Fire safety in the workplace is a significant risk. The likelihood of a fire taking place is very, very limited in the average workplace; however, because of the severity of the fire, worse case scenario, the building is ablaze. There’s also a lot of potential there for loss of life and significant injury. So fire must never be underestimated, and the cornerstone of your fire safety management system is to carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment.
Two key phrases there being “suitable and sufficient.” The fire risk assessment must be suitable for the job. A recent example in 2011 was a hotelier who operated two hotels in the East Midlands area. The fire authority went into those two premises to carry out a routine inspection and found significant fire safety failings. They also identified the independent fire risk assessment was neither suitable nor sufficient. And both people, the fire risk assessor was imprisoned for eight months. The hotelier was also imprisoned for eight months. And both people also had significant call costs imposed upon them running into thousands of pounds.
Fire Risk Assessor Must be Competent.
Some organizations of the past have asked and said, “Well, can our receptionist or can our office manager carry out that fire risk assessment?” Possibly, but what they need to ensure is the person who is carrying out that risk assessment is trained and competent to do so. If the person who is carrying out that risk assessment is not competent then not only are they potentially endangering the workplace by not having a suitable assessment, but also that person who creates that risk assessment and also the employer who accepts that risk assessment are both also potentially risking further enforcement action from the fire authorities.
Action to be taken on items Identified
Once you’ve carried out your assessment that will then identify a range of controls, which could be, for example, improving your fire safety alarm system. It could be identifying training needs, etc, and one of the key things you must also do is make sure that those controls identified have actually been implemented, and we do go ahead and organize that training. Finally, your fire risk assessment must also be reviewed on a regular basis.
We have a national team of consultants throughout the UK, and we can go to any workplace and carry out that fire risk assessment. What we can also do is provide a range of different training courses for your staff life and basic fire safety awareness, which every single employee must receive, and also for those people who are fire wardens or fire marshals, again, we can provide enhanced training for those people.