Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants



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Freephone: 0800 410 1130
E-mail: fire@lwf.co.uk

Fire Risk Assessment - The Law

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) came into force on the 1st October 2006 and the response by the enforcing authorities was swift and immediate in responding to their own prioritisation of risk occupancies.

This resulted in a series of inspections by the fire authorities throughout the country with the issuing of improvement / enforcement notices where fire risk assessments had either not been available or where the existing fire risk assessment was considered ‘incomplete’; a term reflecting an inadequate or inappropriate risk assessment.

Three years on and the fire authorities are still issuing improvement / enforcement notices for non existent or incomplete fire risk assessments.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

Fire risk assessment is the central tool of the Fire Safety Act and is intended to demonstrate that hazards to which building occupants may be exposed are identified and that the risks of those hazards occurring are managed to within acceptable limits.

Earlier issues of the LWF Fire Safety Bulletin have concentrated on the strategic application of fire safety management; the system for identifying responsibilities, competencies and the range of risks generated by the operation of the organisation.

The fire risk assessment is the system that demonstrates the enactment of Policy and Procedures at individual building level. It is the process that identifies risks and proposes remedial measures and importantly, it is the process to record how the recommendations of the risk review are converted into practical improvements in a risk prioritised way.

What are the Fire Risk Assessment Options?

The enactment of the FSO was accompanied by the issue of a series of twelve fire risk assessment guidance documents. Each document is directed at specific occupancy groupings and provides advice on how the ‘responsible person’ can undertake fire risk assessments for premises under their control.

Considering the issue of competency, the guidance given is possibly sufficient for the execution of assessments in simple premises by those with limited training. For more complex occupancies and multiple building portfolios, the Fire Safety Policy should define the competency requirements within a devolved responsibility structure and ensure that training had been provided to the individual to enable a competent risk assessment to be made.

Senior management within any organisation should not devolve responsibility for fire risk assessment unless it is supported by appropriate training.

What is the Fire Risk Assessment Process?

The form of the fire risk assessment should be commensurate with the degree and variety of risk to which the organisation is exposed. A simple tick sheet may be appropriate to the simplest of risks, however more detailed systems enabling prioritisation of risk levels across building areas and portfolios may be appropriate in more complex occupancies.

 One thing that must be consistent across the fire risk assessment process is the requirement to demonstrate continuing risk management over time. Identification of new risks and the reflection of remedial measures enacted requires a robust and systematic approach. Options range from ‘hard copy’ records to computer database management, which for larger organisations is probably the most effective option.

If you would like to know more – or would like to arrange an appointment to discuss your fire safety requirements – please call Peter Gyere, Marketing Director on 020 8668 8663.

 

 


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