Fire Risk Assessment Review
I thought that I would start the new year with some advice on fire risk assessments and in particular ‘fire risk assessment review’
Firstly I will tell a story of what happened when I carried out a fire risk assessment review on a large country home/hotel incorporating holiday lets. I was contacted just before Christmas by a health and safety company who I have carried out fire risk assessments for them in the past. They asked if I would do a review of one their own fire risk assessments which was carried out the year before by one of their consultants.
A review is where you check to see if the previous action plan has been actioned on and at what stage they are at, I also I need to put my fire risk assessment hat on too so if I spot something that wasn’t picked up before or has happened since the last fire risk assessment was carried out then I need to tell them about that too and include it in my report. It is not a full fire risk assessment.
Since the last time the fire risk assessment was carried out , I found the below deficiencies.
Two fire doors in the kitchen area had no intumescent strips (they had somehow fell out) , these help seal the door in a fire and help prevent the spread of smoke and fire. Kitchens are a high risk area and any deficiencies in fire safety could put the premises and people at risk.
A fire door in one of the corridors didn’t close at all – this compromised the protected route.
A recently installed fire door had been incorrectly fitted, the gap between the top of the door and the frame were well above the 3mm standard and was approaching nearly 7mm – the intumescent strips won’t work correctly if above 4mm which is the max permitted gap.
The electric cupboard had holes in the brickwork and ceiling where electrical cables pass through, these hadn’t been fire stopped still.
A completely new electric cupboard hadn’t been picked up from the previous fire risk assessment, inside this there was a stool and table – all electric cupboards/services should be free of any combustible materials.
What if this fire risk assessment review was done every two years instead of annually? Would the problems double? What about the paying public and staff safety?
How many companies review their fire risk assessments annually or if ever?
The Fire Safety Order states that you should review your fire risk assessment regularly however there is no specific time frame on this. It also states that you should also review your fire risk assessment when there have been:
- Changes to work activities or the way that you organise them, including the introduction of new equipment;
- Alterations to the building, including the internal layout;
- Substantial changes to furniture and fixings;
- The introduction, change of use or increase in the storage of hazardous substances
- The failure of fire precautions, e.g. fire-detection systems and alarm systems,
- Change of use, e.g. hotel to hostel or hall of residence to residential conference centre
My intention here isn’t to rubbish the previous fire risk assessment as there was nothing wrong with it. It is to highlight what can happen if you don’t review your fire risk assessment regularly
So my question is: When was your last fire risk assessment review?