How Often Do Fire Risk Assessments Need To Be Performed?
Carrying out a fire risk assessment under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is a vital and legally required part of your property’s fire safety strategy.
However, simply performing an assessment is useless if it is not updated regularly or whenever when necessary.
Regularity of Fire Risk Assessment
The Order doesn’t specify how often a risk assessment need be performed, but does state that a review should take place at ‘regular’ intervals [“any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date”].
The interpretation of ‘regularity’ is left to the discretion of the ‘responsible person’ charged with carrying out the assessment at the premises, with elements such as the size of the property and the nature of the work taking place within it playing a part in the decision.
As well as periodic updates, there are also a number of things that could trigger a revisit of the assessment, regardless of the length of time that had elapsed since the last one.
What could prompt a Review of the Assessment?
- Alterations are made to the structure of the building.
This includes both internal and external changes, such as redirection of pedestrian routes and changes to entrance/exit points.
- Young persons are employed.
The hiring of young members of staff should instigate an assessment review on the grounds that these persons are considered as vulnerable.
- Hazardous substance storage is introduced or changed.
As these materials are considered a high risk fire hazard, any alteration to their use or storage will necessitate a further assessment.
- A fire-related incident or accident occurs.
This could range from incorrect usage of fire safety equipment to an actual fire breaking out on the premises.
- Fire safety equipment is damaged.
This could be extinguishers, alarms, detectors, fire doors, emergency lighting or any other item employed in the protection against fire at a property.
- Personnel numbers increase significantly.
Often paired with an expansion of the working space, a rise in staff numbers of more 10-15% will mean a review is required.
- A staff member with a disability is hired.
As part of the original risk assessment, measures should be taken to ensure the safety of those with a physical or sensory disability, which will need to be updated with the arrival of others with an impairment.
- Changes to equipment, machinery or larger furniture and fixtures occur.
Particularly for factory or warehouse environments that utilise heavy machinery, the introduction of new equipment will require a reanalysis of the assessment to ensure that hazards and evacuation procedures are not affected.