A fire risk assessment is a mandatory requirement for all businesses in Worcestershire that want to stay legally compliant. Many new entrepreneurs and business owners don’t know what fire risk assessment is all about and why it’s important in regards to the day-to-day functioning of their enterprises. Having basic knowledge of what fire risk assessments entail is very important as it enables you to stay compliant with existing fire safety laws and regulations.
Who Should Undertake Fire Risk Assessment?
Most business owners are not quite sure if they need to undertake a fire risk assessment for their premises. The Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety Order) stipulates in detail which type of businesses and establishments need to engage in frequent-fire risk assessments. The Order also details the various aspects that should be evaluated or analyzed for potential fire hazards. The Order doesn’t clearly stipulate who should be responsible for performing fire safety assessments, but business owners and managers are generally responsible for ensuring these activities are done.
With that said, if you run a Worcestershire business that has 5 or more employees, and that includes part-time employees, you will need to perform regular fire risk assessments. Also, if your business admits members of the public at any time of the day or night, you will also need to perform regular fire risk assessments as stipulated in the Fire Safety Order. If you are a sole proprietor or self-employed individual who owns a business premises, you will be responsible for performing your own fire risk assessment of your premises or building. If your business owns numerous properties, you will be required to do a complete fire risk assessment of all your buildings and properties. If you own a commercial building that hosts different tenants, they will responsible for the fire risk assessment of their individual units.
What Is Covered In A Fire Risk Assessment?
Once you have established that you need to perform a fire risk assessment in Worcestershire for your business, you will need to familiarize yourself with what exactly is covered in a fire risk assessment. The entire process entails thoroughly inspecting all parts of the business premises. Typically, you will need to cover everything but there are certain key areas that need to be closely looked at in order to perform a successful fire risk assessment.
First and foremost, you will need to scrutinize the age and condition of the building in which your business resides. You will also need to look at the layout of the building from the inside out. Once you have done this, you will then need to establish all the contents and systems found in the building. All this knowledge and information will help you to identify any and all potential fire hazards found within and outside the business premises.
When checking for potential fire hazards, you will need to identify all sources of ignition. Sources of ignition include everything from open flames to hot surfaces and exposed electrical wiring. Next, you will need to identify any and all combustible materials situated in the business premises. Here, you will have to take note of where each and every combustible item is located. The placement of these items plays a key role in determining how safe your business premises is.
The other key area that needs to be addressed is the availability of escape routes for employees and customers in the event a fire erupts. Escape routes are very important as they have been observed to significantly reduce the number of casualties in fires. These exit routes need to be clearly marked for all to see and they should be unobstructed. Your business should have special protocols put in place to facilitate quick and easy evacuation. In a fire risk assessment, all escape routes are checked to ensure that they are easily accessible, clearly marked, unobstructed and in good working condition.
Fire Risk Assessment Report
Once a fire risk assessment has been completed, a report needs to be drafted. The report must include the key areas of assessment and the various recommendations for the business in regards to fire safety. Examples of recommendations include moving of combustible materials away from sources of ignition like stoves or marking and lighting escape routes so as to facilitate easy evacuation.
The fire risk assessment report should also have details on the various fire safety protocols that your business has put in place. As a business owner in Worcestershire, you can attach copies of fire safety training certificates and manuals to the report as a way of showing your readiness to deal with cases of fire. All relevant fire safety information such manuals, details on escape routes, the location of first aid kits and extinguishers, and others should be made available to all employees and staff. This information should be maintained properly and updated frequently. New employees should be properly oriented on the business’s fire safety protocols and procedures.
Worcestershire businesses are required to undertake regular fire drills and fire safety training sessions for employees. Evidence of these activities should also be included in the report.
Who Can Perform A Fire Risk Assessment?
A fire risk assessment of your Worcestershire business can be performed by any individual who is competent and has the relevant skills to do so. The individual can be you, the business owner, or a member of your staff or a third-party who is qualified in fire risk assessment. Many businesses prefer to hire third-parties to perform their fire risk assessments as they are best-placed people to offer an impartial, unbiased and conclusive assessment of fire hazards.
How Often Should Fire Risk Assessment Be Done?
Although there are no laws or regulations governing how frequently fire risk assessments should be conducted, the Fire Safety Order does indicate that they need to be done regularly. The frequency of the assessments is solely at the discretion of the responsible persons. The recommended time frame for review of your business’s fire safety standards is at least once every year. The most prudent thing is to ensure that you stay fully-compliant with fire safety regulations and standards at all times.