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May 6, 2016

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Fire Risk Assessments – should you outsource or train?


Conducting fire risk assessments is an important task for all businesses. Either conducting or outsourcing them incorrectly could land you in jail. Do you know the correct processes?

Current UK fire legislation requires virtually all workplaces to undertake a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment. In order to comply with this legislation the ‘responsible person’ – normally the employer or person who has control of the premises – must ensure that the fire risk assessment is undertaken by a ‘competent person’.

The fire risk assessment must be suitable and sufficient for the premises and activities carried out there, and the legislation requires a ‘competent person’ to be identified and appointed to ensure that fire precautions are properly managed.

In small, simple premises, it is likely that the assessment will be a relatively straightforward task and that the ‘responsible person’ will be suitably competent to fulfil these requirements. However, an element of ‘competency’ is recognising when your own knowledge and understanding is insufficient, and in such cases, further advice should be sought from either published guidance or a competent consultant as appropriate.

In instances where is it is appropriate for a ‘competent’ employee to undertake the fire risk assessment, it is likely that the premises will be small and low risk. In such circumstances the fire risk assessment may possibly be carried out by an employee who understands fire safety best practice, is aware of his/her limitations and is willing to seek external help where necessary.

When the need for external help becomes necessary, or for the large and more complex premises where assistance has been sought in the beginning, it is incumbent on the responsible person to choose a competent individual to provide this service. Essentially you are looking for someone who can demonstrate evidence of knowledge and experience. This may be through membership of a professional body/register and by demonstrating knowledge of the competences required.

As mentioned above there have been cases where after a fire it was found that the responsible person had employed someone less than competent to conduct the fire risk assessment. This has led to both the business owner and the individual who carried out the fire risk assessment being prosecuted.

The responsible person’s decision to ‘outsource’ or take the assessment on internally will be scrutinised at the Fire Protection and Emergency Evacuation Lecture Theatre will be provided by Fire Protection Association (FPA) at Safety and Health Expo, 21- 23 June 2016. FPA Senior Trainer Neil Cheyne will provide delegates with clear guidance in this area.  Register for free today.

To reserve you place at Neil’s talk please click here:

To contact the FPA to discuss fire risk assessments please email [email protected]

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Tony Keetley CMIOSH Recent comment authors
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Tony Keetley CMIOSH
Tony Keetley CMIOSH

“Conducting fire risk assessments is an important task for all businesses. Either conducting or outsourcing them incorrectly could land you in jail. Do you know the correct processes?”

This is the type of sales comments that outgoing HSE Chair Judith Hackett was talking about in her talk on the OSHCR website.