Blake Fire and Security Systems

What To Look For In Your Fire Risk Assessor

Date: 9 August 2019
By law, every business must name a Responsible Person (RP) to carry out a fire risk assessment. In theory business owners could do the assessment and regular inspections themselves. But how do you know where to start on such an important task? Do you know what you need to keep safe and compliant? What happens if you get it wrong?

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The duty of the Responsible Person
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) often carries out spot checks to see that businesses have completed risk assessments and reviews. Responsible Persons (RPs) who fail checks can be prosecuted and receive up to two years in prison. Of course, a death or injury on your conscience is the worst result of all.
We can’t be specialists in everything. You didn't start your business to do risk assessments! This means a third-party fire risk assessor is the best business decision. The ultimate reponsibility is still with you as RP, so you need to choose wisely. Here’s how to find a qualified and reputable fire risk assessor for your business.

What a third-party fire risk assessor does

The assessor should:
  • Identify people at risk, including the needs of the most vulnerable people, such as young children, the elderly or people with disabilities.
  • Identify fire hazards within the premises.
  • Evaluate ways to remove or reduce fire risks, including recommendations for the removal of dangerous substances or suggestions for safe storage of such items.
  • Assess whether the building has emergency routes and exits in place, and that they are correctly marked.
  • Confirm that fire detection and warning systems, as well as firefighting equipment, are installed properly.
  • See whether an emergency fire evacuation plan is in place, staff fire safety training is up to date, and the information is provided to employees and other people on the premises.
  • Record findings and provide information on what actions may need to be taken to minimise fire risks, warn people and allow them to escape safely. (Any business with more than five employees must have a documented assessment.)

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Balancing budget and fire safety for business owners

Qualifications

The Fire Risk Assessors Competency Council (FRACC) set criteria to judge the competency of fire risk assessors.
A competent assessor will be:
  • Registered or certified with a body meeting the standards established by FRACC. Assessors should be well-trained and take accredited courses such as those at the (FIA).
  • Experienced with assessments for your kind of business and building. Ask for references from previous clients with a similar number of employees and premises of your type.
  • Able to provide proof of sufficient professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance.

Don't forget the follow up

Remember, following up on the recommendations is just as important. There's no point getting a professional to do your assessment and then have cowboys fit or upgrade your equipment.
Reviews are needed every 12 months. A new evaluation of the premises should be carried out every five years if the number or type of occupants changed, or the building has been altered or updated in any way.

Manage risk and balance the books

Blake Fire and Security Systems are fire safety specialists and NSI Gold certified. We've worked with schools and businesses all over Essex for more than 25 years.
We can assist you in your Fire Risk Assessment and help you understand the findings and recommendations. Compliance is vital but we know it can feel like another headache on a long list. Our knowledge and experience can make your life easier!

Are you a busy business owner or RP? Want to keep your work environment safe, meet your legal duties and keep your accountant happy?

Simply click below and download your FREE eBook, "Balancing Budget and Fire Safety" today!

Balancing budget and fire safety for business owners

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