Fire Safety Management and Fire Risk Assessment must be Improved. This blog post is to raise awareness and highlight employers obligations.
Tragedies like Grenfell can be prevented by improving fire safety management. Fire risk assessment, fire safety engineering, evacuation planning, training and fire equipment maintenance all needs to improve. Fire risk assessment procedures along with health & safety software systems can help this, ensuring traceability, an audit trail and the facilitation of risk assessment & corrective action through automated reminders.
To provide a statistical example: The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service mention stats from a DfE publication stating that in 2015 there were more than 600 fires in British Schools and each large fire causes £1.5M of damage on average, according to insurers.*
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire safety in England and Wales. In Scotland, requirements on general fire safety are covered in Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. Article 3 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 clearly states that employers have fire safety responsibility.
Failure to comply with fire safety legislation is a criminal offence.
For fire safety compliance you must:
• Carry out a fire risk assessment.
• Ensure sufficient training as fire safety training is a legal requirement for all staff.
• Have fire safety arrangements and an evacuation plan.
• Ensure provision of information to employees.
• Have appropriate fire safety equipment installed and maintained.
The HSE clearly state on their website that:
‘As an employer (and/or building owner or occupier) you are required to carry out and maintain a fire safety risk assessment. This is under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which applies in England and Wales, and under Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act. The fire safety assessment can be carried out either as a separate exercise or as part of a single risk assessment covering other health and safety risks.
You need to make sure that, based on the findings of the assessment, you take adequate and appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.’
– (www.hse.gov.uk/risk/faq.htm – Frequently asked question – ‘what do I have to do in terms of fire safety’)
Legislation doesn’t state a precise frequency for conducting a fire risk assessment
However Article 9, (3) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that it needs to be kept up to date and done again if there has been significant change in the environment:
‘Any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date and particularly if—
(a)there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid; or
(b)there has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates including when the premises, special, technical and organisational measures, or organisation of the work undergo significant changes, extensions, or conversions, and where changes to an assessment are required as a result of any such review, the responsible person must make them.’
The HSE state on their website that:
‘You should review your risk assessment:
• if it is no longer valid
• if there has been a significant change
Your workplace will change over time. You are likely to bring in new equipment, substances and procedures. There may be advances in technology. You may have an accident or a case of ill health. You should review your assessment if any of these events happen.
Remember to amend your assessment as a result of your review.
There is no set frequency for carrying out a review. ‘
– (www.hse.gov.uk/risk/faq.htm – Frequently asked question – ‘When should I review my risk assessment’ )
Frequent Fire Risk Assessment is best to improve safety
It is also important to be able to demonstrate your compliance should you receive a visit from the HSE or a Fire Officer. Safesmart recommend that the responsible person completes a fire risk assessment at least once per year or when there has been a significant change in the environment as mentioned in Article 9, (3) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
If you would like advice about fire risk assessment frequency, perhaps regarding how often to do a fire risk assessment in changing environments, contact us to speak to our fire safety consultants. Our consultancy can help you make sense of Fire and Health & Safety and regulations to ensure your business is meeting its obligations. Click our solutions menu to see all the fire safety and health & safety services we provide as well as our fire safety engineering: extinguishers, alarms etc. Discover easier fire safety management with Smartlog too.
- The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/contents/made