Why should I have a fire risk assessment?

The most significant reason for formally assessing your fire risk is to reduce the risk of a fire occurring and potentially causing injury or fatalities to employees, residents or guests working, or staying, within your premises and under your control as the ‘responsible person’.  A fire could also cause significant damage to your building, potentially close down your business and have a huge financial impact, in terms of repair costs and higher insurance premiums at renewal.  Furthermore, it is a legal requirement and you need to take preventative and proactive action that will eliminate or reduce fire risks.

Is there a benefit to a fire risk assessment?

Absolutely. A fire assessment demonstrates your appreciation of the importance of identifying fire risks and detailing how to manage them, to keep your employees, residents, guests and members of the public safe. A risk assessment can help you focus on better ways of doing things, with safety in mind, whether that is the way in which you store your stock, protect yourself against vandalism or arson, operate your no-smoking policy, or carry out kitchen-based operations, from cooking to cleaning. It can inform your building maintenance decisions and avoid you spending money where you don’t need to, whilst directing expenditure to where it is necessary, to ensure your fire safety compliance. Above all, it can provide huge peace of mind.

Who completes the assessment?

One of our fully-qualified and competent fire assessors will visit your site to complete the fire risk assessment, analysing your premises and operations, on the basis of years of experience earned in health and safety contexts.  We will ensure that you and your employees feel comfortable with our presence in your place of work and ensure we complete the assessment with the minimum of disruption.  We pride ourselves on being approachable, whilst providing practical and professional service.

How is the assessment completed?

The fire-risk assessment is split into three sections:

  • Firstly, we understand your commercial operations, activities and requirements and then, if applicable, we will review your current fire safety management system and documentation.
  • Secondly, we will conduct a detailed review of your operation, touring your premises and noting, and commenting on, possible fire ignition sources, sources of oxygen that could feed a fire and fire exit and escape routes, whilst also noting where preventative and proactive measures could be implemented. 
  • Finally, we arrange a review meeting with you, to discuss our findings and suggest practical improvements that you should implement, in order to meet with the Fire Regulations and also enhance and improve fire safety in your business premises.

How long does the visit last?

The time that we spend at your premises depends on many factors, such as the size of your building, the amount and nature of stock held on the premises, whether or not you store or use flammable materials and fuels, and the complexity of your operations. We will also need to review your fire safety procedures in relation to those with special needs, language difficulties and less familiarity with your premises – the latter perhaps being any temporary, contract or weekend workers that you may employ. Examining the travel distances between work zones and the fire exit doors and escape routes, will also be crucial. Analysing all of this, along with the type of equipment you use, the safety and age of your equipment, your processes and the materials of which your building is constructed, will enable us to assess your fire risk exposure and make sound recommendations. Typically, a visit lasts between two and four hours.

Can disruption to my business be minimised?

Absolutely. Gauntlet Risk Management will always arrange a meeting with you at a time that is convenient for you, bearing in mind your business commitments. Naturally, we have to spend some time with the ‘responsible person’, and also be granted access to all parts of the premises, whether that is your store room, kitchen, shrink-wrapping department, workshop or fork-lift truck zone, but we minimise the intrusion as much as humanly possible. We will focus precisely on what needs to be tackled, annotated and documented, in the shortest amount of time as possible, enabling you to get back to work quickly.

Will using Gauntlet enable me to comply with the Fire Regulations?

Yes. Our fire risk assessments satisfy the requirements set out by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the separate Scottish regulations of Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

We will cover all aspects required by fire regulations, analysing the situation in your premises, to assess your fire risk exposure, and suggesting the measures that you should take, in order to be compliant and keep your employees, customers, contractors, guests and tenants safe. We will ensure that you stay compliant with fire regulations, whether you are operating from a stand-alone building, or part of a multi-occupied complex in which fire safety has to be controlled by a number of different businesses. In this instance, we will help you coordinate your fire risk planning with your neighbour businesses and help gain cooperation from other property owners or tenants sharing your building. We will also offer guidance on the instruction and training of employees in fire safety and ensure that all learn to look out for dangers such as obstructions to fire exits and escapes, bolts and padlocks on fire exits and materials stored too close to sources of heat.

What do I get at the end of the fire risk assessment?

The simple answer to this is ‘peace of mind’.  However, in tangible terms, you will receive a means through which to eliminate and reduce fire risk – a Gauntlet Fire Risk Assessment Report, that identifies hazards and highlights the findings and recommended action points arising from our visit.  The format used for the risk assessment is taken from BS 18004:2008 ‘Guide to Achieving Effective Occupational Health and Safety Performance’.  This format assesses risk on the basis of factors such as likelihood and severity, to enable us to provide a risk rating for your business.  Feedback from our clients confirms that our reports are comprehensive, easy-to-follow and focused on clear and meaningful action points that can be proactively implemented within the business or property.

How often should the fire risk assessment be reviewed?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. Depending on your business, building or property activity, we would recommend annual or biannual reviews, to help keep your assessment up-to-date and, more importantly, relevant.  However, changes within your business, such as internal construction work and property alterations, an introduction of new processes such as welding, working with naked flames and hot processes, a move towards employing more temporary or contract workers, stocking hazardous or dangerous substances, or ‘near misses’, that have alerted you to a possible fire risk, should prompt you to commission a fire risk assessment review in response, even if that is in an interim period, between reviews.

Do you only work with landlords in the property sector?

No, we work with landlords, social housing providers, Right to Manage companies and managing agents, ensuring that all understand their obligations to tenants, under Fire Regulation legislation.  We can carry out fire and health and safety risk assessments on single sites, or audit a whole portfolio of properties, depending on your need.