What Regulations Require a Company to Complete a Fire Risk Assessment?
If you’re running your own business, there’s usually a lot you need to manage, with plenty of balls to juggle and all kinds of competing demands on your time and resources. Given all that, it can sometimes be tempting to put things that aren’t of immediate benefit to your business to one side to be dealt with at a later date.
If those things you’re putting off include decorating the office or getting the photocopier serviced, that shouldn’t be a problem (as long as you get around to them eventually!). But if we’re talking about matters to do with fire safety at your premises, that’s one thing you should never put off, because you could be putting the safety of your business and the lives of your employees at risk.
One of the key elements of fire safety in the workplace is the fire risk assessment. It’s also one of those with strict deadlines that absolutely can’t be missed. This article will examine some of the legal requirements surrounding fire risk assessments so that you can be fully aware of what you need to do as the responsible person at your business.
But if you’re new to the world of workplace fire safety, let’s start at the beginning.
What is a fire risk assessment?
A fire risk assessment is a means of establishing the fire risks and hazards that exist in a workplace and then identifying the best means of reducing, eliminating or controlling those risks. It can dictate everything from where you install fire alarms and what types of fire extinguishers you should have to hand to your need for fire doors, emergency lighting and fire safety signage.
It consists of five key steps:
- 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
You can read more about the five steps of risk assessment in this earlier article.
What regulations mean that you have to carry out risk assessments?
Fire safety in the workplace is governed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (which, despite its title, came into force in 2006).
The introduction of this piece of legislation replaced all previous regulations on the matter, bringing all the elements together into one comprehensive and all-encompassing document.
Fire risk assessments are covered in Article 9 of the Fire Safety Order.
What happens if you do not comply?
Your business premises are subject to inspection at any time by your local fire and rescue service. They’ll not only check that your existing fire safety measures and procedures are appropriate, but they’ll also want to see evidence that a fire risk assessment has been carried out recently and reviewed within the last twelve months.
Minor breaches of fire safety regulations can result in fines of up to £5,000. However, major breaches could mean unlimited fines or up to two years in prison.
So following all fire safety regulations isn’t just a sensible thing to do to keep your workplace and employees safe – it’s also a strictly enforced legal requirement.
How can I get a fire risk assessment?
For relatively small premises without significant fire risks, you may be able to carry out your own fire risk assessment if you have the experience and knowledge to do a competent job. But bear in mind that when checking your premises, the fire and rescue service is likely to view a fire risk assessment that’s been completed by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing in the same way as one that’s not been done at all.
The safest thing to do in the vast majority of cases is to get in an expert who’ll be able to do a thorough examination that will meet all the requirements of the Fire Safety Order.
Here at Scutum London, we carry out expert fire risk assessments for customers across South East England, including London and Surrey. We have decades of experience in the industry and can be relied on to do a professional assessment that will help you meet your legal obligations and keep you, your workplace and your employees safer.
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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.