The LWF Blog
Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Risk Assessment – Part 81January 18, 2021 12:34 pm
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 80, LWF looked at what is involved in a fire risk assessment method. In part 81, LWF will explore the process of fire risk assessments, beginning with the parallels to health and safety standard risk assessments.
The process of risk assessment as per BS 45002-0:2018 Occupational health and safety management systems. General guidelines for the application of ISO 45001 identifies that it should be achieved by the following:
- Hazard identification and estimation of associated risk levels, on the basis of existing or proposed risk controls
- Determination of whether risks are tolerable
- Determination of whether further analysis is needed to ascertain if the risks are tolerable
- Determination of necessary risk controls where they are deemed necessary
The term ‘tolerable risk’ acknowledges that zero risk is unachievable. Rather it should be thought of as risk at a level that can be considered acceptable, provided risk controls are implemented to reduce risk to the lowest possible level. It should be possible for this to be quantified by showing that the cost in terms of time, money or effort of further risk reduction would be disproportionate to future benefits.
This element of health and safety legislation has consistency with fire safety legislation which requires the safety of employees (or building occupants) to be ensured as far as is reasonably practicable. Reasonable, in this context, means the same as tolerable.
The health and safety approach to risk assessment can therefore be adopted for simple fire risk assessments, with the addition of the word ‘fire’ before ‘risk’ and ‘hazard’. In the same way as an OH&S risk assessment is normally laid out as a pro-forma, a similar approach can be taken for a fire risk assessment, provided that the particular hazards associated with the building and its activities are taken into account.
In practice, however, most premises will warrant a more detailed fire risk assessment, beginning with identifying fire hazards.
In part 82, LWF will look at how to check for and identify fire hazards as part of a fire risk assessment for a building. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.
Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.
While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.