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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Risk Assessment – Part 88

March 8, 2021 11:30 am

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 87, LWF looked at how to form the action plan following a fire risk assessment. In part 88, we will continue discussing formulation of the action plan.

Where a fire risk assessment has raised issues which can be classed as unacceptably high risk, it should be possible to trace the risk back to ascertain whether the problem is due to inadequate fire prevention, inadequate fire protection, inadequate fire safety management or a combination of factors.

The result should provide an action plan with necessary actions in order of priority. The priority ordering should relate to which actions will reduce the risk level most drastically. The actions should, where possible, eliminate fire hazards.

PAS 79 provides a list of questions designed to test the adequacy of the action plan before it is put into practice:

  • Will the revised controls lead to tolerable fire risk levels?
  • Are new hazards created?
  • Have the most cost-effective solutions been chosen?
  • What will occupants affected think about the need for, and practicality of, the revised fire precautions?
  • Will the revised fire precautions be adopted and maintained in practice and not ignored in, for example, normal use of, and operation in, the building?

It is important that the questions provide an insight into whether the proposed actions will remedy the existing fire risk without creating new hazards. In addition, the resources adopted should be the most cost-effective available and it may be that an overview of existing hazards might point to a single solution which would assist in mitigating various risks, or that a variety of options is available to satisfy measures.

The practicality of proposed solutions must also be considered and current working arrangements and use by occupants investigated and taken into account. For instance, where a hazard could be remedied by the installation of a set of fire doors, but current working practices mean the occupants would prop the door open in order to pass through it with goods, the solution would not mitigate the risk. Rather, in this case, a door-release mechanism could be installed, whereby the door would be held open at all times, unless the fire alarm system activated, in which case it would operate a self-closing mechanism to close the door.

In part 89 of this series, LWF will begin to look at how a fire risk assessment should be documented. 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.

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