How Often Should Fire Risk Assessments be Reviewed?
As one of the most effective means of ensuring fire safety in the workplace, you need to have full confidence that your fire risk assessment is always up to date.
But how often do you need to be reviewing your plans and procedures in the event of a fire and what sort of changes might require you to do it sooner than would normally be the case?
This article will examine this important question so that you can ensure that you are always fully on top of your legal requirements when it comes to fire safety. But let’s start by reminding ourselves of what a fire risk assessment is and why it’s so important.
What is a fire risk assessment?
The first thing to say about fire risk assessments is that they are a legal requirement for all commercial premises in the UK under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
When you carry out a fire risk assessment, you examine every part of your premises to identify the particular fire hazards that are present so that you can then make changes to minimise those risks as far as possible. This could include removing hazards or installing appropriate fire alarm systems and fire extinguishers.
You also need to identify individuals that might be at particular risk in the event of a fire. People might be more vulnerable due to mobility issues, the nature of their work or the environment they are working in. This will allow you to develop a plan to ensure their safe evacuation in a fire emergency.
Using this information, you then need to make an emergency plan and provide any necessary fire safety training to ensure all your staff know what to do should the worst happen.
You can read more about the five steps of risk assessments in this previous article.
How often should a fire risk assessment be reviewed?
The final step in a fire risk assessment is to conduct subsequent reviews. Although the Fire Safety Order does not provide a specific or legally binding time frame – it merely requires that your fire risk assessment is ‘up to date’ – it is very strongly recommended that reviews are conducted at least every twelve months following a full assessment.
This is because new risks and hazards can emerge at any time, while you also want to be completely confident that your existing plans and emergency procedures are still relevant and likely to be the most effective solution.
As well as regular reviews, it is also recommended that you have full re-assessments at least every five years. However, more frequent re-assessments might be needed in higher-risk premises.
When might more regular reviews or re-assessments be needed?
It’s important to remember that the time frames above are a minimum. As stated earlier, your current assessment needs to be up to date to meet the requirements of the Fire Safety Order. That means that if circumstances change, you might need to review or re-assess sooner.
So what circumstances might lead to bringing your next review or assessment forward?
- A change in the law – any change in the legislation will need to be considered to understand how it might apply to your premises
- Change of use at your premises – a change of use at your premises is likely to mean new fire risks that require new fire safety systems to deal with them
- A change in the layout of your premises – ensuring safe evacuation is one of the key elements of any fire safety plan, so changes in your layout might mean new escape routes, emergency lighting or fire safety signage are needed
- New vulnerable people on site – if new people likely to require special assistance or measures in an emergency join your business, you’ll need to review your plans to reflect the need for their safety
Any of the above situations are likely to mean that your current assessment is out of date. Should a fire occur without you reviewing your fire safety measures, you’ll not only be in breach of your legal requirements, but you’ll also be risking the lives of those working at or visiting your premises.
Don’t take chances with fire safety at your commercial premises. Scutum London can help with all aspects of your fire risk assessments to ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect your site, staff and visitors while also meeting all your legal obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Get in touch with us now if you’d like to know more or you want to arrange your next fire risk assessment – we support businesses located across South East England, including London and Surrey.
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About Scutum London
Scutum London is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.
From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.
With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).
If you’d like to find out more about Scutum London, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.