In the past the methods of fire prevention in the business world have been different; this was in the form of a fire certificate that defined whether the premises were deemed safe or not. Today however a far more proactive methodology of increasing safety is in existence.
Since 2006 it has been a vital process in any business to undergo a regular fire risk assessment of the premises; the purpose of this task being the recognition of hazards and how to control these hazards. In the past the methods of fire prevention in the business world have been different; this was in the form of a fire certificate that defined whether the premises were deemed safe or not. Today however a far more proactive methodology of increasing safety is in existence. The practical result is that the responsible person, for instance a manager or owner now has the job of ensuring a regular Fire Risk Assessment process is followed.
For those managers and business owners who already have a fire certificate, the feeling that the need for a Fire Risk Assessment is negated is a common misconception. A Fire Risk Assessment is now demanded legally, even for businesses that may run exactly the same operation prior to the release of these regulations. The result may be that the risk assessment only has limited findings, but this does not discount the importance of the process. When it comes to the safety of staff members there is no price too high, whether this means the hassle of undergoing an assessment for assessment's sake it is irrespective; it is a legal requirement.
The Risk Assessment process has certain key elements that should be adhered to if the results are to be worthwhile. The ultimate objective is naturally to discover where in a business the chances of a fire are greatest and how workers can be protected from these risks. The assessor, be they an external party or a suitably trained person within the business typically works with existing health and safety legislation in order to conduct the assessment, using this legislation to find suitable outcomes for the assessment. The most important consideration for business managers is to prepare thoroughly for the process; it can be quite disrupting so ensuring that operations are not overly affected is a major concern.
Normally the process follows a five step methodology:
- Recognising the level of risk within the business premises, this will include identifying specific hazards that can cause fire.
- An investigation of the employees that will be placed in particular danger should a fire break out.
- Look at existing fire prevention and safety procedures and assessing where these can be improved.
- Recording and noting of all recommendations the assessment finds
- The creation of a schedule that ensures the recommendations are put in place over a reasonable period of time.
Understandably it is the business manager or owner who typically has the greatest knowledge of how operations are conducted and how these operations are susceptible to the dangers of fire. Subsequently when the process of a fire risk assessment is taking place it is important for this person to include their input as much as possible, passing on their understanding of operational activities to the assessor. In addition to the manager or owner, other members of staff, specifically those working in the most dangerous environments should be consulted on how to improve safety procedures within their work area. All staff members can make valuable contributions to the process and should be involved at all stages.
It is hoped that this will have given business owners and managers an understanding of the legal and moral obligation of undergoing a regular fire risk assessment. It is not just an issue of liability but is instead about improving the working environment for all. www.macdonald-martin.co.uk can provide you with all the necessary Fire Safety Training on Fire Risk Assessments ensuring that you are compliant with all the upto date Fire Safety Legislation.
Be Safe Stay Safe!