The legal requirement is that almost all business have to complete a Fire Risk Assessment and this has to be written down where there are five or more employees, a licence is in force in relation to the premises or an alterations notice requires the assessment to be written down.
Different methodologies exist for conducting assessments, but many professional fire safety experts prefer to use the one set down in the BSI document PAS 79:2007 “Fire risk assessment – Guidance and a recommended methodology”.
This involves 9 steps;
- Obtaining information on the building, the processes carried out in the building and the people present, or likely to be present, in the building;
- Identifying the fire hazards and the means for their elimination or control;
- Assessing the likelihood of a fire;
- Determining the fire protection measures in the building;
- Obtaining relevant information about fire safety management;
- Making assessment of the likely consequences to people in the event of fire;
- Making an assessment of the fire risk;
- Formulating and document an action plan;
- Setting the date for the next review of the assessment.
Consultants that follow this methodology are more likely to produce a risk assessment that fulfills the legal requirement of being suitable and sufficient.
Whilst it is not necessary to employ a consultant to undertake a fire risk assessment, it is sensible to do so providing that you are satisfied as to their competence and you do not feel that you have the necessary expertise yourself. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires technical expertise to be utilised if it is needed, by appointing a competent person to assist on fire safety matters.
If you would like further information on fire risk assessment from one of our solicitors, please contact us.