The Fire Safety Order (FSO) applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales; including the shared areas within blocks of flats and houses of multiple occupation. This order states that if you own or manage a non-domestic property, you have a legal responsibility to protect everyone who works, lives or visits there from any potential fire threats.
#1 Identify fire hazards
The first step is to assess and identify anything within your property or premises that could be a fire hazard. This would include the detection of all the potential fuel sources, ignition sources, and sources of oxygen.
#2 Identify people at risk
Employees, visitors and anyone who may be particularly vulnerable, such as children, the elderly and disabled people are at risk at any given time. This stage identifies those people and the extent of their exposure and risk.
#3 Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
This stage evaluates the results of steps one and two. What means are present for detecting a fire? Is the signage adequate? Is the testing and maintenance carried out to a high enough standard? This stage also includes the implementation of any additional fire safety precautions and potentially arranging fire alarm system and fire extinguisher installation if necessary.
#4 Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
If your business has five employees or more, you must keep a record of the risks and actions that have been taken. At this stage, you must make a clear plan of how to prevent fires and how to ensure people are kept safe in the event of a fire. This would typically include planning escape routes, making sure everyone is informed of the processes and adequate training is provided.
#5 Review and update
The final part of the fire risk assessment process is to ensure that your assessment is regularly reviewed and updated when necessary. If there has been a significant change to your premises that has affected the fire risk or your fire safety measures, you must review, amend or complete a new fire risk assessment.
You can complete a fire risk assessment yourself with the help of standard fire safety risk assessment guides. If you do not have the in-house expertise to complete a thorough assessment, you will need to appoint a ‘competent person’ to help you, this would usually be a professional risk assessor.
If you need help with your next fire risk assessment, contact us now.