Completing a fire risk assessment is a legal requirement for businesses, and they must be recorded if you have over five employees. If your business has fewer than five employees, but is visited by members of the public (such as an independent shop) you should also record your fire risk assessments – it may even be part of your insurance policy criteria to do so.
Your fire risk assessment may uncover things that need to be changed or fixed, and you must document these requirements. You must also update your records when any fixes or changes have been carried out. If you are unsure about whether a change needs to be made, you can seek advice from your local fire department or from us; as an NSI Gold Standard supplier we are fully qualified to carry out risk assessments and to make recommendations for changes that need to be made.
The sorts of things you might need to change are updating your fire extinguishers – they should be replaced before the expiry date; if you change anything about the business that requires another type of fire extinguisher this should be uncovered during your risk assessment for that change. An example might be a delicatessen that wants to start selling hot food but doesn’t already have cooking equipment on site. When the equipment is installed, you may need to get a fire extinguisher that can be used on oil fires, as well as ones for electrical fires. Emergency lighting, fire doors and even access control updates may be required to keep your business premises compliant with fire regulations.
If you’re leasing a premises and the owner won’t carry out necessary repairs, contact HSE (the Health and Safety Executive), as they can take action to ensure urgent repairs are carried out. There may be cases where a fire alarm system is needed, but the building owner will not allow cables to be installed (perhaps because of listed building status). We can install wireless smoke and fire alarm systems which will keep your landlord and insurance company happy. We can also advise on steps to take to work about obstacles like listed building status, so don’t discount any change, or installation until you have spoken to us.
If you do need to take action, create an action plan with assigned responsibilities. Should you need to show a fire officer or insurance company you will then have proof of your intention to carry out these changes. The action plan will also keep you on schedule for the changes and serves as a good checklist and record of the action that was taken.
Once you have installed a system or made changes to your fire safety equipment, make sure you schedule the necessary maintenance work in good time. Once your appointment has been booked you don’t need to worry about anything else, so it makes sense to get this in order sooner rather than later. Keep a record of the service and maintenance dates in case your insurer requires proof of this maintenance.
You may find that the changes you have made mean that your employee policies need changing. Ensure you update any and all relevant training and that all your paperwork is up to date, reflecting the equipment and procedures you are using now. This could include the use of access control systems, proper use of fire extinguishers, fire assembly points and even who the responsible person is. It’s also a good idea to schedule your fire risk assessment review in your calendar at this time, so that you don’t forget when it is next due.
For all your fire safety equipment needs P&R Alarms are here for you. We provide these services to many businesses in the midlands, so you’ll be joining a strong customer base when you work with us.