Do I have to do a fire safety risk assessment?

Paul Logan

October 31 2023

First published: October 31st 2023
Last updated: October 31st 2023

Fire safety compliance is a key part of every employers’ health & safety obligations.

If you’re a business owner, employer or anyone in control of a building and its surroundings, you have fire safety duties under Irish health & safety legislation as well as specific fire safety legislation that is enforced by local authorities.

And whatever about fire safety compliance, ensuring everyone that uses your premises is protected against fire risks is a prerequisite to staying in business.

Fire poses critical risks to businesses like personal injury, workplace fatalities and damage to premises, equipment and stock.

Many businesses never recover from the impact of a fire-related incident.

What is a fire risk assessment?

As with other aspects of good health & safety management, fire safety management starts with a fire risk assessment.

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 employers must carry out risk assessments including an assessment of fire risks.

A risk assessment consists of three steps:

  • Identification of hazards in the workplace.
  • Assessment of the risks posed by the hazards identified.
  • Putting control measures in place to reduce the risk of these hazards causing harm.

A fire risk assessment should identify the fire hazards, risks, and control measures that will ensure high levels of fire safety in your workplace.

Your fire risk assessment should involve consideration of fire prevention, fire detection and warning, emergency escape routes and fire-fighting equipment.

Who completes the fire risk assessment?

Your fire risk assessment needs to be overseen by a ‘competent’ person.

A competent person for the purposes of health & safety legislation means a person with sufficient training, experience and knowledge to handle the hazards in question given the size of the undertaking or operation in question.

For fire safety purposes, the competent person must be suitable to conduct a fire risk assessment, demonstrate knowledge of current best practice in the sector and be prepared to supplement gaps in training.

What are the benefits of completing a fire risk assessment?

The chief benefit of carrying out fire risk assessments is it reduces the likelihood of suffering the ill-effects of a fire on your premises.

Damage to stock, equipment and premises not to mention loss of life are risks that no business should take lightly.

A periodic fire risk assessment not only helps business owners comply with their legal obligations, it also provides peace of mind and an ongoing evaluation of fire safety risks affecting your business.

How often do we complete a fire risk assessment?

In general, a fire risk assessment should be carried out on an annual basis. You may need to update your fire risk assessment if you make any changes to your operations, equipment, premises or work processes.

You may also need to carry out a fire risk assessment on the direction of an authorised inspector from the fire services.

Expert guidance with fire risk assessments

To learn more about carrying out fire risk assessments and protecting your business against the risk of fire, call us on 1800 719 216 today for a free health & safety advice call.

Suggested Resources