If you are an employer or a building owner you have a lot of responsibilities which are governed by law – far many more than even just a few years ago, as health and safety has become at the forefront of everything that we do rather than something of an afterthought.
There are several requirements around the risk of fire, since this is a big problem, with fire and rescue services attending 557,000 incidents in the year 2019/2020 (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/923072/detailed-analysis-fires-attended-fire-rescue-england-1920-hosb2820.pdf). This figure was a 12% increase over that of 2014/2015.
This is just one of the reasons why it is a legal requirement for building owners, landlords, occupiers, employers, or anyone else with control of a premises (such as a managing agent or building manager) to carry out a fire risk assessment in order to assess the chances of a fire occurring and to take steps to remove or reduce any risk.
If you wonder why there is an option to “reduce” a risk, this is because some businesses – quite a few in fact – operate using flammable substances or processes which are an inescapable part of the business. Therefore, it may be impossible to remove the risk, but it must be reduced as far as possible. So, for example, if your business uses flammable substances, those substances must be kept under control and away from any process or machinery that could set them alight. This might mean storing them in a locked shed on a part of the factory grounds away from the main building, for instance.
The problem for most business owners when it comes to a fire risk assessment is that they really don’t have a clue what may or may not be hazardous and cause a risk. Fair enough, some things may be obvious and stand out a mile, but unless you have had training in the likelihood of something being potentially dangerous, then it is exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, for you to understand all the implications of any given situation.
Nonetheless, if you are one of the people mentioned above, then the law requires you to do this, as you are what is known as the “responsible person”.
However, the good news is that there is a “get out” clause. Even though you are the responsible person, you are permitted to delegate the fire risk assessment to another competent person. So, if you search online for something such as “fire risk assessment near me” you will come across us at UK-FireRisk Assessments because that is what we do. We can carry out your fire risk assessment for you, and it doesn’t matter where you are located because we cover the whole country.
We have a team of fire risk assessors who have all the necessary relevant training and can carry out a fire assessment of your premises, whether you have just a small office or a huge factory complex. Our fire risk assessors are not only fully qualified but are also insured, and our company is an Affiliate Organisation of The Institution of Fire Engineers.
Not only that, but we work on a fixed fee basis which is calculated on the size of your premises. That means that if you only have a small office / workshop / retail store, or whatever, our fees start at just £195.00 + VAT. For that fee, you will receive a full written report which advises you of any dangers and equally importantly our recommendations on what steps to take in order to remove or reduce the risk. This is essential if you have five or more employees, because the law requires that you keep a written report in this case.
The law also requires you to review your fire risk assessment on a “regular” basis. It doesn’t actually define what is meant by “regular” but most people assume that once a year is sufficient. That will be fine unless you make changes, in which case you need to consider if your assessment needs updating. For example, if you have a factory, you may install a new machine. This might affect the operation and pose an additional fire risk. You might move all your machines around on the factory floor and possibly block what was previously an escape route. If you have any questions, you can always give us a ring to check.