Fire Risk Assessments

If your group or organisation employs people, and has (to any extent) control of a building, you are required by law to carry out a Fire Safety Risk Assessment.

A Fire Safety Risk Assessment is an organised and methodical look at your premises, your activities, the potential for a fire to occur and the harm it could cause to the people in and around those premises.

A Fire Safety Risk Assessment aims to:-

  • identify hazards – in this case the situations that can give rise to a fire
  • reduce the risks -  the potential or the likelihood of fire occurring and the consequence of that fire causing death or injury - that those hazards pose 
  • determine what fire safety measures and management policies are needed to ensure the safety of people in the building should a fire occur

If your group or organisation employs 5 or more people you are required by law to have a written record of your Fire Safety Risk Assessment.

Identify the people at risk

First set down who is at risk – these will usually be the people working or occupying the building – staff, volunteers, customers/users/clients, general public. Think about those people who may require assistance in responding to a fire such as older people or people with disabilities or pregnant women or children.

Identify the Fire Hazards

Identify and write down all the potential fire hazards. All a fire needs to get started is a source of ignition, fuel and oxygen. Taking steps to avoid all three of these components coming together will reduce the risk of a fire starting.  

Evaluate the Risks and Agree Suitable Measures 

Having thought about the potential hazards and the people using your building, your Risk Assessment should continue with a look at the likelihood (or risk) for any potential accidents, incidents, acts or omissions which may allow a fire to start. This may include the risk of someone having access to sources of ignition which they could use to deliberately start a fire.  Then consider the extent of those risks to the people in your building – how would they be affected? How would the fire spread and would it affect escape routes? 

What fire safety measures do you need to put in place to:-

  • reduce the likelihood of fire
  • reduce the spread of fire
  • provide a means of escape
  • fight fire
  • detect fire and give warning of fire
  • arrange for action in the event of fire
  • training

Your committee or board members have a duty to ensure that the following principles are considered when implementing Fire Safety measures:-

  • avoid risks
  • evaluate risks that cannot be avoided
  • combat risks at source
  • replace the dangerous with the non-dangerous or less dangerous
  • develop a Fire Prevention policy
  • give priority to collective fire safety measures (over individual measures)
  • give appropriate instructions to staff and volunteers

Remember to set a date for reviewing your Fire Safety Risk Assessment and to make sure that all staff and volunteers are aware of their role in Health and Safety.  If there are any changes to your building or working procedures you should review the Risk Assessment and make any necessary adjustments.

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Last Updated 05/09/2012 14:36