When you run any sort of business, no matter what type, the law requires that you have a fire risk assessment carried out on a regular basis. You can either do this yourself, as the responsible person, or you can have experts do it for you, such as ourselves at UK-Fire Risk Assessments. While you would expect us to say that the latter is preferable, unless you are trained in the skills necessary to spot hazards and how to make them safe, it is almost impossible for the man in the street to undertake a fire risk assessment and cover all the possible points. It is so easy to miss things that an expert would spot.
There are also a lot of things to cover in a fire safety assessment. Apart from any other consideration, if you employ more than four people – which means most businesses, you are also required to keep a written report of your assessment. You should also review your assessment when anything changes. For instance, taking on an extra employee is a change, and may affect the way in which people escape from the property in the event of a fire if that person is not taught your fire escape rules or works in a part of the building that has not been used for that particular purpose before.
You also need to have a written escape plan with routes clearly marked, and staff must be trained in this during working hours. It is necessary to have fire alarms and for them to be tested weekly and maintained every three months. In addition, you have to allow for things such as disabled people in wheelchairs who may be on your premises. So if you run a retail business, this could happen at any time because anyone can come into your store. You are required to have staff who are trained in what to do if a fire breaks out and those disabled people need assistance to get downstairs when the lift is out of order.
Certainly, there is a lot more to this than meets the eye at first glance, which is precisely why many business owners prefer to use our services in order to ensure that they are compliant.
Of course, depending on the size of your business, you will need to have fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, fire alarms, smoke detectors, heat detectors, and more. You also need to have your staff trained in the use of these, and they need to be checked and maintained. For instance, fire alarms should be tested once a week and serviced every three months.
Furthermore, failure to follow the correct procedures and abide by the law can cost you a lot of money. The Fire Safety (Regulatory Reform) Order came into being in 2006 and in a study carried out in 2019 covering over 200 cases, it was found that the total handed out in fines for failure to comply was £1.2 million, or an average of £27,519. That is no fun at all if you run a small business. In the worst cases, offenders have been sent to prison.
That is just one reason that you need to undertake a fire risk assessment and make certain that you are complying with the law. Another is that – apart from the ever-present risk of serious injury and death – many businesses that suffer from a fire never recover. The whole business, to use a colloquialism, goes down the tubes. That’s right: one simple spark can put you out of business.
This is why so many businesses choose to use us at UK-Fire Risk Assessments to undertake the job for them. We work on a pricing system that is geared to the overall area of your premises and starts at jus £195.00, For that you get a complete assessment of your business and we provide you with the written report which, as the law says, if you employ more than four people, is a legal requirement.
Your local fire brigade is allowed to inspect your premises at any time and, if you are found not to be compliant with the law, can take further action.
As the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. Call us to arrange for your fire risk assessment now.