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Fire risk assessment

The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk to which people are exposed.  This 'risk assessed approach' lies at the core of the new legislation.

The significant findings of the risk assessment must be recorded if:

  • five or more people are employed
  • a license is in force in the relation to the premises, or
  • an alterations notice requiring the risk assessment to be recorded is in force

The risk assessment must be reviewed regularly to keep it up to date, and particularly if:

  • there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid, or
  • there has been a significant change to the matters to which the assessment relates.

The fire precautions you need in your premises depends on the hazards and risks that are identified.

How should a fire risk assessment be carried out?

Identify fire hazards and those at risk

A fire risk assessment is an organised and methodical look at your premises, the activities carried out there and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the premises.

  • Example - if you run a small corner shop, all you may need to do is walk round your premises and identify anything which could result in a fire, such as rubbish blocking doorways. Why not also ask your staff if they have noticed anything which may be a fire hazard?

Evaluate, remove or reduce and protect from risk

Make a note what you have found. However, if you employ five or more people, you need to keep a formal record of the significant findings and any measures you propose to deal with them.

  • Example - rubbish store: rubbish kept away from buildings with no sources of heat nearby. You have identified a hazard but you have dealt with it by keeping the rubbish store away from the building with the heat source.

You need to tell your staff or their representatives about your findings and if you have a formal report, you should make it available to them if they ask for it. Remember that your assessment is expected only to be suitable and sufficient given the circumstances.

Record your findings

If you share your workplace with others you will need to check that they know about any significant risks you have identified and what you have done about them. Risks can often be dealt with at little or no cost by removing or reducing the amount of material causing the hazard.

Where you (or the other employers) do not have direct control over places or equipment in the workplace, then the person who does have control (perhaps the owner or landlord) has a responsibility to make sure that such parts or equipment comply with the requirements of the regulations. This would include common parts of a building such as a shared corridor or the provision and maintenance of common fire safety equipment such as a fire alarm system - where one is needed.

Review and revise

Review your assessment from time to time, particularly if there is a significant change to your workplace or working practices, or you have frequent changes of staff.

Additional guidance

 

Fire risk assessment process

  1. Identify the fire hazards
  2. Identify people at risk
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce and
    protect from risk
  4. Record your findings
  5. Review and revise assessment

 

Useful definitions

  • Hazard – anything that has the potential to cause harm
  • Risk – the chance of harm occuring

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