Every business should invest in regular fire risk assessments for each physical site in its portfolio. But before we think about the ‘why’, let us start with the ins and outs of what a fire risk assessment involves.
What is a fire risk assessment?
Fire risk assessments review the given physical building, inspecting the premises for potential fire risks. After risks have been identified, recommendations can be made as to how you might better protect the building against the risk of fire.
It’s the law!
A fire risk assessment is a legal obligation of businesses and owners of multi-occupied dwellings in accordance with Article 9 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. This legislation stipulates that “the responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks” in order to identify risks and implement the appropriate fire safety measures.
As you can see, according to legislation, it is the legal responsibility of the “responsible person” to make sure a fire risk assessment is undertaken. The responsible person in a commercial business is often the business owner, manager, appointed fire safety manager, managing agent, or landlord, depending on whether you rent or own outright your space.
Who can undertake a fire risk assessment?
Fire risk assessments should only be carried out by a “competent person”, that is, someone who has the experience and expertise to identify risks and suggest safety protocols to mitigate this risk.
Although this does not necessarily have to be a ‘risk assessor’, the benefit of employing a qualified and certified safety expert to conduct your fire risk assessment in Essex is that you can have peace of mind that your building complies with all health and safety legislation.
All the findings of the risk assessment should be recorded in detail, alongside all safety measures that have been recommended. The fire safety protocols should then be implemented at the earliest convenience, which must be reviewed and updated regularly.
Why should your business invest in a fire risk assessment?
You will need to pay the price if you don’t
As conducting a fire risk assessment is the law, not conducting one is a crime. Thus, if you do not possess a fire risk assessment, and have not correctly implemented adequate fire safety protocol, you can receive a large fine and even a prison sentence upon prosecution.
Prove you did everything you could
In the unfortunate event of a fire in your business, proof of fire risk assessments beforehand will show that your premises have been regularly inspected, and so you have done everything you could to prevent the fire from occurring. Therefore, it is always best to keep written evidence of a fire risk assessment, whether it is with a logbook or a folder of signed and dated recommendations.
Risk to life
At its most basic, a fire risk assessment protects your employees or tenants. Without a fire risk assessment, you risk the lives of the people you work alongside every day.
Protect your business
As a business owner, your business is your biggest financial asset. As an employee, the business is the sole source of your income. Thus, protecting your place of work against fire damage not only protects the physical building, but also the financial investments and capital wrapped up in its walls.
And there you have it – everything you need to know about why your business must invest in regular fire risk assessments.