From 1 October fire safety legislation is changing in England and Wales.
Section 156 of the Building Safety Act will commence. All businesses will need to record a fire risk assessment and fire safety arrangements in full – regardless of the number of employees, and size or type of business.
For more information, visit: Fire safety legislation is changing | Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (merseyfire.gov.uk)
Q. What is a Fire Risk Assessment?
A. A fire risk assessment helps you identify all the fire hazards and risks in your premises. You can then decide whether any risks identified are acceptable or whether you need to do something to reduce or control them.
Q. Who should carry out the risk assessment?
A. The Responsible Person for any Premise is legally responsible for the completion of a Fire Risk Assessment for his/her premises. However, the Fire Safety Order allows for any competent person, appointed by the Responsible Person, to carry out an assessment. You will need to be able to demonstrate that an appropriately qualified individual completed the assessment; this can be done through a suitable training course. Additionally, there are a number of organisations willing to undertake risk assessments and you may find details in the phone book business pages. If you use 'outside' firms to conduct a risk assessment that you will be responsible for, you should satisfy yourself that they are suitably competent and qualified to conduct the risk assessment.
Q. Why do I have to revise the Fire Risk assessment? We got a company in to do that, it’s their job!
A. The Fire Risk assessment should be completed and reviewed by a qualified competent person and should be constantly monitored to assess how effectively the risk is being controlled. If you have any reason to suspect that your fire risk assessment is no longer valid or there has been a significant change in your premises that has affected your fire precautions, you will need to review your assessment. The Fire Risk Assessment should be reviewed regularly (recommended to be at least annually). Reasons for a review could include -
- Changes to work activities
- Alterations to the buildings
- Significant increase of the number of people present
- Significant changes to the stock & storage.
Q. What is a log book?
A. A log book is a method of record of the following:
- Emergency lighting tests (monthly and annually). This should be tested in accordance with BS 5266 including a monthly mains failure simulation test.
- Fire Alarm tests. This should be tested weekly using a different call point for each successive test.
- Firefighting equipment tests (annually minimum).
- Staff training / fire drills This can be recorded electronically or kept as a hard copy.
Q. Can I arrange for you to come and carry out a Fire Risk Assessment?
A. No. The fire service is there to ensure that the requirements of the Fire Safety Order are being satisfied. Fire service resources will be targeted at areas of highest risk as identified within the risk based audit strategy. At some point it is likely that you will receive a visit from a Fire Safety Officer who will audit your premises. The audit is usually prearranged by a fire safety inspector who will carry identification. During the inspection the inspector may wish to view the following documents:
- Fire risk assessment
- Fire precautions log book
- Records of staff training and drills
- Records of testing and maintenance of fire fighting equipment
- Records of testing and maintenance of all fire safety system including, fire alarms, emergency lighting, sprinkler systems and smoke ventilation systems. You may also have to provide a copy of the significant findings gathered by your fire risk assessment The duty to complete a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment falls upon the responsible person. If you are not confident, get help, but remember you are responsible for seeing it is done properly.
Q. Where is the best place to get a Fire risk assessment from?
A. The fire and rescue service do not recommend specific contractors. There are numerous businesses offering this service. It is for you as the responsible person to either complete a fire risk assessment yourself, if you are competent, or appoint a specialist contractor to complete the task. Government guidance has been specifically written to assist the responsible person carrying out a fire risk assessment in less complex premises. If however you read the guidance and feel unable to apply it you should seek advice from a competent person. More complex premises are likely to require assessment by a person with comprehensive training and experience of fire risk assessment.