When you own a business or operate any sort of non-domestic premises, there are many more legal obligations upon you than there were 40 or 50 years ago. In those days, you could open up a business, employ staff, and as long as you paid them on time and made the correct tax returns, that was about all you had to do.
Today, that has changed considerably. For instance, if you employ staff, you will almost certainly have to operate a company pension scheme that they can join. There are certain exceptions, but not many. Carrying out payroll has become so much more complicated since 2013, as you now have to make tax returns for your employees every month instead of at the end of the year. In fact, it has got so complex that there has been a surge in businesses that will handle all your payroll for you so that you can outsource everything and save yourself all the headaches.
Then there has been the ever-onward march of health and safety. You have to ensure that your business premises are as safe and secure as possible both for your employees and for visitors. In particular, there are strict rules as regards fire safety, and these apply to all non-domestic premises including, believe it or not, empty buildings.
This particular requirement comes under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Act 2005 and requires all those who are “responsible persons” in non-domestic premises to conduct a fire safety assessment of the said premises and take any action that may be found to be needed as a result. Failure to comply can lead to serious financial penalties and even jail!
While most people would agree that fire safety is common sense, actually carrying out a fire risk assessment can be seriously difficult on many premises. Even if you only own a convenience store you have to take into consideration the likelihood of fire breaking out and consider how your employees and customers can escape safely if such a thing should occur.
All of which is all very well if you know what to look out for and what needs to be done, and if you understand all of the different types of fire extinguishers, and the different fire alarm systems, what is likely to be combustible and what is not, where you should store combustible materials and how to keep them safe when not in use, and a whole lot more. Then you need to have employee training, a fire evacuation plan, and so on, and it needs to consider how you would get a customer in a wheelchair safely out of the building from the fourth floor of your store when the lift is out of order! That might not be needed when a fire breaks out, but then again it could happen. The whole business can actually be nothing short of a nightmare! Yet it is a legal requirement.
This is the reason that so many responsible persons choose to outsource their fire risk assessments to us at UK-Fire Risk Assessments. As a professional fire risk assessment company, it is what we do for a living, and the law allows you to appoint someone from outside your business, as long as the assessment is carried out by a competent person. Since we are professionals, you will be in safe hands and have the peace of mind of knowing that your fire risk assessment will cover everything and be fully compliant with the law.
This is much the same as if you needed some electrical work undertaken in your business. You would call in an electrician rather than trying to figure it all out for yourself.
There is certainly a lot to come under consideration when you are undertaking a fire risk assessment. As we have often said, some things may be really obvious when you start to look at them from the point of view of fire risk, but unfortunately, there are lots of things that the man in the street would miss, not because of incompetence, but simply through not having the training and experience.
When you hand your fire risk assessment over to us, you can get on with running your business while we ensure that you are compliant with the legislation.