Can I undertake Fire Risk Assessments on my own?
A Fire Safety Risk Assessment can be carried out by a “competent person“.
According to legal guidelines, a Fire Safety Risk Assessment can be conducted by a “competent person,” which doesn’t necessarily mean using a certified Fire Risk Assessor. However, it is crucial that the person performing the assessment is capable of doing so and has access to necessary information and resources. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that a Fire Safety Risk Assessment be carried out by the “Responsible Person” in almost all non-domestic premises.
The “Responsible Person” can be anyone who has control over the premises or a degree of control over specific areas or systems. This could include an employer, a managing agent or owner of shared premises, an occupier such as self-employed individuals or volunteer organizations, or anyone else who has control over part of the premises. The Regulatory Reform Order follows a risk assessment-based approach.
As a “Responsible Person,” it is necessary to manage fire risks on the premises. To achieve this, you must conduct a Fire Safety Risk Assessment, regularly review it, inform staff or representatives about identified risks and appropriate fire safety measures, plan for fire emergencies, and provide staff with information, fire safety instructions, and training.
Businesses employing more than five people also have the responsibility to document the findings and actions taken from the Fire Safety Risk Assessment, which is legally binding for both the “Responsible Person” and anyone else who has control over part of the premises. Each person must conduct their own Fire Safety Risk Assessment.
To assist “Responsible Persons,” the government has created a series of guides, each about 150 pages long and applicable to different types of premises. The “Responsible Person” should read the appropriate guide and create a Fire Safety Risk Assessment specific to their building(s).
The government has categorized premises into 11 different categories and produced a guide for each, including:
Failing to have a Fire Safety Risk Assessment can result in prosecution and severe fines, or in extreme cases of negligence, a prison sentence. It is crucial to conduct Fire Safety Risk Assessments regularly to identify and rectify fire hazards and comply with fire safety legislation.
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Frequently asked questions:
A: A careful look at your premises and the people who use them, from a fire prevention perspective. It's about understanding the potential risks, then improving your fire safety precautions to keep people safe.
A: The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the Responsible Person to develop general fire precautions for their premises, including the provision of a fire risk assessment. The fire risk assessment should consider all aspects of fire within the premises and set out what should be done to keep people safe.
Fire risk assessments are not just a legal requirement, they can be time consuming, complex, often require specialist knowledge and opinion; so we understand it can be a difficult task to get right and properly maintain.
A: Companies should review their risk assessments and risk management practices once every 3 years, or: Whenever there to any significant changes to workplace processes or design. Whenever new machinery, substances or procedures are introduced.
A: Fire Risk Assessment is a legal requirement. If you are responsible for a building, for example a employer, owner or occupier of premises that aren't a 'single private dwelling' (a private home), you need to make sure a suitably competent person completes a Fire Risk Assessment.
A: Is there a requirement for a landlord fire risk assessment? Yes, legislation requires that a fire risk assessment is carried out in all areas of the landlord's properties. This process will identify any fire hazards and who is at risk and decide if anything needs to be done to remove or reduce that risk.
A: An owner of the company is responsible for completing a fire risk assessment, too. Others who are responsible include landlords, as well as an occupier. If a person has control of the premise, then they are the ones responsible for carrying out an assessment.
A: Fire risk assessments
- Identify the fire hazards.
- Identify people at risk.
- Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks.
- Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training.
- Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly.