1. Fire Hazards
To ensure the safety of your employees and property, you need to assess all potential fire hazards on your premises. This includes both sources of heat and combustibles. So, look out for:
• Electrical equipment
• Anything that involves the use of a naked flame, including matches
Also pay attention to fixtures, fittings and building materials – are they potentially flammable?
Next, determine who might be affected by any potential fire, and how you can protect them.
This is trickier because some employees and site visitors will be more vulnerable than others. People with mobility issues, for example, may need additional support to evacuate the building. Site visitors won’t automatically know your evacuation procedures. If your business brings young children or people with sensory difficulties on to your premises, they will also require their own sets of fire safety procedures.
3. Fire detection and safety equipment
If you’re conducting a fire risk assessment, it only makes sense to ensure that all of your fire safety equipment is functioning.
Test your smoke alarms. Do you have enough smoke alarms to cover the entire premises? And are they sensibly positioned? When did you last have your alarm system serviced? Do you have emergency lighting? Is it working? Do you have fire extinguishers? And do you know what each of your fire extinguishers is for? Are your fire doors easily accessible and easily opened? Do you have adequate fire safety signage?
4. Appraise and implement
Once you know what you’re dealing with, you need to take steps to ensure that necessary safety measures are put in place.
You probably can’t simply remove all fire hazards. But you can take precautions to reduce their associated risks. So, create a plan of action. Execute all relevant points. Then share this information with the rest of your team.
5. Review and repeat
There is no specific legislation relating to the timeframe in which you need to conduct fire risk assessments for your business. We’d recommend monthly, and after any infrastructure change.
The word used is ‘regular’. While this might be quite subjective, realistically, the more frequently you conduct a fire risk assessment, the better. When you’re operating a business, it can feel as if you’re drowning in red tape. However, your fire risk assessment isn’t simply more bureaucracy. It’s there to save lives – and livelihoods. It’s not worth cutting corners.