Anyone responsible for a building which is not a private residence must know the legal requirements this comes with. This will keep you on the right side of the law and ensure that you fulfil all your legal duties as stipulated. One very important area to keep an eye on is fire risk assessments.
These assessments must be carried out by qualified professionals each year in order for you to stay compliant. Once done, the written fire risk assessment should be kept on file, so you have it on hand. Failure to have a valid risk assessment for fire is a serious offence with stiff penalties – and even imprisonment in more extreme cases.
As well as fulfilling your legal duties, there are some other reasons why these assessments are so important for buildings. But what are they?
Can Help Identify Fire Hazards In Advance
Even with the best will in the world, it is not possible to prevent every accident or fire. However, a fire risk assessment goes a long way to greatly reducing the chances of one breaking out in your building.
This is because the assessment picks up on potential fire hazards you may not be aware of. Without an annual inspection to bring them to your attention, they could easily go under the radar.
Whether it is an overloaded power socket or a blocked fire exit, an assessment can see things you may miss before it is too late.
Can Help You Resolve Any Fire Risks
A fire risk assessment will not only identify potential issues but also help you to resolve them. While you may know how to properly deal with some risks which have been reported, this may not always be the case.
An assessment from a qualified firm will help here, as it will suggest how to reduce or remove the risk. This then makes it simple for you to get it sorted out and make your building safer.
If, for example, the problem is a dangerous chemical found on-site which could catch fire easily, your assessment will outline how it should be stored more safely.
Helps To Pinpoint Individuals At Risk
When it comes to the importance of a fire risk assessment, it is not all about the building itself. These inspections will also look at any individuals who may be particularly at risk from a fire breaking out.
A common example is a disabled member of staff who might not be able to escape a fire easily with the building’s current layout. By flagging up instances like this, where certain individuals might be at greater risk, it allows those responsible for the building to resolve them in advance.
In turn, this makes the building safer for everyone.
Can Help Check Equipment Is In Good Order
These assessments are crucial for making sure that the equipment you use to warn of fires or fight them in your building is working. You may think that all is well but get a nasty shock when the fire extinguisher you need to use one day does not work.
Of course, smoke alarms and fire alarm systems are also an important part of any risk assessment for fire. An annual inspection will pick up on any equipment like this which is missing or broken, so you can get it fixed.
Suggest Any Training That May Be Needed
A very important reason to have your annual fire risk assessment is that it can flag up any training requirements that may be needed. This could be for yourself or for someone else who will be the nominated fire marshal in the building on a day to day basis. It really is vital to get the right training in place for those who need it, so they know what to do if a fire should break out.
This will help them react calmly to the situation and follow the correct procedures to ensure everything goes right. So, a good assessment will include not only suggestions around what your emergency plan should be in case of a fire but also what training is required for fire marshals.
It may also suggest what general fire awareness training could be needed for other people who use the building regularly.
Fire Risk Assessments In The South East
The bottom line is that these types of assessments can help keep your building and the people in it safer from the risk of fire. It will also keep you within the legal guidelines which the UK has in this area.
If you are responsible for a building in any of the above parts of the UK, why not give Armadillo Safety Solutions a call on 01233 820480?
As fully qualified health and safety consultants, our IOSH certified team have years of experience in conducting thorough fire risk assessments. Get in touch today and let us help keep your premises safe from fire.