In 2014, the global online retailer, ASOS, lost 70% of its stock in a large fire. It is believed that there was more than £30 million of stock affected by the fire. Now, you may not have this value of stock sat on your racking, however, imagine the disruption to you, your customers, your order book and your bank account, if this was to happen in your warehouse?
Warehouse Fire Risk Assessments are very different to a general workplace Fire Risk Assessment.
What are the potential Fire Risks in a Warehouse?
Certain items of stock (like chemicals used for cleaning) will more than likely be stored in your warehouse. Chemicals like this may be classified as hazardous or highly flammable.
It’s not just about the storage of certain chemicals, there are many factors to consider. For example, storage density, space between pallets, right down to the type of racking. Not to mention the highly flammable packing materials like cardboard, foam, paper, and wood chippings.
Nearly all storage boxes these days, contain a high proportion of packing materials, which in the case of a fire can increase the intensity.
Due to the nature of comings and goings of stock in the warehouse, you need to constantly keep an eye on obstructed exit routes. If there’s an accumulation of newly delivered stock it could prevent escape route, so it’s a constant issue.
Let’s face it warehouses can be hazardous places, so the Fire Risk Assessment needs to be extremely thorough.
Why it’s best to get a professional to carry out your Warehouse Fire Risk Assessment?
The Fire Safety Order 2005 states that “the responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him by or under the Order”.
As the responsible person, it is you who holds the responsibility for the adequacy of your company’s Fire Risk Assessment by law, rather than the assessor themselves.
It is therefore crucial that you ensure that the person undertaking that fire risk assessment is competent.
When looking to outsource your fire risk assessment, here are our tips on what to ask:
- Ask for references – any competent and experienced assessor will be able to provide references.
- Check their accreditations – A company’s accreditation is one of your independent and unbiased ways of knowing a company has the skills to meet your expectations.
- Review previous assessments completed – to ensure that you will receive a report that ticks all your boxes.
- Check what after sale support they provide – having a fire risk assessment completed is step 1 of the process.
- Ask whether they provide an annual review – you must review your fire risk assessment every 12 months.
Here are our top 4 Warehouse Fire Risk Assessments pointers:
1. Identifying Fire Hazards – This includes identifying sources of ignition, fuel and oxygen that may encourage potential fires. Consider separating flammable materials from such sources and consider the storage of dangerous substances, equipment and machinery.
2. Identifying people who are at risk – Ensuring that your staff and visitors in and around the premises are not at risk in case of a fire. This includes fire escapes, disabled access and protection from fire for all members of staff. Not forgetting any staff working high up on a mezzanine floor.
3. Evaluate, Remove, Reduce and Protect from Risk – You should evaluate the risk of a fire occurring and the dangers this may pose to your staff. For example, looking at the ways fire can be detected and a warning system responding to this detection, fire-fighting and escape routes, emergency lighting, maintenance, and signs & notices.
4. Review – A Fire Risk Assessment is not something that can be brushed under the table once completed. They should always be under review and be revised where necessary. Should any building work, alterations or maintenance take place, for example, relevant fire escapes and exits should be reviewed.
Fire Risk Assessments the SS Systems way.
We understand that the process can be disruptive and time-consuming, so our aim is to remove the hassle. When our experienced team conduct site assessments they always return a full written report showing any 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.
If you’d like to read more about workplace FRA’s here is a previous article, ‘Everything you need to know about workplace Fire Risk Assessments’.
If you would like to discuss your fire risk assessment requirements or find out how we can assist further please contact us at email@example.com or call 03300 417 170.