Most businesses should consider conducting a fire risk assessment regardless of size and employee numbers, but in some circumstances, there is a legal requirement to complete one.
The Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005 is the fire safety law for all non-domestic premises in England and Wales. This Law places the responsibility of fire safety on the “Responsible Person” who is recognised as the owner, the employer or the person who controls the premises.
It is their responsibility to complete a fire risk assessment assessing the risk of fire which may impact upon persons authorised to be on-site. It must identify general fire safety precautions needed to comply with the Law which are set out in Part 2, Articles 8-22 of the act.
This must occur when there are 5 or more employees, young persons, or dangerous substance on site. The assessment must formally record the significant findings, measures taken to mitigate any risks and those that are specifically at risk. It is often set out in the following five stages:
- Identify the fire hazards.
- Identify people at risk.
- Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks.
- Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training.
- Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly.
The fire risk assessment will often cover more detail in relation to general fire precautions including areas like, emergency routes and exits, fire detection and warning systems, firefighting equipment, the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances, an emergency fire evacuation plan, the needs of vulnerable people, for example the elderly, young children or those with disabilities, providing information to employees and other people on the premises, staff fire safety training, to name a few.
Who can complete a fire risk assessment?
It is widely considered by the fire industry that a fire prevention professional should complete a fire risk assessment, but the Law only requires a competent person to complete one. To answer the question, it depends. If you have a simple low risk premises a member of staff might have been suitably trained, experienced, or have the knowledge to complete it, then that may be deemed adequate. However, in more complex premises a professional should be consulted.
 HMOs and communal areas of domestic plats are included within the RRO.