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Understanding Fire Risk Assessments: Annual Necessity and DIY Potential

Got your fire risk assessment done last year and wondering if it's an annual headache? Or maybe you're itching to take matters into your own hands and ditch the experts to save a few quid? You're not alone! Many business owners ask the same question. Let's dive into the nitty-gritty of DIY fire safety without getting burned.


Fire risk assessment DIY

The government's guidance is straightforward: you may conduct the fire risk assessment independently using standard fire safety risk assessment guides. However, if you lack the expertise or time, it is essential to appoint a 'competent person' for assistance, such as a professional risk assessor. In essence, while it is permissible to undertake your own fire risk assessments, the critical consideration is whether you possess the necessary expertise and time to do so effectively.


My interpretation: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should do your own fire risk assessments. Value your time and be aware of your limitations.

 

 

After years of conducting risk assessments across various premises, including healthcare settings, I've encountered numerous DIY Fire Risk Assessments. While some have been impressively thorough, others have fallen significantly short. The difference often lies in the approach. Business owners who care about their business and safety of their staff, visitors, patients etc. will invest a lot of time and attend additional training in order to gain the knowledge and confidence before they complete their own fire risk assessments. Conversely, some owners, in an attempt to save quid, may choose generic, pre-completed assessments that inadequately suggest a low risk so they can tick the box and forget all about it. By signing off without fully grasping the potential repercussions, they overlook the critical importance of a detailed and informed evaluation. If you are one of them, my advice to you would be to stop and think again! Sticking with the status quo means you're fully on the hook if things go south. Understandably, you might think I'm biased towards our risk assessment services, given it's how we earn our living. However, we cater specifically to business owners who prioritise their time and focus on growing their ventures, rather than getting bogged down in operational details. Partnering with us isn't just about compliance; it's about valuing your irreplaceable time. As a fellow business owner, I appreciate the importance of cost control. If you're seeking ways to economise without squandering our most valuable asset – time – I have a four step solution for you:

 

Step 1: Partner with a reputable 'competent person' to conduct your fire risk assessment and furnish you with a comprehensive report, including recommendations.

 

Step 2: Act on the recommendations detailed in your report to ensure compliance and safety.

 

Step 3: Rather than attempting a DIY risk assessment, establish an annual or more frequent internal fire safety audit. This process helps verify the validity of the external assessor's findings and assesses the need for further professional intervention. We equip our clients with a meticulously crafted audit form to help you determine the ongoing relevance of your risk assessment or the necessity for an earlier review.

 

Step 4: Just as you schedule your car's MOT, arrange for a 'competent person' to review your fire risk assessment every 2-3 years. This regular external review ensures your compliance is up-to-date, akin to a health check for your business's fire safety measures, providing peace of mind and mitigating potential risks. Additionally, it's important to be aware of other significant triggers that might necessitate an earlier review, such as major changes to your premises, the introduction of new materials or processes, or in the unfortunate event of a fire. These circumstances could substantially alter the fire risk profile of your property, making it imperative to reassess and update your fire safety strategies accordingly to ensure they remain effective and relevant.


I am convinced that this four-step approach offers a proportional and pragmatic strategy for fire safety in small to medium-sized premises, fostering a proactive attitude towards fire safety by involving internal staff and securing the support of external experts. Importantly, it also helps to keep the costs under control.


Should you require assistance with your fire risk assessment, our dedicated team of expert consultants is at your disposal. We offer tailored support to ensure your fire safety measures are both comprehensive and compliant. Our service extends beyond mere compliance; we strive to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary for maintaining ongoing safety. Whether you're navigating the complexities of a new assessment or seeking to update existing measures, we're here to provide professional guidance every step of the way. Don't hesitate to reach out to us for a consultation, where we can discuss your specific needs and how we can assist in safeguarding your business against fire risks.


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