Many employers may not even be aware of the laws relating to fire safety in their business, especially owners of small shops, or perhaps an accountant with only three or four employees. This can be something of a problem because the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Act 2005 requires ALL employers to ensure the safety of their employees, as far as is reasonably practical, and among other things to undertake a fire risk assessment.
Furthermore, the assessment should be repeated on a regular basis. In addition, if the business employs more than four people, the employer is required to keep a written report of the findings and any action that he or she has taken as a result.
This can be a real headache, because while some things may be obvious, in most businesses there will be dangers that are not obvious to the untrained eye, so the employer doesn’t even know what he or she is supposed to be looking for.
There is so much to take into account. For instance, according to the government, you have to consider all of the following:
- emergency routes and exits
- fire detection and warning systems
- firefighting equipment
- the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
- an emergency fire evacuation plan
- the needs of vulnerable people, e.g. the elderly, young children or those with disabilities
- providing information to employees and other people on the premises
- staff fire safety training
That on its’ own is quite enough to consider. But the government also provides a list of guides – all very useful – about fire safety in different types of premises, such as hotels, offices and shops, factories and warehouses, educational premises, residential premises, theatres and cinemas, animal premises and stables, and a whole lot more besides. Most of these guides run to some 130 – 150 pages long!!
How is the average businessman or woman supposed to deal with that lot? OK, if you happen to be the chairperson of a large corporation on £200,000 a year only required to put in an appearance for four days a month (yes, there really are jobs like that!) you could perhaps spend an extra few days trying to understand all the fire regulations. (For an extra thousand or two a day of course!).
Unfortunately, most people have a business to run and don’t have the time or the knowledge. That’s why they call us in at UK-Fire Risk Assessments to do it all for them.
We DO understand all the rules and regulations because all of our assessors have the required training, knowledge and competency and as a result we know exactly what to look for in any type of premises, and the sort of steps that need to be taken if any improvements are needed.