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
- 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- there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid, or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
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
- 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
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
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.