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Can I Carry Out My Own Fire Risk Assessment?

Can I Carry Out My Own Fire Risk Assessment?

As one of the key elements in minimising the risk of fire – and therefore minimising the risk to life – in business premises, fire risk assessments aren’t just a sensible thing to do. They’re also a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Theoretically, you could carry out your own fire risk assessment – the Fire Safety Order merely states that it should be done by a ‘competent’ person who can produce a ‘suitable and sufficient’ assessment. However, without the necessary training and experience, you may not do a thorough or detailed enough job, and the consequences of that could be disastrous.

This article will explain why you’ll always be better off having your fire risk assessment carried out by an experienced and qualified professional.
Can I carry out my own fire risk assessment?

What is a fire risk assessment?

A fire risk assessment is a process by which the specific fire risks within commercial premises are analysed in order to minimise the risk of a fire breaking out, provide the means to control it if one does break out, and develop a plan to enable the safe evacuation of all those in the building at the time.

What is involved in a fire risk assessment?

Government guidelines describe five key steps to be followed in a fire risk assessment. These are:

  1. Identify fire hazards
  2. Identify people at risk
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
  4. Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
  5. Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly

What are the legal requirements for a fire risk assessment?

Following an initial fire risk assessment, reviews should be carried out every twelve months, with completely new assessments being conducted every five years.

If the purpose or layout of the building in question changes between scheduled assessments, or an individual at particular risk such as someone with mobility issues is employed, then reviews need to be conducted sooner to take these changes into account.

If the business in question employs more than five people, a written record of any fire risk assessment must be kept. Even though this is not strictly necessary for smaller businesses, a written record is still strongly recommended. 

Who is responsible for ensuring that a fire risk assessment is conducted?

Every business should have a ‘responsible person’ to look after matters surrounding fire safety at their premises. Usually, that will be the employer, the owner of the property, the landlord (in the case of an HMO), the occupier of a rented commercial property, or any other person who has control of the premises in question, such as a facilities or building manager.

Can I carry out my own fire risk assessment?

For large and complex business premises, you should always get a qualified professional in to carry out your fire risk assessment. For smaller organisations without significant fire risks, you may be able to do your own fire risk assessment. 

Naturally, this would be the cheaper option, but it isn’t necessarily the most sensible one. Here are five good reasons why this might be the case:

  • A trained professional with years of experience knows what to look for
  • You might not have the knowledge, experience or training that would make you competent to do it – something that is required by the Fire Safety Order
  • A fire risk assessment carries a lot of responsibility, with potentially serious repercussions if done poorly or improperly
  • As someone familiar with the building on a day-to-day basis, you might easily overlook something or not understand its significance from a fire safety perspective. A new, professional eye looking over your premises is far more likely to spot things you might miss
  • If something does happen, your insurance provider will be far more likely to pay in full if you can demonstrate that your fire risk assessment was carried out by a professional

Here at Scutum South East, we carry out fire risk assessments using trained professionals with years of industry experience to call on. Don’t take risks, make sure you enjoy the benefits of a thorough fire risk assessment that can prevent fires, protect your assets and save lives.

Get in touch with us now to find out more.

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About Scutum South East

Scutum South East is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.

From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.

With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

If you’d like to find out more about Scutum South East, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.