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What Is a Comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment?

The risk of fire in workplaces is one of the most serious risks that business owners face, with incidents resulting in loss of property, disruption to operations, harm to individuals and even death. This is why it is crucial for businesses to carry out a comprehensive fire risk assessment, which identifies potential hazards and outlines plans to protect people from fire in the event of an emergency.

Despite being relatively rare, fires can cause significant disruption to businesses, with the Home Office reporting that a fire breaks out in commercial premises every 23 seconds. Fire damage is estimated to cost the UK economy £15 billion annually and can also cause harm to people’s health and well-being.

Fire risk assessments are an integral part of fire safety management, and a comprehensive fire risk assessment should be carried out regularly. In the article below, we’ll discuss what a comprehensive fire risk assessment is and how it can be done effectively.

A comprehensive fire risk assessment should include a detailed inspection of the building, identifying any sources of ignition (including heaters and electrical equipment), fuel (anything that could burn) and oxygen (anything that can help a fire spread), as well as evaluating the effectiveness of existing fire safety measures. It’s also important to consider who might be affected by a fire in the premises, including:

The assessment should then recommend any action that needs to be taken to eliminate or reduce those risks. This may involve eliminating or removing the hazards, providing staff with escape routes that are clear and free of obstructions, training on fire prevention and evacuation procedures, and reviewing fire safety policies and procedures.

When selecting a qualified fire risk assessor, it’s important to look for an individual with a track record in working with similar businesses. Ask for client reviews and references to gain insight into an assessor’s reputation and level of expertise. It’s also worth considering whether or not they have experience working with businesses that are the same size as your own, since this can provide a deeper understanding of your specific needs.

Once you’ve completed the initial fire risk assessment, it’s important to review and update it regularly. Changes in the workplace can alter the risk, so it’s vital to keep on top of the situation. Some of the most common changes to a business that would necessitate a fire risk assessment include:

While there’s no hard and fast rule about how often a risk assessment should be reviewed, it’s important to revisit it whenever you notice any significant changes in the workplace. In some cases, this could be as soon as a week after the assessment has been conducted. Other times, it might be more suitable to wait until a year has passed, or as long as a month.

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