It is essential to carry out a fire risk assessment. When a building or facility is being constructed the same should be continuously reviewed, evaluated as well as updated. Also, it assists in recognising and measuring hazards and risks associated with fire. Therefore, the organisation can decide whether the identified risks are acceptable or additional control measures are required.
It could be a legal requirement in some countries and obviously a wise and good business practice.
A well trained professional who has good experience and knowledge of fire safety should carry out the fire risk assessment.
A fire risk assessment follows the 5 steps of a standard risk assessment.
1. Identify the hazards
- oxygen sources;
- fuel sources; and
- ignition sources
Decreasing ignition sources:
Plant and Equipment
- cord laid or near combustible material, frequently in roofing and also ceiling voids
- use of flat twin as well as earth cable as expansion leads as opposed to appropriate versatile cable
- overloading of outlets in site accommodation
Decreasing potential fuel sources:
- prepare plans to take care of accidents, incidents and emergencies involving hazardous substances
- discover what dangerous materials exist in their workplace and what the fire risks are
- identify areas in the office where fire may take place and look out for ignition sources in those locations
- have control measures in place to either get rid of those risks or, where this is not possible, control them
- put controls in position to reduce the impacts of any incidents involving unsafe materials
- ensure employees are correctly informed and educated to handle the threats from the unsafe materials
2. Identify who could be harmed and how
Identify the people affected, especially vulnerable persons, e.g. disabled, impaired mobility, hearing and vision.
3. Evaluate the risks and the adequacy of the control measures
Fire prevention: Presence of oxygen, fuel and ignition sources and their proximity to each other.
Fire protection: Control measures to prevent fires from starting and spreading (housekeeping, hot work permits-to-work, protected electrical equipment, anti-static footwear, compartmentation, etc.)
- means of fire / smoke detection
- contacting the fire / rescue services and safe assembly
- means of raising the alarm
- ways of fighting the fire (fixed and portable fire fighting equipment such as, hoses, sprinklers, extinguishers, blankets, etc.)
- means of escape (doors, routes, emergency lighting and signs)
- emergency plan (building zones, assembly points and fire marshal / wardens)
- staff and contractor training and instruction (including marshals / wardens, practice fire evacuation, fire awareness, etc.)
- fire inspections (housekeeping, equipment, etc.)
- maintenance of equipment (electrical and gas equipment, fire detection, warning, fighting, etc.)
4. Record findings and actions
Include a prioritised, allocated, dated action plan.
If no longer valid, after significant change, or an elapse of time.