Fire risk assessments are a necessary part of keeping your building – and people – safe. Not only is conducting one a legal duty, but it also benefits your business and saves lives. But is it really necessary to call in a professional risk assessor?
Who is responsible for my building’s fire safety?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales applies to all commercial premises and workplaces, including those owned by non-profits and self-employed business owners. The legislation also covers anywhere where the public may have access and includes the common areas and external walls of flats, houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) and maisonettes.
If you are an employer, then you will likely be responsible for carrying out a fire risk assessment. This is also the case if you occupy or otherwise have a degree of control over a commercial premises, even if it is empty. For domestic properties, this duty may reside with the owner (freeholder), a property management company, or non-profit, but may be passed on to a company or agent to act on the owner’s behalf.
If you fall into one of these categories, then it is up to you to decide who should carry out a fire risk assessment and ensure that the premises comply with relevant fire safety legislation.
Why do I need a fire risk assessment?
A fire risk assessment identifies risks and hazards as well as any actions needed to keep the building and its occupants safe. It should also be reviewed on a regular basis, especially when changes have been made to the building’s structure, use or occupancy.
If a fire occurs and you cannot demonstrate that you have met your legal duties, you could be fined and even spend time in prison.
Who should do my fire risk assessment?
By law, you need to ensure that a suitably competent person completes your fire risk assessment so that you can identify all fire risks and hazards and take any actions to make your building safe. This could be yourself, but it may be necessary to seek professional support, particularly if you own a large business, a public space, or a heritage building such as a museum or art gallery.
If you own a relatively small business with few risks, you may be able to do your assessment yourself, but only if you are confident and able to carry out all five steps of the fire risk assessment. These are:
- 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.
At Atlantas Group, we have accredited fire safety experts on hand to support you with your fire safety compliance. We can meet with you at your premises and compile a detailed evaluation of your exposure to fire risk, as well as recommending qualified trade partners to carry out any necessary work.
We take our responsibilities very seriously and will only ever recommend action that is in the very best interests of your workplace. If you would benefit from our help, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 651 2020 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Workplace fire safety: your responsibilities – https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities/fire-risk-assessments
- Fire safety risk assessment: 5-step checklist – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-5-step-checklist
- Fire safety law explained – https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/the-workplace/fire-safety-law-explained/