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Things to Consider in a Fire Risk Assessment


Introduction

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.



Fire Detection

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.



Fire Fighting

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.



Maintenance

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.




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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