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The Need For A Fire Risk Assessment In All Sectors Of Business

Aug 12, 2008
The fire risk assessment is becoming an increasingly important element in business due to a heavy government focus on fire safety in the world of commerce. Fires can be disastrous for businesses involving a large amount of human and financial loss. The majority of business owners realise this and hence understand why it is so important to have a regular risk assessment that intends to limit the chances of fire and hence helps to secure business operations and profits.

Many businesses house large amounts of supplies on site and subsequently must take careful precautions so these supplies do not pose a serious fire threat. For this type of company a fire can be extremely costly, losing large amounts of stock to a blaze means that unless adequate insurance is bought, profits can be seriously harmed. This is why a fire risk assessment is so important, as the process of assessing will attempt to put in place procedures that ensure stock is stored safely and in a way to limit the risks if ignition and spreading of fire.

Legally the government has put in place legislation that ensures all business premises have a risk assessment that is carried out by a competent person. As previously stated a large part of this assessment will include understanding how fire ignites and spreads. Assessing possible ignition sources and the proximity of combustible materials to these sources means that plans can be put in place to reduce the instances of ignition while minimising the chances of a blaze spreading.

The ultimate objective of the assessment is to completely reduce the number of hazards present in a workplace. Naturally, in some businesses it will be impossible to completely remove these risks; in these instances the assessor will find ways in which to implement protocols that make the working environment safer. Methods of doing this can include placing combustibles in 'fire safe' areas where ignition sources are minimal and storing stock in a way that it is not inducive to the spreading of flames. At times this will result in an elongated assessing methodology that will attempt to totally understand the working practices over a number of days.

As well as procedures an assessor should take into account the personnel who are situated in the premises. This can be anyone from staff members to customers but it is important to realise that making safety provisions for disabled and elderly persons is vital as these will be most vulnerable in the event of an evacuation. Once again, having an elongated assessment period will allow the assessor to understand the cross section of society who enter and use the business premises.

As a result of this process it should be possible for the assessor to put in place evacuation procedures that take into account all of the people who may be inside. Additionally to the evacuation considerations, understanding the amount of fire fighting apparatus as well as the people qualified to use this apparatus is an important factor in any assessment.

A fire risk assessment will naturally differ depending upon the type of business being assessed. As businesses vary so much no one action plan will be applicable for all. Thankfully the government have made this realisation and are now attempting to secure a situation where all businesses, from heavy industry to nursery schools all have a plan in place that ensures the safety of all persons on the premises.
About the Author
Regulatory compliance expert Thomas Pretty looks into the fire risk assessment process and how findings will help improve the safety of those on business premises.
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