Is Fire Risk Assessment a Worthless Expense or a Legal Necessity?

by David Cant on September 17, 2014

Most fire hazards are avertable with fire risk assessment. A fire risk assessment basically covers general guidance on fire safety and provision of direction on affluences that may lead to fire and flare-ups. Risk valuation helps ascertain all the fire threats and hazards in your premises after which, you can be able to make the decision to put up a system that controls or reduces risks.

It is important to understand the difference between risk and hazard. Many people often confuse the two and even at times end up using the terms interchangeably. Any specified ‘hazard’ may be followed by certain ‘risks’. However, you must look at the prospect of an incident which will induce the ‘risk’ translating to a threat. It is in this case that an accurate valuation becomes exceedingly valuable in determining how and where to put one’s exertions in shielding the business’ people and properties from fire, whether cautious or accidental.

Nonetheless, some businesses view fire risk assessment as an annoyance, something that they are forced to have; nevertheless, they really do not see its importance. However, the law, Regulatory Reforms Order 2005, necessitates fire risk assessment for each and every business, but is it truly a worthless expense?

Completing fire risk assessment- quick guidance

In the identification of Fire Hazards, the two vital components that have to be looked into are the fuels and the detonation sources. In most cases it is no surprise to find plenty of both in a workplace. It is important that risk assessment be undertaken by a person with right training, and good experience with fire safety. An excellent and skilfully done Fire Risk Assessment will go over and beyond simply identifying budding fire vulnerabilities and determining whether or not every person will securely escape the building.

When done appropriately and if the firm fares the perils identified in it suitably, then it could have remarkable worth for the business. An assessment will definitely ascertain those things that could possibly put your whole operation at jeopardy and even exterminate your business entirely. To many, such an assessment may seem like a fairly modest and candid exercise, while to others it could be a lot more multifaceted. Overall, it all sums up to the fact that a fire threat assessment completes the following:

  • Classifies the fire hazards
  • Identifies the persons at risk
  • Appraises, moderates and eradicates the risks
  • Records the discoveries, what is and has to be done to mitigate the risks,
  • Reviews and fills in the assessment on a regular basis

High Risk Fire Hazards for People in Operation

To the surprise of many manufacturers, the ‘fire hazards’ considered and readily identified by most people to be dangerous are in fact not essentially the ones that are categorized under hazards that present the highest ‘risk’ to persons or the operation. Neither is it continually the most obvious persons who are in most case ‘at risk’.

If asked, many office employees will not classify their files, chairs, and papers pinned to partitions as ‘fuels’ and possibly hazardous. They would however probably categorize their computers and a number of other electrical machines as ‘risk hazards’as far as fire is concerned when in fact, the files, books, loose papers, and other stuff in their workplaces or partitions are more likely to be hazardous and considered the ‘first fuel’ compared to anything else.

What the law states on risk assessment at the workplace

According to the relevant law in the UK (The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety order 2005), Risk Assessment must not only be suitable but also sufficient.Also that the actions acknowledged as essential for the well-being of the persons should be acted upon..

The law further necessitates the determination of how high fire risks are presented in our buildings and attempts to alleviate it. This simply means that it is vital to have an idea or two of where and how a fire could start, how far it could spread, and how big it could get before the hazard is stopped. Therefore, in accordance with most of the fire risk regulation, the following should be put into consideration:

  • Emergency paths and exoduses
  • The escape route of susceptible persons, like the aged, the disabled and young children
  • Fire recognition and cautionary systems
  • The exclusion or innocuous storage of hazardous materials
  • A substitute fire evacuation strategy
  • Training of staff and other persons within the premises on fire risks and safety

Also, it is important to note that for fire risk valuation to be considered valid there is need to consider the following:

  • What is most likely to burn
  • What could possibly cause the ignition
  • How fast the fire could grow and blow-out and what could help limit or avert it
  • The amount of time available for inhabitants to get to the exits and evacuate the building

With all the above in mind, deterrence is far much better than treatment may be an old saying. Nevertheless, in the case of fire safety, the saying is most probably far spot-on than we would like to imagine. A worthy Fire Risk Assessment should go a long way towards ensuring indisputable latent fires remain what they are – probable and not essentially definite.

And finally, ensure your workplace is fire safety compliant. Employ experts, who have years of experience and knowledge to carry out fire risk assessments of your workplace.

David Cant
David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with Integrity and Humour so, why don't you find out more and follow him on Social Media.
David Cant
David Cant
David Cant
David Cant

Latest posts by David Cant (see all)

Previous post:

Next post: