Why should you undertake a fire risk assessment of your business? Well, there are two answers to that question, the first of which is that fire is an ever-present danger in our lives for many different reasons. Fire can be caused by an employee dropping a lit cigarette end after having a crafty smoke during working hours and failing to see that it is fully stubbed out.
It can be caused by electrical faults – and we all use electricity. It can be caused by overloaded power sockets. It can be caused by faulty electrical equipment that we all use every day such as laptops, printers, copiers, and so on. You could have a faulty fridge or kettle in the staff rest room.
Fire can be caused by flammable substances that may be routinely used in the manufacture of the products that you sell.
When you stop to think about it, fire can be caused by a lot more situations and things than you would think, and this leads us to the second reason which is that, quite simply, it is a legal requirement that you undertake a fire risk assessment of your premises, for all of the foregoing reasons and more. Yes, it’s the law. It comes under an Act called the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
This requires you, as an employer (or a landlord), to undertake a fire risk assessment of your business premises and, if you employ five or more people, to keep a written record of it which your local Fire & Rescue Service can demand to see. There can be severe penalties for non-compliance, including jail. And, just in case you were wondering, yes, businessmen have been jailed for exactly that, along with fines running into many thousands of pounds.
The person who must undertake the fire risk assessment is known as the “Responsible Person” and that can be you as the employer, a managing agent of a property, a building owner, landlord, or anyone else with control of the premises such as a facilities manager or risk assessor.
All of which is fine, except that as the owner of a woollen mill, a website design company, or a car repair workshop you probably know a lot about wool, web design, or car repairs, but potentially little about fire safety assessments.
Not to worry. The government has got your back. And so have we at UK-Fire Risk Assessments. The law allows you to appoint someone else to undertake the fire risk assessment for you. Yes, you are responsible for seeing that it is carried out, but you can use our building fire risk assessment services to carry out the actual assessment itself.
Why should you use us?
Well, apart from any other considerations, all of our fire risk assessors have the training and knowledge to carry out a fire risk assessment without missing things out. Certainly, if you stop to consider it, some things may be blindingly obvious in your business. However, there will almost certainly be things which your local fire and rescue service would spot instantly – and so will we – that would never occur to you. That is not a criticism but a simple, straightforward fact. You know things about your business that our team will never know. Likewise, when it comes to fire risk assessments, we can spot things that you wouldn’t.
Furthermore, not only do you need to carry out a fire risk assessment and, where appropriate (which is most employers) keep the written record, but you have to review it on a regular basis. You also need to review it when anything changes. This could be as simple as taking on a new employee, or it could be that you move everything about in your store or on your workshop floor which could alter escape routes in case of fire, for instance. That doesn’t mean that you need to do a full assessment when you take on a new employee, but you do need to ensure that he/she understands your fire regulations and procedures.
With that said, reviewing on a “regular basis” is accepted by most people to mean once a year, although the law does not define “regular”. When you use us as your fire risk assessors, we will automatically remind you on an annual basis so that you can ensure that your business remains compliant and is safe for everyone – you, your employees, and your customers.