What is a fire risk assessment?

Fire Logbook

    Do you perform fire risk assessments? Do you know what these assessments are and how important they really are? Today we will go into the five steps of a fire risk assessment.

    A fire risk assessment is a legal requirement and if you are responsible for a building, e.g. an employer, owner or occupier of premises you need to make sure a suitably competent person completes a fire risk assessment. Fire risk assessments consist of two parts; the first is the actual review itself and the second is a list of recommendations to make sure that the building is fire safety compliant.

    A fire risk assessment should be carried out by the responsible person of the building or assigned to a third-party risk assessor. This report can be incredibly detailed, and it is always recommended that a qualified risk assessor completes it. There are five main steps that will be looked at in the fire risk assessment, they are:

    1. Evaluate

    After identifying fire hazards and the risks associated with them, it is important to evaluate what to do in order to get the hazard removed or the risk reduced. Things to consider including in your fire safety measures are as follows:

    • Are your staff all trained and know what to do in the event of a fire?
    • Are all fire alarm systems working and can be heard by everyone in the building?
    • Have you got appropriate/sufficient fire extinguishers, are they visible and staff are trained how to use them?
    • Is the fire safety equipment regularly checked?
    • Have you assessed the potential for heat, smoke, and fire to spread uncontrollably throughout your building?
    • Can people use the escape routes safely?
    1. Identify hazards

    Looking around the building/s it is essential to note anything that could cause a fire. It can sometimes be helpful to have an open conversation with others in the building as they may have noticed things that aren’t too obvious to others. This should include all hazards in the building including fuel sources and sources of oxygen.

    1. Identify people at risk

    For each hazard that was identified in the first step, it is crucial to be clear about who might be harmed as this will help to manage the risk. This doesn’t have to be specific names, but groups of people who may be near to the fire hazard and how they will be at risk.

    Some individuals may have different requirements as to why they will be at risk for example, wheelchair users not being able to use the building’s lift.

    1. Record

    Recording all the findings of the assessment and sharing them with the occupants of the building will encourage everyone to put the results of your fire risk assessment into practice. You will need to be able to show:

    • Proper checks were made
    • All obvious and significant hazards were dealt with
    • Number of individuals who may be affected
    • Precautions are reasonable
    • Remaining risks are low
    1. Review

    Things are likely to change regularly so it makes sense to review what you are doing on an ongoing basis. Look at the fire risk assessment and think about whether there have been any changes? Are there any improvements you still need to make? Have other people spotted a problem? Have there been any accidents or near misses that you have learnt from?

    It is important to make sure your fire risk assessment stays up to date.


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    The information contained within this blog is provided solely for general informational and educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Before taking any actions based upon this information, we advise the reader to consult any and all relevant statutory or regulatory guidance and where felt necessary to consult a qualified fire or industry regulation professional. The use or reliance on any information contained herein is solely at the reader’s risk.

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