What is a Fire Risk Assessment?
A fire risk assessment is an organised and methodical look at your premises, the activities
carried on 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 premises if a fire does start.
However, as with many laws navigating health and safety legislation can often be a minefield of confusing acronyms and vague phrases. As a result, it can be difficult to know exactly what your role and responsibilities as an employer/employee really are, so please do use this as a guide but if you are in in doubt, contact our in-house team of qualified consultants.
What are hazards and risks?
The terms ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’ are used throughout this post and it is important that you
have a clear understanding of how these should be used.
• hazard: anything that has the potential to cause harm.
• risk: the chance of that harm occurring.
Do I need to preform a Fire Risk Assessment?
If your organisation employs five or more people, or your premises are licensed or an
alterations notice requiring it is in force, then the significant findings of the fire risk
assessment, the actions to be taken as a result of the assessment and details of anyone
especially at risk must be recorded. You will probably find it helpful to keep a record of the
significant findings of your fire risk assessment even if you are not required to do so.
How do you carry out a fire risk assessment?
A fire risk assessment will help you determine the chances of a fire starting and the dangers from fire that your premises present for the people who use them and any person in the immediate vicinity.
Much of the information for your fire risk assessment will come from the knowledge your
employees, colleagues and representatives have of the premises, as well as information
given to you by people who have responsibility for other parts of the building. A tour of your
premises will probably be needed to confirm, amend or add detail to your initial views.
It is important that you carry out your fire risk assessment in a practical and systematic way
and that you allocate enough time to do a proper job. It must take the whole of your
premises into account, including outdoor locations and any rooms and areas that are rarely
used. If your premises are small you may be able to assess them as a whole. In larger
premises you may find it helpful to divide them into rooms or a series of assessment areas
using natural boundaries, e.g. Process areas (such as bakeries and cooking facilities in
shops), offices, stores, as well as corridors, stairways and external routes.
If your premises are in a multi-use complex then the information on hazard and risk
reduction will still be applicable to you. However, any alterations to the use or structure of
your individual unit will need to take account of the overall fire safety arrangements in the
Your premises may be simple, with few people present or with a limited degree of business
activity, but if it forms part of a building with different occupancies, then the measures
provided by other occupiers may have a direct effect on the adequacy of the fire safety
measures in your premises.
I’m not sure what to do next. Where do I start?
If you aren’t sure where to start with the Fire Risk Assessment you have a couple options which we can support you with:
- Train someone to perform the Fire Risk Assessments
- Instruct us to be your Health and Safety Competent Person
Your fire risk assessment should demonstrate that, as far as is reasonable, you have considered the needs of all relevant persons, including disabled people.
Train someone to perform the Fire Risk Assessments
You can come to us at our Stoke-on-Trent training centre, or we can come to your site. From this we can train your nominated person to become competent through an engaging and inspiring Fire Risk Assessment Training Course. Here they will:
- Understand how a fire risk assessment can contribute to a safer work environment
- Understand the principles of a fire risk assessment
- Complete a fire risk assessment of a work environment
- Complete a fire risk assessment report
Instruct us to be your Health and Safety Competent Person
As independent consultants, we work on behalf of small, medium or large organisations, offering safety, quality and environmental consultancy services.
Instruct us to be your Health and Safety Competent Person (as required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999) and you, your employees, clients and other stakeholders can have confidence in the highest possible standards of health and safety. Contact our in-house team of qualified consultants.