How often should a Fire Risk Assessment be carried out?

Oct 12, 2020

Fire safety is one of many safety issues that Management must address to minimise the risk of injury or death to employees, staff, pupils or the public. Unlike most of the other safety concerns, fire has the potential to injure or kill large numbers of people very quickly.

Your local Fire Officer has the authority to carry out unannounced visits to premises, which could result in an Enforcement Notice to improve your fire safety, or a Prohibition Notice if they deem the risk to life unacceptable. Often insurance companies insist on a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment.

The ultimate responsibility for the adequacy of a Fire Risk Assessment rests with the Responsible Person (the owner or person who has control of the premises) for ensuring that the Fire Risk Assessment is carried out and that fire precautions are adequate.

Legislation doesn’t state a precise frequency for conducting a fire risk assessment

Legislation requires that a ‘suitable and sufficient’ Fire Risk Assessment and subsequent Reviews should be carried out by a Responsible Person. ISE Fire recommends that a Review of your current Fire Risk Assessment is carried out regularly so as to keep it up to date and particularly if:

  • There is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid; or
  • Management changes.
  • Alterations to the building, including internal layout.
  • Significant changes to the occupancy levels.
  • The failure of fire precautions such as the Fire Alarm and Fire Detection system.
  • A significant change in the mobility level or other factors influencing the response of occupants in an emergency.
  • A change of use to part of your premises;
  • Substantial changes to furniture and fixings;
  • The introduction, change of use or increase in the storage of hazardous substances;
  • Significant changes to display material;

You should consider the potential risk of any significant change before it is introduced. It is usually more effective to minimise a risk by, for example, ensuring adequate, appropriate storage space for an item before introducing it to your premises.

Many new ways of working have been introduced due to COVID-19.In particular, Fire Doors may be held open and one-way systems through your premises may be introduced.Fire safety should not be ignored during these times, and it is important that Fire Doors and routes are not blocked by furniture or stored goods due to trying to create areas of social distancing.Your Fire Risk Assessment should be reviewed if substantial changes have been made to the internal layouts of your premises.

A Fire Risk Assessment should be carried out by a 'Competent Person': The Competent Person should have:

  • Understanding of relevant Fire Legislation
  • Knowledge of Fire Safety
  • Understanding of fire development and human behaviour
  • Understanding of Fire Hazards and risks associated with occupants at special risk
  • Have appropriate training

Sarah Brown, our in-house Fire Risk Assessor is an Associate Member of the Institute of Fire Engineers.All Fire Risk Assessments carried out by ISE Fire are bespoke to your premises and will contain an easy to follow action plan to ensure the risk to life safety is as low as possible and, where appropriate, will make recommendations to ensure compliance with Fire Safety Legislation.

Frequent Fire Risk Assessment is best to improve safety

The recommendation is 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 team, and qualified risk assessor. Our team can help you make sense of Fire and Health & Safety and regulations to ensure your business is meeting its obligations.

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Check out who is responsible for completing your Fire Risk Assessment.

And don't forget - if in doubt get professional advice! Our friendly team are here to help and advise on Fire Risk Assessments to keep your business, and your staff, safe.