Fire Risk Assessment – Do I need one?

Fire RA

Fire Safety

Did you know that it is a legal requirement to have an Fire Risk Assessment undertaken?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the responsible person should ensure a fire risk assessment is carried out to identify, eliminate, reduce, control and manage the risk of fire. You must also be able to identify who is at risk.

Fire Kills

It goes without saying, that fire kills. The thought of a fire breaking out in your workplace is probably one you don’t wish to spend much time on.  This subject has long been one that attracts a ‘head in the sand’ approach. It is a subject that fills many with dread, confusion, stress and worry. People on your premises could be injured, suffer ill health, life changing injuries or even death. Fire puts everyone at risk, including me and you, your families in their workplaces, and we all want to go home safe to our loved ones.

But ‘forewarned is forearmed’ when it comes to safety of any kind. Understanding what must be done to comply with the law, then ensuring ongoing compliance can help to allay those fears and help you to feel more confident that you are managing risk.

The Impact on Business

Fire can have huge impact not only with the threat to life, but also the threat to business. In addition to your duty to ensure the safety of those employed by you, on your premises, or affect by you carrying out your business, insurers also usually stipulate some requirements as part of your policy

How would a fire in the workplace affect your business? There are many contributing factors to the aftermath of a fire, even if no one is hurt:

  • The cost of investigations
  • Downtime from unusable premises
  • Administration costs
  • Temporary relocation costs
  • Suspension of staff on full pay if no alternative workplace.
  • Bad publicity
  • External authority investigation fees, time and sometimes prosecutions
  • Lack of insurance payout potential
  • Loss of business due to downtime, lack of faith, perceived poor safety culture.

The Benefits of Fire Risk Assessment

In additional to being a legal requirement, there are many benefits to having a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment carried out. Not only will it show that you have understood the requirement, you will have clear documented information regarding areas of non compliance, actions that are needed to achieve compliance and the confidence that once this has been done, your premises will be better protected against the risk of fire.

Most importantly, occupants will be safer, your business better protected and you’ll hopefully be able to sleep better at night.

The common mistakes

We often come across premises that don’t have a Fire Risk Assessment in place at all, or an old one that is no longer relevant.

However, the most common thing we see, is a good report in place that will have cost money to have produced, that has not been acted upon in any way. Having a FRA conducted does not fulfil the legal requirement in its entirety and it is vital that the recommendations and actions are followed up after the report has been issued. Paying all that money for expertise, knowledge and information, only to approach it as a tick box exercise does not make commercial (or safety) sense.

Not using competent persons to carry out a fire risk assessment, or trying to do it in house to save money. It can be feasible to conduct a fire risk assessment on your own premises, as long as the person doing so has the relevant skills, experience, knowledge & training but many haven’t. That’s the same externally sometimes too. It is important that you do your research and ensure that your Fire Risk Assessor is competent and can provide you with a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment that will enable you to strengthen your control measures against fire and protect your people and company.

If you require further advise, guidance or a fire risk assessment, please get in touch with us here