Fire Risk Assessment

As an employer, you have a legal duty to keep all your employees from harm at work. Part of these duties is to ensure fire safety at all times, which can be done by using a fire risk assessment.

Fire risk assessments are the best way to spot any potential fire hazards you have within your company. Not having one may mean you fail to stop fires from happening, which could lead to serious injury or even death.

In this guide, we'll discuss what a fire risk assessment is, how to carry one out, and how Peninsula can help you.

What is a fire risk assessment?

A fire risk assessment is the process of reviewing and looking into a business's fire safety measures. They are used to understand the potential risks a company may have from fire, so they can identify how to protect their employees.

The Health and Safety Authority In Ireland (HSA) describes a risk assessment as a written document that records a three-step process:

  • Identifying hazards in the workplace.
  • Assessing the risks presented by these hazards.
  • Putting control measures in place to reduce the risk of them causing harm.

Is a fire safety risk assessment a legal requirement?

Yes, under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, an employer is legally required to carry out risk assessments. This includes controlling the risks of fire via fire safety assessments.

It also states that the person in control to any extent of the workplace should ensure a safe workplace, safe access, safe egress and safe articles or substances.

Section 11 of the 2005 Act states that employers are required to prepare and revise adequate emergency plans and procedures and provide the necessary measures for firefighting and the evacuation of the workplace.

If fires occur and it becomes clear that no steps have been taken in terms of fire safety, you might risk large fines and potentially a custodial sentence. Making it vital you follow your fire safety requirements.

A fire risk assessment should be carried out annually, or when a new process or potentially flammable material is introduced to your workplace. For example, when you hire new staff or implement new equipment.

Examples of fire risk assessments 

There are different types of fire risk assessments that you can carry out in your business, depending on your circumstances.

Examples of fire risk assessments are:

  • General fire risks: These assessments inspect fire safety equipment, such as extinguishers and fire blankets. For example, whether they're in date and usable.
  • Office fire risk assessments: This type of fire risk assessment assesses an office setting. For example, making sure all smoke and fire alarms work, as well as keeping routes to fire escape doors clear.
  • Explosion risk assessments: This type of risk assessment reviews hazardous substances and dangerous chemicals that could potentially be flammable if handled incorrectly. For example, to ensure staff are following the correct procedures, such as using PPE, when using them.

How to carry out a fire risk assessment 

When carrying out a fire risk assessment, there are five steps you should take.

Let's discuss each of them in more detail:

Step 1: Identify fire hazards

A hazard is anything that carries a risk of harm. So, the first step of a fire risk assessment is to identify all possible fire hazards on your premises during a site walk-around.

When identifying hazards, you must consider risks linked to materials, equipment, and current work practices.

Step 2: Decide who may be harmed 

The second step of a fire risk assessment is to evaluate which employees can be harmed by fire hazards.

All your employees can be harmed from fire risks on site, but some will have an increased risk. For example, if some work with flammable hazardous substances or close to ignition sources - these employees may require further safety measures.

Step 3: Evaluate the extent of the risk and implement control measures

The third step of a fire risk assessment is to reduce or remove the risks. This is done by installing and implementing control measures.

Examples of control measures are:

  • Installing fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and other fire fighting equipment.
  • Providing clear exit and escape routes.
  • Installing fire doors.
  • Ensuring emergency lighting works correctly.

Within this step, you should create an emergency plan in case of a fire. As well as this, provide training to all your staff on fire prevention and what to do if a fire breaks out. For example, you might wish to appoint someone who will be in charge of contacting fire services.

Step 4: Record your findings

The next step is recording the findings of your fire risk assessment. It's good practice to do so, as it can show you care about fire safety in your company.

This includes any control measures you've implemented as well as protecting the employees most likely to come to harm.

Step 5: Review your risk assessment and update your required

The last step in the fire risk assessment process is to regularly review your assessment, making updates when needed. For example, after you carry out your annual fire risk assessment or if new processes are introduced.

It's good practice to keep a copy of your fire risk assessment on site to hand over to the fire service if they're ever called.

How Peninsula can help with your fire safety 

Keeping people safe from fires whilst at work is a legal requirement that you must comply with. However, when growing your business, you may not have time to consider the best ways you can do this.

That's why Peninsula is here to help. We take care of everything when you work with our Health & Safety experts. We provide fire risk assessment support from beginning to end, including:

  • Sending a fire risk assessor to your premises to identify potential fire risks.
  • Ensuring the fire risk assessors find ways to reduce or eliminate hazards in your workplace.
  • Recording all findings for you to store with all your important documentation.
  • Providing full Health & Safety

Peninsula also provides 24-hour health & safety advice. This service helps identify fire safety risks, along with any other health & safety concerns. To contact our team of specialists, call 0818 923 923.

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