The Importance of Fire Safety Risk Assessments

25/10/2019 in Security

Legislation in the UK makes a fire risk assessment mandatory in all workplaces. It must be sufficiently carried out by a responsible person to minimise the likelihood of a fire. Failure to comply with the regulations concerning fire risk assessments can lead to very serious penalties, fines and even imprisonment.

A ‘Responsible Person’ must be allocated prior to the completion of the assessment and the selected person must clearly be communicated to everyone.  The responsible person can be the employer or an appointed fire warden and must consistently re-evaluate the worksite and conduct fire risk assessments.

Whilst accidents cannot always be avoided, identifying potential fire risks allows for appropriate actions to be taken, to address the issues and prevent them from occurring.

What is a fire risk assessment?

A fire safety risk assessment is a methodical and scheduled investigation of your construction site, performed by the allocated responsible person in order to identify any potential fire risks and evaluate the overall safety levels of the surroundings.

The assessment aims to highlight elements that could impact the likelihood of a fire starting and identifying the harm it could cause to those in and around the area.

The importance of fire risk assessments

Construction sites have one of the highest fire risks due to the number of potential fire hazards. The risk is increased due to elements such as; the use of raw materials, heavy-duty machinery and electrical wires found around the site.

Every year some fires occur on construction site which causes the build to be destroyed, assets being burned down and in the worst case, causing individuals to be injured or killed. Fires not only cause projects to be delayed but can be an extremely costly event to happen as the materials and labour time will need to be replaced and paid for again.

Fire risk assessment steps

  • Identify any potential fire hazards (sources of ignition, fuel etc.)
  • Determine who could be harmed and how
  • Reduce those risks and hazards to the lowest possible level
  • Evaluate the risks and consider controls to be put in place (escape routes, fire exits, lighting, training etc.)
  • Record the findings and implement them
  • Check that implementable control measures are in place
  • Review your risk assessment every year, or more regularly if you feel it is appropriate

Control measures

Even before construction begins, the construction site must be designed to take into fire safety controls into consideration. The plan must include the following elements:

  • A sufficient number of emergency routes and exits. These must remain clear at all times, and if applicable, completed with emergency lighting so that they can be used at any time
  • Clear signs to indicate where exit routes and doors are
  • Fire-fighting equipment to be equally distributed in the appropriate places
  • Fire detection and fire alarms systems to be installed

Finally, workers must have an induction and be trained to use fire-fighting equipment correctly. Regular fire safety training for employees is recommended to ensure that workers know what to do in the event of an emergency.