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Fire Safety Risk Assessment Process – Frequently Asked Questions

A fire safety risk assessment is an organised and methodical inspection of your premises, the activities that are carried out at the premises, and the likelihood that a fire could start causing harm to those in or around the premises.

There are 5 steps in a fire safety risk assessment:

  1. Identify the fire hazards
  2. Identify people at risk
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce, and protect from risk
  4. Record, plan, inform, instruct and train
  5. Review
Yes, you still need a fire safety risk assessment. When the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force, the legislation that previously required a fire certificate was repealed. Fire certificates are no longer issued or have any legal status.

Under the current legislation, producing the required fire safety risk assessment may be assisted by the information in your fire certificate.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales, including the common parts of blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 does not apply to:-

  • Domestic premises
  • Offshore installations
  • A ship (when under the direction of the master)
  • Fields, woods or other land forming part of an agricultural or forestry undertaking
  • An aircraft, locomotive or rolling stock, trailer or semi-trailer used as a means of transport or a vehicle for which a licence is in force under the Vehicle Exercise and Registration Act 1994
  • A mine
  • A borehole site

All premises that come under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 require a fire safety risk assessment to be carried out.

Who should carry out the fire safety risk assessment?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 allows for any competent person to carry out a fire safety risk assessment. For small uncomplicated premises, this allows for a responsible person with limited formal training or experience to be able to carry out the assessment by following the guidance specific to their type of premises which is accessible here.

More complex premises will probably need to be assessed by a person who has comprehensive training or experience in fire risk assessment. There are a number of organisations willing to undertake fire safety risk assessments with details being available in the phone book business pages or on the internet. If an external individual or company is utilised to carry out the assessment, the responsibility for that assessment will still be with the responsible person, who should ensure that they are satisfied that the competency of the individual is sufficient.

Further information on choosing an assessor is available in the 'Choosing a Risk Assessor' section.
The significant findings of the fire safety risk assessment must be recorded where:-
  1. Five or more employees are employed
  2. A licence under an enactment is in force in relation to the premises - an example being a Premises Licence under the Licensing Act 2003
  3. An alterations notice under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requiring this to be in force
However the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service would recommend as good practice that the information is recorded for all fire safety risk assessments.
The fire safety risk assessment must be reviewed regularly so as to keep it up to date. It will need to be re-examined if it is suspected that it is no longer valid or there has been a significant change.

Prime Safety Management would recommend as good practice that the assessment is reviewed at least once every 12 months.
The responsible person must provide his employees with comprehensible and relevant information on the risks to them identified by the risk assessment

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