Every year in the UK, people die or they are seriously injured through fires in the workplace. As well as the loss of life, there is also the cost in damage to property, fines, compensation and insurance. Many fires can be avoided through taking the correct precautions, having effective controls and procedures in place. Read the guide below to learn how to make fire risk assessments.
Fire safety legislation
New rules were introduced into England, Scotland and Wales in 2006 replacing the existing legislation. Fire certificates would no longer be required with the emphasis being on fire prevention and reducing the fire risk. Who is responsible? Anyone who enters a business premises is responsible for fire safety. They could be employees, customers, contractors or even visitors. Every premises has a designated responsible person who must legally arrange a risk assessment, identify any possible fire risks and implement measures to deal with or reduce those risks. In large premises, this responsibility could be given to several people. Duties must include The designated responsible person must ensure that everyone using a building can escape if there is a fire. Particular attention must be given to the elderly or disabled and to children. They must identify possible dangers and risks, who is most at risk and remove that element of risk as much as possible. Identify hazardous or dangerous chemicals and have a plan to protect people from this risk. Record the findings and review them as and when it is necessary.
Steps to fire risk assessments.
This is usually the local fire authority and they must be satisfied with the safety measures in place. If they find major problems, they can serve notice requiring improvements or even close the premises until these problems are dealt with.
Step by step process
The recommended procedure to identifying the hazards is to note anything that can start a fire through naked flames, heaters, cookers or hot air dryers. Anything that can contribute to a fire including waste materials, display items, textiles or flammable materials. Sources of oxygen such as air conditioning or commercial oxygen supplies that could potentially fuel a fire. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risk You should whenever possible remove the risk identified such as a build up of waste, reduce those that cannot be completely removed. Replace highly inflammable materials with less flammable alternatives. Remove anything that can start a fire away from flammable materials and designate a safe smoking area away from any potential hazards (smoking is banned in enclosed spaces in the UK). Fire detection and warning You must have a sufficient fire protection and warning system in place including fire fighting equipment.