Things to Consider in a Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment will, amongst other things, consider the existing fire safety measures and controls in place, and highlight possible improvements that could be introduced in order to reduce the probability of a fire occurring in the workplace which would then pose a danger to the health and safety of workers and those nearby, as well as being potentially hazardous to the environment in terms of toxic gases produced from burning material being released into the air or being washed into nearby streams and rivers by the water used to extinguish a fire.
Some considerations to include in a good fire risk assessment are:
Procedures and Training
Making it up as you go along as a fire burns around you can waste time and can be the difference between life or death. A detailed plan which includes specifics such as who is responsible for what in the event of a fire, and the procedures for evacuation and assembly, is required before an incident. This should then be communicated to workers as part of their health and safety training and through regular refresher courses. Having workers attend courses like the NEBOSH Fire Safety Certificate will also give them a great deal of knowledge regarding fire safety.
Fires need to be detected as soon as possible in order to give people the best chance of escape. The earlier a fire is detected and the alarm raised, the more time they will have. Workers need to be able to recognise the sound of the alarm, what it means and know what to do when they hear it. Alarm points should be located within easy reach to enable the alarm to be raised quickly.
Whilst large fires should be left for the fire brigade to deal with, small fires can be tackled and extinguished before they spread and become too damaging or dangerous, provided that it does not put a person in danger by staying and fighting the blaze. To do this, suitable fire fighting equipment needs to be made available such as the correct type of fire extinguishers, and workers should receive training to use the equipment if necessary.
Poorly maintained machinery and the equipment to fight fires can all contribute to a fire starting, spreading and being a serious hazard to health which could have been avoided. Therefore, suitable maintenance is a must when it comes to fire safety.
This list is by no means exhaustive and provides just some of the things to take into consideration when preparing, performing and evaluating a fire risk assessment.