What is a Fire Safety Risk Assessment?
A fire risk assessment is the evaluation or examination of fire hazards and measures to protect against fire. It also involves preparation to ensure the safety of those at risk. In the ideal scenario, employees, site managers, and safety officials work together to develop efficient fire safety programs based on risk assessments for fire.
Why Conduct a Fire Risk Assessment?
In addition to as a lawful requirement conducting a fire risk analysis will reduce the likelihood of a fire happening. The consequences of fires are not just damaging to property. Still, they can affect the reputation of businesses and undermine the confidence that customers can have in the ability and importance of the company to safeguard people from harm.
Conducting an assessment of fire risk indicates that the company is proactive in protecting against fire. Conducting periodic fire risk assessments can also help boost the trust in potential buyers or potential clients since it shows that the company is trustworthy and aware of the dangers.
How to Do Fire Safety Risk Assessment
In a fire risk assessment, you look at the factors within your work tasks that could cause injury to individuals from fire. It can help you identify the probability of a fire occurrence and the risk that workplaces pose to the employees who work there.
Its objective is to determine if the current fire safety measures are sufficient and appropriate to the presented risk or if the risk requires reduction through controls.
The term “Fire Risk” is defined as the likelihood of a fire occurrence multiplied by the severity of the fire, i.e., the potential harm and the consequences of death and property loss.
A fire hazard can cause harm depending on how likely it will cause a fire and whether there will be property or life loss consequences.
The determination of the possibility for harm is a task for the assessor, who must determine the potential consequences of the hazard.
The risk of ignition is the most critical consideration; however, one must also consider the number of chances it can occur and the elements that might cause it to happen, e.g., the people’s ability, the surroundings, and the equipment.
The possibility of development is influenced by several aspects, not the least of which is when the fire may go on to burn before it is noticed and before the fire could threaten the means to escape.
Factors like the construction of buildings (combustible materials or lack in compartmentation) and the contents (explosive or flammable substances that can provide fuel) also influence this.
The fire risk assessment must meet the following criteria:
- The assessment of fire risk should be comprehensive;
- Provide significant conclusions and actions to minimize and mitigate the risk of fire;
- Find any group of individuals at particular risk;
- A written record (when you have five employees or more);
- The plan should be reviewed regularly in response to changes in the facility, technical and organizational measures, work processes, and routines.
Five steps are involved in the fire risk assessment process.
- Step 1 – Identify the fire hazards present at your premises or workplace.
- Step 2 – Identify the people who’re at risk.
- Step 3 – Evaluate & decide if the current fire safety measures are adequate or need any improvement.
- Step 4 – Record the findings, develop an emergency plan, inform, instruct, and train.
- Step 5 – Conduct reviews regularly.
The following paragraphs will describe the five steps of fire risk assessment in more detail, but this is just an overview. The person responsible must make sure they follow the comprehensive procedures for assessing fire risks in the specific guidelines for buildings developed from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Step 1: Identify the fire hazards present at your premises or workplace.
You have to identify:
- Ignition sources include naked flames, heaters, or other commercial operations.
- Sources of energy such as waste materials display materials, textiles, or other products that are not in stock;
- Oxygen sources like air conditioning systems commercial or medical oxygen supplies.
Structures like flues and ducts, holes cut into firewalls without a fire stop, large areas of combustible materials; unoccupied roof spaces; excessively long escape routes, etc., must also be considered.
Step 2: Identify the people who’re at risk.
You’ll need to determine that are particularly susceptible to risk, for example:
- Any person who could be asleep at the premises or workplace.
- Those present in large numbers.
- People who are not familiar with the layout.
- People who are exposed to a particular fire risk.
- those who suffer from impaired hearing, sight, mobility, or other disabilities;
- People who’re working near to fire dangers;
- People who work on their own or lone workers, or in isolated or remote zones (e.g., storage spaces or roofs) );
- Parents or children with infants;
- The old or weak;
- Any people who cannot react quickly;
- external contractors agencies and the temporary employees.
Step 3: Evaluate & decide if the current fire safety measures are adequate or need any improvement.
The process is as follows:
(1) Assess the risk of fire
As a result of the fire prevention measures observed during the risk assessment, it is determined that this building is at risk of fire (probability of ignition) as follows:
Definition of terms.
There is a little fire risk, few combustibles, no high-flammability substances, and virtually no heat sources.
Fire is unlikely to spread rapidly since there are a lot of combustible materials and heat sources.
There is a severe risk of fire, substantial quantities of combustible materials, highly flammable substances, or there is a possibility of fire spreading rapidly.
(2) Identify the potential consequences of a fire
Compiling the structure of the building as well as people who live there, and safety measures and procedures that were in place at the time of the risk evaluation, it is believed that the implications for safety and life in the event of a fire will be:
|Slight harm||Moderate harm||Extreme harm|
Definition of terms:
In case of a fire outbreak, no severe injuries or deaths are likely to occur.
It is unlikely that there will be several fatalities in fire outbreaks, but it may cause injuries to one or more occupants.
Several occupants are at risk of severe injury or death.
NB! In determining the level of harm, consider the sleeping occupants.
