When you are an employer, landlord, building owner, occupier, or anyone else in control of non-domestic premises, the government places certain responsibilities upon you with regard to fire safety, among other things.
Not the least of these is that you are required by law to undertake a building fire risk assessment, and, if you are an employer with five or more employees, retain a written record of that assessment and any action taken as a result.
This is rather like telling the man in the street that he must write software for an online game. Unless you are a specialist in that subject you wouldn’t even know where to start. Much the same applies to a fire risk assessment. Sure, a few things might be obvious, such as you wouldn’t keep a can of petrol in the kitchen of your restaurant, for example, but that aside how can you possibly know what you should be doing? You can’t. You haven’t had any training. But nonetheless, the government says that you have to do it! Just for the record, here is what it says on the government website:
Penalties and enforcement
You could be fined or go to prison if you do not follow fire safety regulations.
Fortunately, there is an escape route. That is that you are allowed to delegate the responsibility for undertaking the fire risk assessment to a “competent person”. So, if you are the MD of your business, you might delegate the responsibility to the Sales Director. After all, he’s a pretty competent person. Look at the sales figures!
The government website also states the following:
You’ll need to consider:
- emergency routes and exits
- fire detection and warning systems
- fire-fighting equipment
- the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
- an emergency fire evacuation plan
- the needs of vulnerable people, for example, the elderly, young children, or those with disabilities
- providing information to employees and other people on the premises
- staff fire safety training
Right. Your Sales Director is good at all that stuff, is he?
We thought not. This is why so many people choose to use our services at UK-Fire Risk Assessments because every member of our team is trained to the highest level and knows what to look for, and what action to take when things are not as they should be.
Just take the first one of those steps above: emergency routes and exits. Now let’s suppose you run a machine shop. Business is good. Your staff are competent. And you have an emergency escape route at the back of the factory. Business is so good that you need to invest in a couple of new machines, and those machines have to go somewhere on the factory floor. There is not a lot of extra space, but if you move a couple of the existing machines about you can squeeze them in OK.
Now suddenly, without giving it a lot of consideration, you might have blocked what was previously an escape route. There are just so many things which you have to be aware of. This is especially the case since we have had Covid-19 because many offices have moved desks around so that they can keep up with social distancing, and partitions may have been put up between desks. All with the splendid objective of keeping everybody safe from the virus, but now they may not be safe from a fire!
You are required to review your risk assessment whenever anything changes, too. Let’s suppose you have an office over four floors, and you take on a new employee who is great at his job but is wheelchair-bound. He works on the third floor. How do you allow for his escape if there is a fire and it puts the lift out of action?
The government website does say that your local fire and rescue authority might be able to give you advice if you are not sure that your risk assessment has been carried out properly. However, it also points out that they cannot undertake the fire risk assessment for you.
This is why you need us at UK-Fire Risk Assessments. We can carry out your fire risk assessment and provide you with a written report so that you remain compliant with the law, and your employees remain safe.