Workplace risk assessments are not uncommon. In fact, these assessments often form part of regular meetings, specifically employed personnel, and are carried out as part of regular commercial property maintenance checks.
Fire safety checks and assessments are very specific.
Helping to identify potential hazards, these assessments allow you to better understand the risk of your premises catching fire and the actions you must take to prevent a fire from happening.
Having the most appropriate fire alarm system, of course, is key to keeping everyone and everything safe, but what else should be included in your fire risk assessment?
What should you be aware of when carrying out a fire risk assessment?
1. Identify all potential fire hazards.
As an employer/owner, it is your responsibility to identify any potential fire risks that your employees might face in the workplace.
This makes carrying out fire risk safety assessments essential. Where you continually check for:
- Physical hazards, i.e., what could cause the hazard, machinery, dust, papers/cardboard, etc.
- Mental hazards, i.e., are employees working different shift patterns, are certain employees more at risk than others due to the nature and location of their work, etc.
- Chemical hazards, such as cleaning fluids, asbestos, etc.
- Biological hazards (mainly affecting healthcare professionals).
Walk around the premises and identify anything that could potentially start a fire and things that could quickly burn. Take note of heaters, naked flames, and any electrical equipment that could be considered high risk.
Make sure to check both inside and out of the premises, and remember, anything flammable is likely to burn.
2. Identify who could be at harm
Now that you have identified hazards within the workplace, you need to determine who is at risk and how. This element of the risk assessment should consider all full-time, part-time, contract staff, visitors, etc., ultimately, anyone who is in the building at any one time.
To help you get a handle on this, you must review all work routines and the various locations in and outside the premises, where people operate and move around.
3. Assess the severity of the risk and act.
You need to understand the likelihood of the risk you have identified and what level of harm it will cause. Employees typically assess and categorise risk as low, medium, or high.
Placing a level on these associated risks allows you to put the most appropriate procedures and processes in place to help reduce the severity of the risk.
It’s important to note that often these mitigations will only reduce the risk; they will not remove it altogether.
Of course, you can reduce the risk of injury by installing commercial fire alarm systems that let people know that a fire has broken out, and they must evacuate asap. In addition, linked fire alarm systems ensure everyone finds out about the outbreak of fire at the same time.
You must also ensure that you have working fire extinguishers on the premises that allow you to control small fires and prevent them from spreading. (To find out more about the importance of fire extinguishers and the maintenance of such equipment, make sure to check out “The role of a fire extinguisher.”)
Ensure you have a clear evacuation plan that everyone understands and can follow and push bars on fire exits, clear signage, and instructions on where you can find fire safety equipment and how to use it.
4. Record EVERYTHING!
All of your risk assessments should be recorded as evidence you are abiding by all health and safety regulations. You also have proof that you have considered all risks, took appropriate actions and measures, which are also reviewed regularly.
If you have five staff members or more, then risk assessments in the UK become a legal requirement and must include as much detail as possible, i.e., what the hazard is, the action taken, and if the risk has been reduced.
Your risk assessment record should be a working document that is continually used and updated throughout the course of the business, not something locked away for another day.
5. Carry out regular fire safety reviews.
As workplaces change and new developments take shape, you should review your fire risk safety assessments to ensure that workplaces continue to be safe and secure.
Everyone should feel safe at their workplace and have peace of mind that all appropriate measures have been put in place if a fire breaks out.
It’s about identifying what you need to do to prevent fire and keep people safe—putting in place protocols that avoid fire and deal with it too.
As the employer, you have a legal responsibility to protect everyone that works, lives, or visits your premises from the risk of fire.
Having a nominated person responsible for carrying out fire risk assessments is essential. However, these assessments can also be carried out by a fire safety expert if you would prefer.
The fire alarm regulations in the UK can also provide useful support and guidance on the most appropriate commercial fire alarm systems and suitable training on how to use various fire safety equipment.
The team at UK Red are experts when it comes to fire safety equipment and its maintenance. We aim to find the right and best solution for all of our customers and work with you and your business to meet your needs entirely.
To find out more, call one of our friendly team today on 0113 265 9790.