premises
  4. Record, plan and train: keep a record of the risks and action taken. Make a clear plan for fire safety and ensure that people understand what they need to do in the event of a fire
  5. Review: your fire risk assessment regularly and ensure that it takes account of any changes on site

Whilst carrying out the risk assessment keep the following in mind

  • Emergency routes and exits
  • Fire detection and warning systems
  • Firefighting equipment
  • The removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
  • An emergency fire evacuation plan
  • The needs of vulnerable people, for example the elderly, young children or those with disabilities
  • Providing information to employees and other people on the premises
  • Staff fire safety training

S.H.E. Global’s Fire Safety Checklist templates contain all the relevant details and information required to identify the fire hazards, people or groups involved, and will evaluate the risks. The fire risk assessment also contains an action plan to be filled in for any improvements required, giving timescales to implement recommendations.