Stage 4: Record Your Findings

ringbinder fileThe Fire Safety Order requires any business with five or more staff to record the findings of their fire risk assessment. If you have less than five staff your assessment is likely to be pretty basic anyway, so you may as well still record it. Having a record is always helpful if anything does happen in the future, or if the fire service decide to inspect your business.

There is no set way that you need to record the findings of your assessment and for very small straightforward business this may just be done on a couple of sheets of paper. However, it can help to use a form if your premises are a little larger, as the form can help to take you through each stage and prompt you for the various things you need to check and record.

For this reason I have provided a Fire Risk Assessment Form that you can DOWNLOAD HERE. You form is a pdf file so you need Adobe Reader to download and view it. If you don’t have Reader you can download it free on THIS LINK.

When you have finished carrying out and recording your fire risk assessment you have taken the most important step towards ensuring that you have a safe and legally compliant place of work, but that is not the end of your responsibilities. The assessment you have done will no doubt highlight certain actions that you need to take in order to remove or reduce risks, so you now need to ensure these actions are implemented. You also need to pass on the findings of your assessment to all your staff.

Having completed your assessment you then need to use your findings to review each of the following:

Your Emergency Plan
Staff Training And Information
Fire Fighting Equipment
Fire Alarm Systems

Your Emergency Plan

Every business should have written procedures for what to do in the event of an emergency. For a small business it does not need to be long or complicated, but it does need to give clear information about what everyone has to do in a fire or other emergency.

Staff Training And Information

The law requires you to pass on the findings of your fire risk assessment to your staff, but you also have a duty anyway to give them information about all your safety arrangements. As soon as you take someone on, you should be providing them with information about their role in the event of fire, where escape routes and emergency exits are located, where fire fighting equipment is (and how to use it if appropriate) and how the fire alarm system works.

Fire Fighting Equipment

You have a duty to not only make sure that appropriate fire fighting equipment is located in your premises, but also to make sure that it is all kept in working order and properly maintained. A fire extinguisher that does not work, or which has already been discharged, may as well not be there. The best option is to instigate regular visual checks by your own staff, and periodic inspections by a trained engineer. They should mark each appliance to show when it was checked and that it is in working order.

Fire Alarm Systems

You are not required to have a state of the art automated alarm system, but you are required to have a system in place that is appropriate for your premises and which works. Most premises will have some form of fire detection system and you need to ensure that systems are in place to maintain it so that you are sure it is always in working order.

It is best to give this responsibility to one person, so that there is no doubt about whose job it is to look after this. You should carry out weekly tests of any call points you have and keep written records of these tests, addressing any faults promptly. If you have a lot of call points, the best thing is to test a different one each week, so you gradually work your way around the building.

A maintenance contract is a very good idea to ensure that your system is regularly checked by an expert.

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