Business fire alarm system controlsIf you own a business, it is your responsibility to ensure that a Fire Risk Assessment is completed. This is basically a review of your business premises, assessing for any potential fire risks and providing any possible alterations to make the building safer, if necessary.

It is of paramount importance that you follow the correct procedures and processes to ensure that your members of staff and your business premises are kept safe from harm, and that you comply with all relevant fire regulations and legislation.

It is absolutely vital that your Fire Risk Assessment is documented if you have more than four employees, the premises require a license or the fire brigade has issued an alterations notice telling you to do so. It is, however, recommended that all businesses write the Fire Risk Assessment down for reference, regardless of size. This document should be reviewed regularly and all findings and any action that is to be taken recorded.

Requirements for a fire risk assessment

Your fire risk assessment can be carried out by your designated ‘responsible person’ or a professional fire risk assessor.

Anyone who does carry out a fire risk assessment is responsible for the safety of the business and must be able to identify potential fire hazards within the premises. They should also identify any people at risk, such as the elderly or disabled. There must be processes in place to ensure these people know what to do and where to go in the event of a fire.

The fire risk assessor must also assess the fire safety measures currently in place within the business, such as fire alarms and extinguishers. They will also need to assess the management of safety within the business, such as staff health and safety training, emergency routes and fire drills.

Requirements for the responsible person or risk assessor

The person carrying out the fire risk assessment must also record all the significant findings, put a strategy into place if changes are needed and implement said strategy if necessary. They must also keep the Fire Risk Assessment regularly updated to ensure the safety of the business and all of its employees.

Businesses that do not have a clear fire risk assessment in place will face crippling fines, prosecution and in some severe cases, prison.

To carry out the assessment, your responsible person or fire assessor will need to:

  1. Identify all fire hazards
  2. Identify all people at risk (such as the elderly, disabled and vulnerable)
  3. Evaluate the identified risks, remove them if possible or take steps to reduce the level of risk by installing appropriate fire detection equipment or implementing processes and policies as needed
  4. Record all findings, create a documented emergency plan and provide fire safety training
  5. Review the fire risk assessment at regular intervals and update it as needed