(3) Determine the risk rating
Using the results from (1) and (2) above use the table below to determine the risk rating.
if a fire was to occur>
Risk of a fire occurring
|Slight harm||Moderate harm||Extreme harm|
|Low||Trivial risk||Tolerable risk||Moderate risk|
|Medium||Tolerable risk||Moderate risk||Substantial risk|
|High||Moderate risk||Substantial risk||Intolerable risk|
Accordingly, it is considered that the risk to life from fire at this building is:
(4) Determine the Action level and timeframe
Using the table below, determine the action level and timescale for the risk rating from (3).
|Risk Level||Action required & Timescale|
|Trivial||There is no need to take action, and records should not be kept in detail, although regular monitoring is recommended.|
|Tolerable||There is no need for significant new controls; However, the situation needs regular monitoring, and improvements that are not too costly may be considered.|
|Moderate||Efforts should be made to minimize the risk. It is essential to implement risk reduction measures within a specified time frame and monitor them on an ongoing basis.|
|Substantial||To reduce the risk, considerable resources may need to be allocated. Unoccupied buildings should not be occupied until the risk has been reduced. Action should be taken immediately if the building is occupied.|
|Intolerable||Intolerable: Until the risk is reduced, the area (or building) should not be occupied.|
Where the existing measures for fire safety are deemed inadequate, you should consider removing or reducing fire hazards wherever possible to reduce the risk. For example:
- Replace materials that are highly flammable with less flammable ones.
- Separate flammable materials from the sources of ignition.
- Make sure that the ban on smoking is in place.
- Reduce the time to evacuate and distance of escape routes.
- Provide additional escape routes.
- Add additional alarms to your fire system.
- Improve fire signage.
- Think about setting up active firefighting systems, e.g., sprinklers.
- Appoint fire wardens.
- Programs for training in fire safety.
Step 4: Record the findings, develop an emergency plan, inform, instruct, and train.
Recording, planning, instructing, informing, and training are the steps you will take in this step. To identify people at risk, you must document the fire hazards identified in Step 1 and the fire hazards identified in step 2. The action taken under Step 3 must also be documented.
Recording your fire safety risk assessment information must be completed using the appropriate corporate fire safety risk assessment form. This includes:
- Large Places of Assembly
- Residential Care Premises
- Educational or Academic Premises
- Small and Medium Place of Assembly
- Sleeping Accommodation
For advice on conducting fire risk assessments for premises that do not fall under any of the above categories, contact the Safety Section on (020) 8545 3384. Your premises will also require an emergency plan.
In case of a fire on your property or in a nearby facility, it should include the steps you need to take.
Details on emergency plans can be found below.
It is essential to provide employees and anyone else with the necessary information, instruction, and training on fire safety risks within the area and about fire safety measures to minimize the risks. Certain, such as fire marshals, need more outstanding training.
Step 5 – Conduct reviews regularly
Fire-risk assessments must be current and accurate. If a considerable change is made to your premises’ level of risk or a near miss, you should reevaluate your fire-risk assessment. Other factors to consider when reviewing the assessment include:
- The nature, type, and layout of the premises;
- Number and kind of people of the premises;
- Type, location, and layout of the equipment and plant.
- A change in the premises, people, equipment, and plant;
- Stored materials are on-site.
- An increase in materials stored on site.
- New materials stored on site.
- New procedures and processes performed on-site.
- A new shift pattern that includes night shifts.
Risk assessments for fires: some common pitfalls
There are common pitfalls to avoid during any assessment process. These include:
- Performing a retrospective risk assessment to support a previous decision;
- The use of generic assessments when site-specific assessments are necessary;
- Inappropriately conducting risk assessments;
- Ignoring the involvement of a team. In risk assessment, teamwork is recommended whenever possible. To ensure comprehensive coverage of all fire hazards, it is essential to bring together the knowledge, skills, expertise, and experiences of a wide range of individuals.
- Hazard identification failure;
- Not considering all possible outcomes;
- The failure to consider the hierarchy of controls;
- Lack of implementation of control measures;
- Failing to implement control measures as a result of a risk assessment;
- Those covered by the risk assessment are not informed about its results.
Utilizing an accurate fire risk assessment The checklist ensures that you don’t forget anything when it’s time to fulfill the legal requirements. If done according to the most appropriate standards, these crucial checks will ensure that your structures are as safe from fire as is possible and protect the lives and the livelihood of those who live there.
An inventory is a simple method to make sure you’re not missing any element that you need to consider when assessing your risks.
What is a Fire Risk Assessment Checklist?
The fire risk assessments are carried out by the person(s) in charge person(s) to discover dangers and risks. If you own commercial space and are legally required to conduct fire risk assessments and keep a log of the results.
The assessment of fire risks guidelines can be found within the Order on Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Fire Safety Risk Assessment Template (PDF Download)
Checklists are a useful tool that will ensure you don’t miss any aspect that is part of the fire risk analysis.
It’s easy to overlook even the simplest steps that could be extremely harmful to a company and its personnel in the case of fire.
Fire safety is addressed in specific OSHA standards for recordkeeping, general industry, maritime, and construction. Click here to check OSHA standards and documents related to fire safety.