Perhaps the phrase "fire risk assessments" reminds you of someone fidgeting along with the clipboard and taking notes that can later be safely filed in the nearest available container. If so, it would be a misperception that can lead to dangerous complacency and missed opportunities in fire audits.
What is a Fire Risk Assessment?
A Fire Risk Assessment Generally Involves a Professional Review of:
- Vulnerability to fire;
- Compliance (or otherwise) with fire regulations as covered by occupational health and safety legislation
- Ability to deal with a fire should one arise.
The result of such an assessment is usually a report that highlights areas of concern and identifies, with prioritization, where attention is required. There are several reasons why fire audits should be performed on a regular and professional basis.
A fire risk assessment is not something that an untrained person who wanders around and takes a "quick look" can do, no matter how much common sense and good intentions may apply. Detecting vulnerability and whether current practices may conflict with legal requirements is a skilled job.
The reason they need to be done periodically is simply because situations evolve and things change. As a result, complacency can easily seep into any organization.
Land law and health and safety regulations don't find fire a fun topic. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that a significant number of people are killed unnecessarily each year.
In fact, does the law take corporate responsibility in these areas so seriously that in 2007 the new crime of corporate manslaughter was put on the statute books? Any company that, after a major incident resulting in death, finds itself negligent in its duty to conduct its business safely may be prosecuted under this and other laws.
Therefore, it can be highly recommended for any organization to ensure that it fully complies with all appropriate regulations and laws.
Safety of People
Potentially punitive legal action aside, few business owners or top executives would like to think they are doing more than taking the safety of those around them very seriously.
However, it is sometimes not always easy to understand what is required by law or what current best professional practice suggests as the most appropriate course of action.
Some business leaders and security officials may also be unaware whether all areas of their organization are fully complying with their own internal policies and procedures related to fire prevention, etc.
Fire Risk Assessments
There are professional auditing and risk management companies that specialize in the different aspects of health and safety at work. They have the skills to observe an organization and identify where there is a real physical risk and where there is non-compliance with the law.
A specific component of its activity is to produce fire risk assessments designed to help the leadership level of the company understand where action is required.
The importance of this type of fire audit is hard to overstate.
Many companies may sincerely believe that they have done everything possible to make their facilities safe and have therefore assumed that they must comply with the legislation.
Unfortunately, the law may not recognize "best efforts" or sincerity. It will focus more on the exact nature of any breach of the law.
The only way to be sure that your organization is safe and compliant is through professional fire risk assessments.