Does Your Fire Risk Assessment Cover These Exceptional Circumstances? Business owners and the person(s) responsible for fire safety must remember the existing current procedures for fire safety responsibilities may need to be checked. With the recent developments around Coronavirus (COVID -19) and the lockdown, business owners are being urged to check to ensure that any change in business circumstances are covered and/or updated in the business’ Fire Risk Assessment.
Due to these exceptional circumstances, most businesses will have made significant changes to their normal working practices e.g. staff working from home or skeleton staff working on site. Your current fire risk assessment and any relevant policies should be reviewed to ensure that the fire safety precautions that are in place remain effective. Remember, as the business owner or if you are the person that manages the building, you have a legal requirement to ensure that staff are safe, in the event of a fire that they can safely escape the premises and that measures are in place to lessen the risk from fire.
It is very important to keep the business premises safe by reviewing your current risk assessment and that the existing safety measures are still effective. If the premises has a reduction in the number of staff available, they must still be able to carry out the essential, regular tests of the fire alarm system, emergency lighting and visual checks of fire-fighting equipment.
Fire Risk Assessment
To help with determining what should be included in a Risk Assessment, there is a fire safety risk assessment checklist available from the government services and information website.
The fire safety risk assessment follows five key steps –
- Identify the fire hazards including sources of ignition and fuel
- Identify people at risk, some may be at a greater risk
- Assess, eliminate or reduce the risk of a fire starting as much as possible
- Keep a record of the findings, plan and if necessary, provide suitable training
- Regularly review and update the fire risk assessment
The business owner or person responsible for the business premises is required to:
- Consider who may be especially at risk
- Eliminate or reduce the risk of fire
- Provide general fire precautions
- Take additional measures to ensure fire safety where flammable or explosive materials are used or stored
- Create a plan to deal with an emergency
- Ensure all fire precautions and equipment are maintained
- Keep any findings of the risk assessment under review
It is an offence for any responsible person under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to fail to comply with any requirement to fire safety duties. These failures can result in an enforcing authority to investigate any reports of insufficient processes and precautions in place. Enforcing authorities include the local fire service, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local council authorities. If enforcement action is undertaken and a conviction obtained then the result could be a fine or even imprisonment. So, don’t risk it! Update your Fire Risk Assessments today!
Until next time…Stay Safe!