For many years, U.K companies have relied on a fire officer to endorse the adequacy of fire safety matters on their premises with the award of a fire certificate. However the Fire Precautions (workplace) Regulations which came into force in December 1999, demand a complete change of approach to managing fire safety in the workplace. The new regulations require the development of a safety culture that gives all employees greater responsibility for their own safety. Risk Assessment is now a legal requirement for all businesses in accordance with regulations. Personal ownership and responsibility for fire safety can be developed by involving all staff in the process of preparing and maintaining a risk assessment.
In the event of a fire, companies can no longer rely on a fire certificate as a means of showing all has been done to ensure fire safety. Prosecutions based on the new Fire Precautions regulations will be based on the principle of assumed guilt. The onus is placed on the company in question to prove its innocence using what the regulations refer to as a file of evidence. A suitable risk assessment as part of a positive fire safety strategy is an essential component of a file of evidence.
Fire Risk Assessment Contents
A Fire Risk Assessment is made up of the following, but not limited to:
- Legal /General
- Special / High or Critical Risks
- Fire Loading and Hazardous Activities
- Means of Escape
- Protecting the Means of Escape
- Fire Detection / Warning Arrangements
- Fire Separation and Confinement
- Fire Fighting Equipment
- Information and Training