Everything you need to know about Workplace Fire Risk Assessments (FRA).

As a business owner, if you employ five or more people, you are now legally responsible for carrying out your fire risk Assessments.

The Fire Service no longer provide certificates for risk assessments. The responsibility for the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order falls solely with the business owners and managers. 

Having a fire alarm and annually tested fire extinguishers only go a small way towards the Fire Risk Assessment. 

Assessments are required as they:

  1. Identify the fire hazards you may have,
  2. Identify people at risk,
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks on a regular basis,
  4. Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training, where required,
  5. Help you review and update the fire risk assessment regularly

These are the things you need to consider when carrying out your workplace fire risk assessment:

  • Emergency routes and exits
  • Fire detection and warning systems
  • Fire-fighting equipment
  • The removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
  • An emergency fire evacuation plan
  • The needs of your vulnerable staff and colleagues
  • Providing information to employees and other people on the premises
  • Staff fire safety training

How frequently do I need to carry out my workplace fire risk assessment?

Firstly, the legislation doesn’t set a specific timeframe. Just that all non-domestic premises MUST carry out a fire risk assessment regularly by law. The Regulatory Reform Order demands that they are kept up to date.

However, how regular and how up to date? 

Not an answer you’ll find on google as every business is different!

Your potential hazards and risks change all the time. So you have to weigh up many factors and decide the frequency yourself. 

Annually, is what is recommended. Then every time one of the below ‘changes’ occur.

Fire Risk Assessment frequency factors:

  • Have you made any changes in the workplace environment, like layout or change of use?
  • When buildings have been empty or had a period of reduced usage (like over lockdown). This might mean your building is at risk of deterioration, poor maintenance or due to damage. All which could lead to problematic water systems and electrical equipment failures
  • Weather or structural damage,
  • Have you started any new activities that are being undertaken at the premises?
  • Have your staff levels have decreased or grown?

If any of the above changes have occurred, then legally, you need to conduct an up-to-date FRA.

You may think that your premises have not changed over the years, but don’t rule out even the slightest change or alteration. 

Do I need a dedicated member of staff to manage my fire risk assessments?

A responsible, dedicated person must carry out your fire risk assessment. 

You can, of course, carry out the FRA yourself if you feel able to do so and you have the required time and experience. There is an App we highly recommend that can help you streamline your Fire Risk Assessments. It’s called Firehub. Here is an article we have written on how the Firehub app can help.

Fire safety is not where you should be cutting corners. However, we generally recommend using the services of a professional risk assessor. It’ll give you complete peace of mind outsourcing to a professional. 

SS Systems are a BAFE SP205 Accredited Fire Risk Assessor organisation, and we would be more than happy to manage these for you.

Fire Risk Assessments the SS Systems way.

When we perform Fire Risk Site Assessments, we: 

  • Observe all aspects of your building
  • We check the external layout and building structure, 
  • We audit the fire separation in addition to mitigating actions taken to reduce the fire risk and the management of the building, 
  • Included in the audit is your building contents and 
  • We also check the occupancy numbers too. 

All FRA’s are then written following PAS79. We also provide you with detailed recommendations to ensure you have all the information required to form a mandatory fire safety action plan. Leaving you fully compliant with the Regulatory Reform Order.

What we need to hand to be able to carry out your FRA

We will obviously require full access to your site and all your fire safety documents and records, to be able to complete the Fire Risk Site Assessment. If there are any areas inaccessible, don’t worry we will simply highlight these on the completed FRA.

Below is a list of additional information that the assessor will require whilst conducting the fire risk assessment:

  • Site plans and fire policy
  • Fire extinguisher, alarm, emergency lighting test records
  • Staff training records
  • Details of hazardous/flammable substances
  • Electrical test records & plant maintenance programme and records

If you do not have all the above information, do not worry. Our site assessment is designed to cover such eventualities.

What will be included in my SS Systems Fire Risk Assessment?

User Guide  – this details how to use the document and what steps to take. 

Risk Assessment Summary  – providing an overall risk rating for the premises with a commentary on the findings. 

General Information – providing information regarding the site; it’s activity, people and the human risks present during the survey. 

Fire Protection Measures  – comments on the physical passive fire protection (compartmentation walls and floors) and active fire protection (fire alarms and extinguishers, sprinklers and emergency lighting) that the building is provided with. 

Management of Fire Safety  – comments on the effectiveness and suitability of the existing management policies and practices. 

Significant Findings Action Plan – where we detail the issues found and provides a risk-based timetable to resolve each item. This forms the basis of your action plan to ensure full compliance with the Fire Safety Order (2005). 

Appendix A – the limitations of the report, items that have been visually inspected.

What are the benefits of a SS Systems FRA?

We understand that the process can be disruptive and time-consuming, so our aim is to remove the hassle.

Our experienced team will conduct the site assessment and return a full written report with significant findings and solutions within 10 working days.

We are a BAFE SP205 Accredited Fire Risk Assessor organisation. As a BAFE Registered & Third Part Accredited, CHAS Accredited Contractor. Our qualified surveyors and engineers are ideal candidates to design, install, audit, repair, service, maintain fire protection systems. Risk Assessments are second nature to us.

What to do after the FRA is complete?

You will receive a Significant Findings Action Plan that we create by extracting the vital information and the FRA key findings.

This plan is for you and tells the enforcing authority (Fire Service) how you are going to deal with the issues that have arisen in the FRA, and the timings around when the work will be complete by. It’s also a good idea to add some additional information to the list explaining your decision-making process on certain tasks.

If you need additional assistance in understanding this process and managing such an action plan, our experts are on hand to help you through every step.

If you’d like to discuss Fire Risk Assessments or any of the above-related services, please give us a call on 03300 417170. Where one of our experienced members of staff will be happy to help. Alternatively, contact us here.

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