Since 2006, the law requires every business that has premises to conduct a fire risk assessment. All employers must perform this assessment and apply necessary fire precautions for the identified hazards. This law puts the full responsibility of business fire safety in your hands as an employer.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

Most businesses don’t think that their establishments can ever catch fire, so they never take the necessary precautions to safeguard the premises. They are faced with the consequences of this action in the end. A fire risk assessment is a survey of the causes of what may potentially cause fire breakout in your establishment. The assessment is a vital factor when determining the safety of the business. It helps you come up with a fire management plan.

The assessment involves several actions by a professional regarding:

  • The vulnerability of the business establishment to fire.
  • How far you have complied with fire regulations as required by the legislation.
  • How prepared you are to cope with fire in case it occurs.

The outcome will be a report detailing the areas that you need to pay attention to. There are a number of reasons why you need to have a professional perform a periodic fire audit.

The Stages of a Typical Fire Risk Assessment

The process is systematic to cover all areas of the establishment. Let us look at the five common stages that make up a professional assessment.

Identifying the Hazards

The first step performed by the expert is to identify the various issues in the establishment that can start a fire. These can be debris, paper or anything that can burn. Do you deal in solvents and fuels? These and other questions have to be answered in this first stage.

Know Who is at Risk

To a certain extent, everyone in the organization is at risk when fire breaks out. However, the expert seeks to know who is particularly at risk so as to prioritize the mitigation actions. Those at high risk might be disabled workers, newly-recruited members or a person who works close to the fire hazard.

Risk Evaluation and Management

At this stage, the expert evaluates the identified risks and decides on how to mitigate each risk. The expert looks at all the risks in stage 1 and 2 and comes up with ways to manage the risks. The step involves trying to eliminate any risk in the business establishment. The expert comes up with a solution tailored to each risk that has been identified.

Proper Documentation and Implementation of Findings

This step is about documenting the findings and putting down a step by step implementation procedure. Documentation is also a proper way to show that the right check was done and that the expert checked out all potential hazards and identified the people at risk in the establishment. The report also lists down the precautions to take to reduce the risk and identifies the people that will be affected by the implementation process.

For example, the report tells you what you have on hand at the moment to deal with fire and what you should implement to make the process much effective. You must communicate these findings to all your employees. The report also details whether any staff member needs special training.

Fire Risk Assessment review

After the initial assessment is performed, it is upon you to know when to call in the expert to review how the process is working out for you. This is necessary because your business environment is constantly changing. Have you added new staff? Have you taken on more customers? Have you changed the type of chemicals you use? All these need a new review.

Why Do You Need Regular Fire Risk Assessment?

Since it is a requirement for all business establishments to have an asbestos and fire risk assessment, living up to this rule requires puts you in the good books of the law. Performing an assessment identifies dangers and helps you mitigate them before an accident happens.

Working with a qualified expert gives you peace of mind knowing that your premises are safe for both your employees and customers. This is suitable whether you receive thousands of customers or just 10 per month.

Insurance companies will work better with you if you have a fire risk assessment report that shows that the premises are not prone to fire. Regular assessments are also a good way to reduce your monthly insurance premiums.

Conclusion

Knowing the potential fire hazards in your business establishment is the first step towards establishing a risk assessment procedure. From there, the expert determines the people who are at risk and comes up with procedures to mitigate the risks that might put your business at risk. The assessment identifies the dangers and helps you eliminate them to ensure a safe working environment for your employees and customers.