Fire risk assessments are an essential part of protecting your business in Warrington but what what exactly is a fire risk assessment? A fire risk assessment is a process of systematically evaluating the factors that determine the hazards of a fire, the consequences involved if one were to occur, and the likelihood of a fire happening. When it comes to risk assessment, there are quantitative and qualitative methods that can be used. It is worth noting that virtually all buildings, including business premises and domestic dwellings, are required by law to perform fire risk assessments.
A fire risk assessment in Warrington is something that you can do by yourself if you feel that you are competent enough to do so. However, if you have no idea of what assessing fire risks entails, or don’t have the resources or time to conduction an assessment, it is advisable that you hire a fire risk assessor and have them assess things for you.
If you opt to use a fire risk assessor, take the time to consider if they are certified and registered by a professional certification body and that they meet the Competency Criteria for Fire Risk Assessors. Also, consider if they have any experience when it comes to undertaking fire risk assessments for your kind of premises and business. It is vital to ensure that you have everything you want to be done agreed in writing and ask the assessor for proof that they have public liability insurance and adequate indemnity insurance.
What Does a Fire Risk Assessment Involve?
Fire risk assessments involve the physical inspection of buildings to determine if existing fire precautions are adequate and if there is a need for additional measures. However, something that’s of equal importance to physical inspections is the review of an organisation’s fire safety management and consideration of human factors – which involves considering how the general public will respond in the event of an emergency and whether they’ll take the appropriate course of action.
There are limits to the degree of fire precaution evaluations and surveys. For instance, when undertaking a risk assessment, it is not necessary to actually test fire protection systems or to carry out detailed engineering evaluations. Most fire risk assessors will only inspect these systems visually. Where appropriate, assessors will identify the need for extra engineering evaluations and will carry them out if necessary.
At the same time, the survey of buildings under construction will only extend to readily-accessible areas of the structure. When it comes to Warrington fire risk assessments aimed at meeting legislative requirements, the objective of a risk assessment will be to evaluate the safety of the building’s occupants.
The importance of fire risk assessments should never be ignored since they are a formal document that is designed to help minimise the risk of fire to building occupants and minimise or prevent damage from a fire. As already mentioned, completing fire risk assessments is a legal requirement and should be done regularly. Risk assessments should be designed to meet your organisation’s needs and should adhere to Regulatory Reform Order 2005 requirements.
Fire Risk Assessments are generally comprised of 5 key areas:
1. Hazard Identification
Hazard identification involves identifying the risks; that is:
- Anything that could start a fire like heaters, naked flames, commercial processes, and equipment such as hot-air dryers or cookers
- Anything that could burn in a fire like display materials, textiles, piles of waste and other flammable products
- Source of oxygen such as medical products, air conditioning, or commercial oxygen supplies that could feed a fire
2. Identifying People at Risk
The most vulnerable people include:
- Those working with or close to fire hazards
- Those working in isolated areas like storerooms
- Parents with babies and children
- Disabled people
- Elderly people
3. Reduce, Remove, Evaluate or Control Fire Risks
Take action by:
- Replacing highly flammable materials with ones that are less flammable
- Removing fire hazards where possible or reducing hazards that cannot be removed entirely
- Putting in place safe-smoking policies for customers or employees who want to smoke in designated areas near your premises
4. Record, Plan & Train
You’ll be required to:
- Record significant fire risk findings and the action taken – you are legally required to do so if you employ more than five persons
- Prepare emergency evacuation plans
- Notify and instruct relevant parties
- Provide training
5. Review Fire Assessment Measures
You are legally required to review the fire risk assessment document regularly. While the Fire Safety Order doesn’t specify when to perform assessments, fire risk assessors recommend that it be done every 12 months, or whenever you make any changes to the building of your Warrington based business.