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Reviewing and Monitoring a Fire Risk Assessment

The contents of a fire risk assessment can provide a great deal of information on the current state of an organisation's fire safety provisions and what needs to be changed or implemented in order to reduce the risks of a fire either starting and/or spreading, which could then pose a serious danger to the health and safety of those inside or near the premises.

The downside of fire risk assessments, much like the financial balance sheet of a company, is that they provide information at a particular point in time but will become more and more out of date as time goes on. And although an incorrect balance sheet can be misleading, an incorrect fire risk assessment can prove to be potentially deadly if it places workers, site visitors or members of the public at risk.

Fire risk assessments therefore need to be monitored and reviewed regularly even if there are no significant changes in the place of work. However, if there are changes, then a new and updated fire risk assessment may need to be performed in order to take into account these changes, as the information contained in the previous assessment may now be misleading and place people in danger rather than helping to prevent risks to health.

These changes will include:

A significant alteration to the layout of the site. For example, the emergency exits have been moved due to an extension to the building or a change in the layout of the working space.

A significant change to the processes used on site. The introduction of new robotic equipment or machinery could pose a danger from fire if it they not maintained properly or located next to a flammable source of fuel which could ignite and cause a fire.

A change in chemicals or substances used/produced. A change from one chemical to a more flammable or volatile substance in the work process can increase the chances of a fire starting. Similarly, altering a process so that it produces more flammable dust for example increases the risk from flash fires and explosions (Related Page: COSHH information).

Changes to the people on site. This can be either the number or type of people. For example, a significant increase in the number of workers on the premises (e.g. taking on many temporary Christmas staff) can create a fire hazard such as increasing the time taken to evacuate the building or the outside assembly area now being too small to accommodate everyone. In terms of the type, this usually means an increase in members of the public who will now need to be made aware of the fire safety provisions unlike workers who should have received suitable fire safety training as part of their programme of health and safety courses. An example of this is if the company opens up a factory shop or tours of the site.

A fire risk assessment may also need to be performed in the event of a fire occurring, even if it is just a small one. Whilst it is impossible to completely reduce the chances of a fire starting down to zero, it may be the case that the existing controls and precautionary measures are not sufficient and need to be revised to try and stop it from happening again, especially as the next time could be much more serious than this one.

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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