1st Fire Safety Ltd

Helping businesses on a local and national basis call: 0121 6616464

1st Fire Safety Ltd  - Helping businesses on a local and national basis call: 0121 6616464

Fire Risk Assessment Review

 

 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’

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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.

However

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire? It will never happen to me!

Fire? It will never happen to me!

This is what is often said when it comes to fire. Yet those businesses who are unfortunate to have a fire, 95% of them fail to recover from such a tragedy.

building on fire

So what can we do to safeguard this from happening to us then?

Firstly a bit of history, In October 2005 the UK fire safety legislation was changed. The many different parts of fire law was either replaced, amended or simplified to form the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005.  Prior to this, it was the responsibility of the fire authority to visit premises, carry out fire risk assessments and issue fire certificates. The onus is now placed fully on the ‘responsible person’ to carry out their own fire risk assessments.

The fire service has the responsibility to police the RRO and have more power than the police to enter buildings as they do not require warrants to do this. Fire officers generally look for and ask for your fire risk assessment, emergency plan and fire records. They will also do an inspection of the building and if they feel there are insufficient fire safety measures in place they have the power to close it down.

The first thing we need is a fire risk assessment

So the first thing we must have in place then is a fire risk assessment. This is a legal requirement and should be documented should you employ five or more people however the fire law doesn’t stop there. You also require a documented fire risk assessment should you manage/own or are deemed the ‘responsible person’ on the following: shared houses, houses of multiple occupancy whether licensed or not, blocks of flats, hostels, small care homes, B&B’s, guest houses, holiday lets and hotels.

Are you competent enough?

The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 (RRO) states that if you feel you are competent enough to carry out a fire risk assessment then you can do one yourself however there have been many cases of fines and prosecutions from the fire authorities for insufficient and poor fire risk assessments click here for an e.g. A lot of companies are getting theirs done by professionally qualified fire risk assessors not only is it saving them time and therefore money it could also save lives too.

What next?

Okay, so once you have had your fire risk assessment done. What next? You should then start to complete the action plan.  This part of the fire risk assessment has a list of prioritised jobs with a timeframe of when each task must be completed by. It is crucial getting this done as soon as possible and definitely before the suggested completion date as any kind of delay could jeopardise your fire safety and therefore your business.

Your fire risk assessment is a live document and should be reviewed regularly; there is no set time on how often you should get this done. Good practise is getting it reviewed on a yearly basis however should you have any changes in your workforce, work practices, have any internal/external work done to your workplace or have had a fire then this is also a time to re-examine it.

What else should I know and do?

Should you have fire extinguishers in your premises then by law they must be serviced annually by a ‘competent’ engineer. Fire alarms must be serviced every six months and emergency lighting every twelve. All details of servicing must be recorded in a fire log book and must be made available at any time for the fire authorities.  If you have fire extinguishers on site then you must be suitably trained to use these and have had training on basic fire awareness too. For larger premises you must have fire wardens and of course these must be trained too.

How can I get help?

If you need help with any of the above we can assist you in this as we offer a complete fire safety solution and are not only competitive but also offer excellent customer service just take a look at out testimonials.