In the United Kingdom, all business premises and blocks of flats are required by law to have a fire risk assessment. That said, few if any businesses are aware of this and why it is important as a safety measure. Fire risk assessment is a cornerstone of all your fire safety plans for your building. Unfortunately, these assessments are mostly overlooked and this may lead to buildings being exposed to the undesirable risk of fire. It is therefore important to understand fire risk assessment and how to carry it out.
Fire Risk Assessment
Basically, fire risk assessment is a review taken to assess the vulnerability of a building to the risk of fire. After the assessment, recommendations are put forward to make such a building safer where necessary. Where there are less than 5in a building, there is no need for a fire risk assessment to be documented. However, it is advisable to have such an assessment written down because in this way, the findings can be communicated to the concerned parties and ensure they are carried out.
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Fire Risk Assessment Legal Guidelines
There are specific guidelines that have been outlined in law to be followed concerning fire risk assessments. Some of them include:
Following the original assessment, reviews are to be conducted at intervals of 12 months. After every 5 years, a new assessment must be done to capture any developments not realized in the previous major review. Whenever the fabric of a building changes or the purpose of the building is substantially altered, there is need for a fire.
Documentation of the Assessment
In a scenario where there are 5 or more regular occupants in a building, the premises must be assessed and the findings written down. Where the occupants are 5 or less, you may choose to have it written or communicated verbally. That said, there are certain circumstances which necessitate documentation of the assessment even if the occupants are less than 5. For instance, where the premises require a license or in the event the fire brigade has instructed so.
Recording of Findings and Taking Action
Whether the findings are written down or not, the review which assesses the fire safety of your premises must be produced and secondly the list of recommendations to be acted on. It is important you follow through the recommendations so that your building’s safety is enhanced.
Responsibility for Fire Risk Assessment
The law requires that in every building, there must be a designated responsible person. This is the person who is accountable for fire safety. It is his or her duty to ensure the relevant fire safety duties are undertaken and every necessary action performed to prevent fires from happening. Where you are a small business owner, you are the person responsible for your premises unless another person has been nominated for the same duty.
It is your legal right as the occupant of a building to have access to the fire risk assessment copy of your premises. In case you are not sure what is required of you, companies such as Thermotech Fire Protection Services can help you plan your Fire Risk assessment.