You must manage any fire risk on your commercial property by carrying out and maintaining an up-to-date fire risk assessment.
Fire risk assessment: step-by-step process
The recommended way to carry out a fire risk assessment is to follow a step-by-step process.
Step 1: identify potential fire hazards
Fire hazards include:
- anything that has the potential to start a fire, such as naked flames, heaters or commercial processes or equipment such as cookers or hot-air dryers
- anything that can burn in a fire, including piles of waste, display materials, textiles or other flammable products
- oxygen sources such as air conditioning, medical products or commercial oxygen supplies which might intensify a fire
Step 2: identify people at risk from fire
People at risk from fire include:
- people who work close to or with fire hazards
- people who work alone, or in isolated areas such as storerooms
- children or parents with babies
- elderly people
- disabled people
Step 3: evaluate, remove or reduce the fire risk
To comply with fire safety legislation, you will need to:
- where possible, get rid of the fire hazards you identified - eg remove build-ups of waste - and reduce any hazards you can't remove entirely
- replace highly flammable materials with less flammable ones
- keep anything that can start a fire away from flammable materials
- have a safe-smoking policy for employees or customers who want to smoke in a designated area near your premises (smoking in enclosed spaces is banned) - see workplace smoking policy.
Once you have reduced the fire risk as far as is practical, you should assess any remaining risks that can't be removed and manage these with appropriate fire safety measures.
Step 4: record, plan and train for fire
- record significant findings and action taken - this is a legal requirement if you have more than five employees
- prepare an emergency plan in the event of a fire breaking out
- inform and instruct relevant people, and co-operate and co-ordinate with others to ensure fire safety
- provide fire safety training
Step 5: review the fire assessment
You should keep the fire risk assessment under regular review and revise it where necessary. See record, review and revise your fire safety plans.