Fire Risk Assessments – Hazards and Risk Training

What to Include in a Fire Risk Assessment

ComplyPro Training can help you and the team , understand what you need to look for when assessing fire risks.

It should be a reasonably straightforward process. And for smaller businesses or low-risk environments, you should be able to follow the template exactly.

You might need to adjust it or seek expert advice for larger properties or more complex workplaces, however. It’s up to you as the responsible person to decide if you (or the person you’ve delegated to) are up to the task. You can always speak to your local fire and rescue authority for support.

The approach is the same regardless of the size or complexity of the premises. The HSA says a suitable risk assessment should follow five steps:

1. Identify Hazards

You need to check your workplace or property for potential ignition sources. It helps to consider the three elements required to start a fire (known as the fire triangle). These are:

  • Heat (naked flames, overheating machinery, electrical sparks, heaters, etc)
  • Fuel (paper, wood, textiles, flammable liquids, etc)
  • Oxygen

You should look for places where these three elements could meet and start a fire.

For a low-risk office environment, this process should be reasonably simple. The template may not be suitable for industrial, construction or manufacturing sites, however. These types of workplaces will likely have additional hazards not included in the template.

2. Assess Who Is at Risk

After identifying the hazards, you must determine who’s at risk if a fire breaks out.

The obvious answer is everyone on your property, including visitors. And this is absolutely true. But there will possibly be employees or occupants who may be particularly vulnerable.

You may have less physically able employees who need extra consideration and adjustments when planning for an emergency. Or your occupants may include children or older adults who will also need additional assistance.

3. Eliminate or Control the Risks

Now you’ve identified the hazards and know who’s vulnerable, it’s time to start eliminating or controlling the risks.

You might already have control measures like smoke alarms or fire extinguishers. You should record these and then consider if they’re sufficient. Do you have the correct type of fire extinguisher for the class of fires that are likely to happen in your workplace, for example?

There is also a hierarchy of risks to consider. Basically, your priority should be to eliminate any risk entirely. If that’s impossible or impractical, you need to introduce control measures that reduce the level of risk.

The HSA acknowledges that you can’t remove risk entirely from a workplace. You must do your best to eliminate or control any foreseeable risks.

Hazards and Risk Training
Make ComplyPro Fire Risk Assessment Training part of your company’s Hazards and Risk Training Plan

4. Record, Plan and Train

You also need to include your evacuation plan. Consider which type of plan is suitable for your property and make sure every person who is on (or might visit) your premises is accounted for.

This stage of the fire risk assessment also requires you to review measures that will limit the spread of fire and help people evacuate during an emergency. These measures include fire exit signs, extinguishers and fire doors. And remember, it’s not enough just to have these things. Each one needs to be regularly inspected and maintained to be effective.

You then need to train your staff. Fire safety legislation states every employee needs sufficient fire safety training, whatever their role. You should appoint fire marshals to support evacuations if you have a larger workplace. You will need to provide these marshals with additional training to do so.

Your hazards and risk training should include evacuation drills. Regular rehearsal lets employees practise evacuation plans, making them less likely to panic or make a mistake in a real emergency. Drills also allow you to safely test your plans and ensure nothing needs to be adjusted.

5. Review

You’ve completed your fire risk assessment. But it doesn’t mean you’re finished.

Good fire safety is an ongoing exercise. You must regularly review your risk assessment and fire safety measures to ensure they’re still adequate.

Fire safety legislation doesn’t specify what ‘regularly’ means. Again, it’s up to you as the responsible person to decide when to review your assessment. It’s suggested you check your assessment quarterly. But two conditions should trigger an immediate review. These are:

  • After a near miss or actual fire emergency
  • After significant changes to your property or business operations

How to Make Your Fire Risk Assessments More Effective

Using a template speeds up the process and makes it easier for first-timers. But it can’t possibly account for every workplace or building. You still need the relevant skills, experience and training to make sure you’re using it correctly. Otherwise, you’re leaving your employees and workplace vulnerable to the potential devastation of a fire. You’ll also be exposed to legal action for non-compliance.

As part of your companies Hazards and Risk Training, ComplyPro will teach you what you need to know to safely carry out your duties. You’ll learn how to spot hazards, understand what you can do to control them and develop the knowledge needed to complete your own risk assessments. All courses are specific to the sector you work in and are practical in nature.