How often should fire risk assessments be reviewed? The law states that all business premises and the common area of blocks of flats need to have a fire risk assessment conducted regularly. This should be the foundation of all of your fire safety plans.
Without a fire risk assessment, you won’t be able to protect your premises properly, as you won’t be aware of all of the hazards and dangers that are in place.
However, a fire risk assessment is not something you can simply do once and then forget about. After all, hazards and potential risks can change all of the time. So, that begs the question: how often should a fire risk assessment be carried out?
So how often do you need to carry out a fire risk assessment?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a simple one. This is because there are a number of factors that are at play here.
Firstly, the legislation relating to fire risk assessments does not state a specific time frame. However, what the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 does demand is that your risk assessments are kept up-to-date.
Therefore, if any sort of changes takes place in the working environment, it is a legal requirement that you conduct another fire risk assessment.
You may think that your premises have not changed over the years, but even subtle alterations can make a difference when it comes to safety.
To ensure that your environment is protected, we would advise that after you have had a professional fire risk assessment conducted, that you review the document every year.
This is to ensure that it is still relevant for your premises, and have the premises re-assessed by a professional assessor every five years, or whenever there is a significant change to your premises – whichever comes first. This recommendation is for lower risk premises. Higher risk and licensed premises will need more frequent re-assessments.
Understanding the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
It is important to understand the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 so that you can be fully aware of what is required by law. The legislation states that there are two instances whereby your fire risk assessment must be reviewed and altered.
The first is if there is any reason why your current risk assessment would no longer be valid. This could be because there has been updated fire safety guidance and so a different approach would be safer, for example.
The second scenario whereby you would need to re-do your fire risk assessment is if there has been a considerable change in any relatable matters. Examples here include changes to organisational, technical, and special measures, as well as any changes to the premises or the way in which is work is organised. From conversions to extensions; any significant changes to the premises in question means that a new review will be needed.
Examples of scenarios that require a new fire risk assessment to be carried out
As mentioned, a lot of people assume that their premises have not really changed over the years, and this can cause them to follow an out-of-date fire safety strategy without even realising they are doing so.
This is why we recommend an annual review if you’ve not had one within the calendar year. It also helps to be aware of some example scenarios that would mean a new fire risk assessment is needed, so you can get a better understanding.
For instance, you would need to review your fire risk assessment if the following is applicable:
- There are new activities that are being undertaken at the premises
- There have been changes to occupancy limitation
- Staff levels have diminished or grown
- There have been considerable alterations to the layout of the building
Of course, if there are any changes to the legislation that is in place concerning fire safety, you will also need to review your risk assessment. This is why it pays to team up with a professional organisation, as they will be able to ensure that you are kept in the loop regarding any regulatory amendments that change your obligations.
Regular fire risk assessments keep you and others safe
Yes, it may feel like a bit of a hassle to have an annual review of fire safety practices. However, it is imperative to recognise that this is a critical part of keeping you and others safe. You do not want to take a risk when it comes to health and safety.
Being prepared now is imperative to reduce the risk of fire and your chances of needing fire and rescue in the future.
Carrying out the fire risk assessment
There are a number of steps you need to follow when carrying out a fire risk assessment at your premises. This includes the following:
- Determine the fire hazards
- Identify any individuals that are at risk
- Evaluate the risks and take steps to reduce or remove them
- Keep records of your findings
- Put together an emergency plan and provide training
- Review your fire risk assessment and update it regularly
Some of the key areas that your plan will need to cover are as follows:
- Staff fire safety training
- Providing information to employees and other individuals on the premises
- The needs of those who are vulnerable, for example, people with disabilities, young children, or the elderly
- An emergency fire evacuation plan
- The safe storage or removal of substances that are dangerous
- Fire fighting equipment
- Warning systems and fire detection
- Emergency exits and routes
Should you carry out the fire risk assessment yourself?
A responsible person must carry out the fire risk assessment. You can conduct the fire risk assessment yourself if you feel able to do so and you have the required time and experience.
However, we generally recommend using the services of a professional risk assessor because fire safety is not something whereby corners can be cut. By using a professional service, you can have complete peace of mind that the risk assessment has been conducted properly.
Contact us today for more information about fire risk assessments
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the regulations that pertain to your premises or you need assistance to ensure your business is fire-safe, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team here at Surrey Fire & Safety.
If you found this post about how often should fire risk assessments be reviewed useful, you may also like to look at our detailed guide to fire safety legislation in the UK.