Who is Responsible for Completing a Fire Risk Assessment?
A fire risk assessment is a fundamental element in commercial fire safety, and it is the duty of the designated ‘responsible person’ at the business in question to ensure that it is carried out. This could be the business owner or manager, or the landlord or managing agent in the case of a block of flats or HMO (house in multiple occupation).
If your business is a unit within shared premises, responsibility for fire safety may lie with several individuals across the different companies located there.
In theory, that responsible person (or persons) could also conduct the fire risk assessment, but they would need to have the experience and knowledge that would make them competent to do the job effectively. In most cases, you are far better off getting an industry professional to do the job for you.
Even if you’re not doing the assessment yourself, being the responsible person for fire safety is an important role, so it’s worth examining in more detail what a fire risk assessment involves and why it is so important.
What happens if you don’t have a fire risk assessment?
Under the terms of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a fire risk assessment is a legal requirement for all commercial premises, including multi-occupied residential accommodation with shared areas within the building.
Your business can be inspected by your local fire and rescue service at any time, and if you are unable to demonstrate an assessment or review in the previous twelve months, you could be subject to prosecution.
Breaches of fire safety regulations are understandably taken very seriously – given that if you don’t follow them, you could be putting people’s lives at risk – and a successful prosecution could result in substantial fines or even a term of imprisonment.
Find out more about the results of non-compliance with fire risk assessment legislation in our earlier blog.
What is involved in a fire risk assessment?
When you carry out a fire risk assessment, you are seeking to evaluate how and where fires could occur, the best means of removing or reducing those risks, and the most effective tools for detecting and tackling a fire should one break out. You’re also determining how a fire could be prevented from spreading and how everyone in the building could evacuate safely, with particular attention being given to those with mobility issues or in high risk areas.
More details on the steps involved in performing a fire risk assessment can be found in our previous article.
Why are fire risk assessments so important?
Quite simply, fire risk assessments save lives. A fire can break out at any place, any time, so it’s essential that you have a plan for how to deal with that eventuality.
But fires don’t just take lives, they also destroy businesses. According to the London Fire Brigade, some 60% of businesses never recover from a fire. If you’re a business owner, that could be your life’s work gone, while your employees – the people who rely on you for their livelihoods – could lose their jobs.
Doing all you can to prevent that from happening doesn’t just make sense, it can literally be the difference between life and death.
How to get a professional fire assessment
As stated earlier, it is possible to carry out your own fire risk assessment if you have the competency to do the job to an acceptable standard. For small premises with minor fire risks, it might even be the most sensible option.
But in most cases, a fire safety professional will not only be able to do the job far more effectively to protect you, your business and your staff, they will also be the only solution likely to pass muster with a fire and rescue service inspection.
Here at Scutum South East, we’ve been carrying out fire risk assessments for businesses and organisations across South East England, including London and Surrey, for many years. Our fire safety professionals can bring their considerable experience to keeping you both fire safe and fully compliant with all current fire safety legislation.
Want to know more? Then get in touch with us today and ask for a free quotation or even a free site visit to assess your existing fire safety situation.
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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.