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Fire Fire!

Most people are aware of the need for a fire risk assessment, but is yours fit for purpose? It can be easy to become complacent about it once you already have one in place, but nearly all of workplace fires can be prevented if the correct control measures are put in place.

First of all lets recap why they are so important. As the responsible person employers must carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment of the premises. This shares the same approach as health and safety risk assessments and can be carried out either as part of an overall risk assessment or as a separate exercise. Based on the findings of the assessment, you must ensure that adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.

You can do the assessment yourself using any of the readily available standard templates and guides provided by the HSE (see link for an example), or if you don’t have the expertise or time you may need to appoint a ‘competent person’ to help, for example a consultant.

As the responsible person you must:

  • carry out a fire risk assessment of the property/place of work and review it regularly

  • tell staff or their representatives about the risks identified

  • put in place, and maintain, appropriate fire safety measures

  • plan for an emergency situation

  • provide information, instruction and training for all employees

Many substances found in the workplace can cause fires or explosions. These range from the obvious, eg flammable chemicals, petrol, and paints, to the less obvious – engine oil, grease, packaging materials, and any other specialised substances your business may use. All these substances need to assessed during this process. If you’d like to look up any more specific details the HSE provide more detailed information on all aspects of fire safety and management on their website.

If you think you need any help or advice in manging fire hazards for your business please click here to contact us.

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