Tips To Carry Out Proper Fire Risk Assessment
May 28, 2015
Governments all around the world have made a number of laws to keep people safe from various common hazards in workplaces. One of the most common hazards in workplaces is fire. Every year, hundreds of people lose their lives due to fire and property worth billions is turned to ash within a few hours. However, preventing fire risk is not that difficult.
One just needs to follow the guidelines issues to ensure the safety of the employees in the workplace as well as the workplace itself. This is one of the reasons that fire risk assessment has been made a legal requirement. It means that all of the employers need to carry out a risk assessment of the premises is to ensure that the employees are safe in case of a fire.
However, it is generally seen that most of the employers prefer not to do this assessment and later pay a heavy price when there is a fire. One of the best ways to carry out a fire risk assessment is to make a checklist to ensure that everything is in order. Here is a basic list of various steps involved in the risk assessment process.
This assessment should begin with creating a list of various possible fire hazards in the workplace. Creation of this list involves complete inspection of the premises and identifying things that could possibly cause fire in certain situations. You should take into account materials needed to start a fire and other materials that will help in keeping the fire burning.
For instance, smoldering materials in smoking areas are a fire threat. Similarly, any other kind of materials or equipment that produces naked flames or that produces sparks needs to be labeled as a fire risk. All kinds of heaters in the workplace should be branded as fire hazard. All electrical equipment should also be labeled as fire hazard.
It has been seen that most of the fires in workplaces are mostly the result of faulty electrical equipment. Also, big piles of cardboard boxes as well as cupboards full of dry paperwork ready to burn are some of the examples of potential fire hazards. These things provide plenty of fuel for fire to keep working for a long time.
The next step involves identifying all the people who may be at risk in the event of a fire. It is obvious that all the employees in the workplace will be at huge risk if a fire event occurs. However, you also need to take into account all the non-employees present in the building if there is a fire. There are always other people visiting a workplace.
They can be visiting contractors, visiting maintenance workers, contract staff, members of the public or visitors for staff members and other people who enter the building. You also need to think of the employees who work in some isolated areas of the workplace who will find it extremely difficult as compared to others to get out of the building. You also need to take into account children, foreign nationals as well as disabled people who may find it difficult to get out of the building in case of a fire.
The next step involves practical evaluation of the risks of fire. You need to work out situations that could lead to fire and the steps you need to take to save people and property in case of a fire event. You need to figure out a concrete plan to save people in the event of a fire. Ideally your plan should be to reduce the risk of fire to nil but if that is not possible, you should take steps to minimize it to acceptable level.
The next step involves creating a record of the various things you have found so far. It is also required by law but it is also considered a good practice to record everything. There are special risk assessment forms available that can be downloaded to record everything.
You have now reached the last stage. However, this is the most difficult and often the most neglected stage. This stage involves regular review of the risk assessment. Most of the employers find it extremely difficult, as they never take into account various changes that have taken place in the workplace.
However, it is important to keep in mind that risks change whenever things change in the workplace and therefore, a completely new risk assessment needs to be done. Ideally, this assessment should be carried out on an annual basis.
There are a number of Fire consultants available today who can carry out this risk assessment of your workplace. Also, there are a number of guides available online that can provide you a step-by-step way to carry out this risk assessment in an easy manner.