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Fire Risk Assessments For Small Businesses

April 25th, 2024

Last updated: April 25th, 2024

Fire safety is a critical consideration for businesses of all sizes, and for small businesses with no dedicated health and safety department it can be particularly challenging to navigate the regulations and requirements.

Fire risk assessments for small businesses are not optional, and they play a central role in ensuring the safety of employees, customers, and premises. In this blog post, we’ll explore what fire risk assessments entail, the laws surrounding them, and what you might be responsible for.

What Are Fire Risk Assessments?

Fire risk assessments are essential for identifying and managing fire hazards within a premises. They involve a systematic evaluation of the potential fire risks and the measures in place to mitigate them. By conducting a thorough assessment, businesses can identify areas of concern, implement appropriate fire safety measures, and create an effective emergency evacuation plan.

Legal Requirements

In the UK, fire risk assessments are a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO). The RRFSO applies to all non-domestic premises, including small businesses, and places the responsibility for fire safety on the “responsible person,” typically the employer or business owner.

Under the RRFSO, the responsible person must:

  • Carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly.
  • Identify any fire hazards and take steps to reduce or eliminate the risks.
  • Consider people with additional needs, such as disabled individuals.
  • Implement suitable fire safety measures, such as fire alarms, extinguishers, and emergency lighting.
  • Provide adequate training to staff members on fire safety procedures and evacuation drills.
  • Keep a record of the findings of the fire risk assessment and any actions taken, publishing their report’s findings if they employ five or more people.

Government guidelines provide a list of things that need to be considered:

  • 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 vulnerable people, for example the elderly, young children or those with disabilities
  • providing information to employees and other people on the premises
  • staff fire safety training

This can serve as a basis for your fire risk assessment. If you work in a restaurant environment you may have additional considerations such as kitchen ventilation.

Fire Risk Assessment Formats and Templates

Knowing how to present the information can be tough. There are fire risk assessment templates out there that often have sections regarding the building you are operating from.

They may include subheadings and questions including:

  1. Existing control measures
  2. Are there any improvement recommendations?
  3. Deficiencies
  4. Remedial action required

You may also need to record information about things like when a PAT test was last carried out, to ensure electronics aren’t a big fire hazard. The preventative maintenance carried out is important.

The document that outlines your risk assessment is your responsibility, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek help. Our fire risk assessment services allow you peace of mind, knowing that you have covered everything you need to and ensuring that you have taken the required action.

Do You Need to Complete a Fire Risk Assessment?

The term “responsible person” is crucial in the guidelines. As a general rule, if you are the responsible person for a non-domestic premises, you are legally required to conduct a fire risk assessment.

Some key indicators that your small business may need a fire risk assessment include:

  • Employing Staff: If your business employs staff, you have a legal obligation to ensure their safety, including fire safety.
  • Operating from a Commercial Premises: If your business operates from a commercial premises, such as an office, shop, or workshop, you are subject to fire safety regulations.
  • Sharing Premises: If your business shares premises with other businesses or operates in a multi-occupancy building, you may need to coordinate fire safety measures with other occupants.
  • Storing Flammable Materials: If your business stores flammable materials or hazardous substances on-site, you are at a higher risk of fire and should conduct a fire risk assessment, and ensure you have done so to a high standard.

Protecting people from hazards, evaluating risks, implementing preventive measures, and keeping a record means that you can comply with legal requirements while creating a safe space within your business. If you’re not sure if you have met your responsibilities, it is possible to get help.

Working across Yorkshire, we cover North YorkshireWest YorkshireEast Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and offer a fast, efficient response time to all breakdowns and repairs. Contact us today for all plannedreactive maintenance or emergency call out. Call 01423 226578 or get in touch to see how Robinsons Facilities Services can help.

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