FTS Safety Solutions often receive requests to provide a Fire Risk assessment, after the initial request we are then asked, “What does a Risk Assessment entail and how long does it take?” Well quite simply it is the process that looks at issues that may result in a fire, issues that may cause or lead to a fire and what would happen if a fire occurred.
What is a Fire Risk Assessment
There are two methods of risk assessment that can be used a qualitative risk analysis or a quantitative risk analysis. Semi quantitative points schemes can also be employed. However, from our experience, a basic qualitative fire risk assessment based on PAS 79:2012 – Fire Risk Assessment. Guidance and a recommended methodology will suffice for most situations.
Qualitative Risk Analysis
A qualitative risk analysis prioritises the identified project risks using a pre-defined rating scale. Risks will be scored based on their probability or likelihood of occurring and the impact on project objectives should they occur.
- Probability/likelihood is commonly ranked on a zero to one scale (for example, .3 equating to a 30% probability of the risk event occurring).
- The impact scale is organisationally defined (for example, a one to five scale, with five being the highest impact on project objectives – such as budget, schedule, or quality).
A qualitative risk analysis will also include the appropriate categorisation of the risks, either source-based or effect-based.
Quantitative Risk Analysis
A quantitative risk analysis is a further analysis of the highest priority risks during which a numerical or quantitative rating is assigned to develop a probabilistic analysis of the project.
A quantitative analysis:
- Quantifies the possible outcomes for the project and assesses the probability of achieving specific project objectives
- Provides a quantitative approach to making decisions when there is uncertainty
- Creates realistic and achievable cost, schedule or scope targets
Is A Risk Assessment required by Law?
Yes, however there are few exceptions, under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a fire risk assessment is necessary in virtually all buildings in England and Wales, other than domestic dwellings. Similar requirements apply in Scotland under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, and in Northern Ireland under the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.
Can I carry out a Risk Assessment myself?
Yes, you can, if you consider that you have the competence to do so.
FTS Safety Solutions are usually employed when a client does not have the necessary competence or they do not have the time or even the resources to conduct the risk assessment themselves. The Health and Safety Executive have produced a simple guide and template for completing a Risk Assessment yourself.
What skills are required to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment?
The person carrying out the fire risk assessment should be competent to do so, a competent person may be regarded as a person with sufficient training and experience, knowledge or other qualities, to enable him or her to carry out a defined task properly.
What is Involved?
A fire risk assessment involves the inspection of the building to determine the suitability of the existing fire precautions and the need for any additional measures. In addition to the inspection of the building, a review of the fire safety logbook and its management and consideration of the human factor i.e. how people will respond to an emergency and whether they will take the appropriate action.
There are certain limits to the degree of the survey and the review of the fire precautions, e.g. FTS Safety Solutions would not carry out testing of any fire protection or emergency lighting systems. Similarly, the survey of the construction of the building would cover accessible areas of the building only.
In the case of a fire risk assessment aimed at fulfilling the requirements of legislation, the purpose of the assessment will be the safety of the staff and visitors to the business premises. Some of the recommendations found in the Risk Assessment could also be valuable for the safety of the premises.
Scope of a Fire Risk Assessment
The scope of the survey involved in a fire risk assessment would include the following aspects of fire safety:
- Fire Loss Experience.
- Fire Hazards.
- Fire Prevention.
- Means of Escape.
- Flammability of Linings.
- Compartmentation. (Internal Structure)
- Fire Safety Signs and Notices.
- Emergency Escape Lighting.
- Fire Extinguishing Systems and Appliances.
- Fire detection and Fire Alarm systems.
- Facilities for use by the Fire and Rescue Service.
- Smoke Control Systems.
- Fire Procedures.
- Arrangements for Management of Fire Safety.
- Testing and Maintenance.
- Fire Training and Fire Drills.
- Record Keeping.
- Storage and handling of flammable liquids and gases.
The Fire Risk Assessment is intended to be an active document, and should consider any changes. They should be reviewed annually or if there has been any significant changes and is no longer valid. i.e. an increase in the number of staff or changes to floor layout. A Fire Risk Assessments should also be reviewed after a fire.
If you have any queries regarding a fire risk assessment contact FTS safety Solutions on 0330 6600264 or email [email protected]