Did you know that forgoing a fire risk assessment completed by a competent individual could potentially prove to be the difference between life and death? In the event of a fire, not having the right fire safety equipment installed in the right places on your premises can pose a big threat to the safety of your staff.
If you’ve already done some research into fire risk assessments, you may be aware that they are in fact a legal requirement in the UK under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) for those organisations with five or more employees. This may then lead you to ask the question, who is responsible for completing a fire risk assessment?
Who Is Responsible for Completing A Fire Risk Assessment?
Strictly speaking, anyone considered to be competent enough to complete a ‘suitable and sufficient’ audit could undertake a fire risk assessment as the law doesn’t stipulate required qualifications or seniority. Competency is judged by sufficient training skills and knowledge, the more complicated a building or the activities undertaken the more competency required by the individual is required, without these core requirements a person cannot be classed as competent and could leave themselves open to prosecution in worst case imprisonment. However, it’s wise to consider whether you’d be comfortable with leaving the safety of your staff, customers or suppliers in the hands of an individual who’s not trained in fire safety. Would you be willing to take this risk with their lives?
As an example, in 2017, a terrible fire ripped through the Grenfell Towers in London, leaving 72 dead. This is a stark reminder of how important it is to ensure that any block of flats and any non-domestic premises have a proper fire risk assessment carried out on a regular basis, the right fire detection in place, and that early notification equipment is properly fitted.
A Handy Way to Look at Fire Risk Assessments
Insurance policies offer both businesses and individuals risk minimisation. The guidance from The Fire Service is that fire risk assessments are reviewed annually to make sure they’re still suitable, so that if there is an incident, you can rest assured that all possible steps have been taken to ensure you have sufficient legal and financial coverage.
Annual fire risk assessments completed by a professional are very similar, in that they allow you to minimise your risk. By asking a fire safety expert to undertake the risk assessments, you can rest assured that all the correct measures are in place to minimise the risk to your people and premises. Asking someone who is not a fire safety professional to undertake the audit is unlikely to minimise your risk to the same extent, nor offer the same peace of mind.
Fire Risk Assessment Requirements
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) states that all non-domestic premises housing five or more people must review the following on an annual basis:
- Current fire prevention measures
- How well you could communicate to those onsite in the events of a fire
- Your escape routes
- How well you could confine and/or suppress a fire
- The level of fire awareness and training among your staff
These requirements are there for your safety, so it’s important to take each element seriously. Although it’s very likely a competent member of staff could identify escape routes and put a communication plan in place, could they confidently say whether there are enough of, and the right types of fire extinguishers in the building as per the current regulations?
Is there emergency lighting and if so, is it in the right places as per the current regulations? What fire awareness knowledge does the business have and what fire safety measures are already in place?
With so many elements to consider, it really does make more sense to employ a professional to conduct your annual fire risk assessment. It’s just not worth taking the chance and increasing your risk.
Find out all you need to know about our fire risk assessments.
At IFS we carry out full fire risk assessments for our clients all over London and the Home Counties.