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What Is A Fire Safety Risk Assessment and How Do You Complete it?

Businesses must implement fire safety protocols to help protect their staff and customers in case the worst scenario plays out. The first step to ensuring these precautions are in place is completing a fire safety risk assessment. This documentation helps to demonstrate that you understand the potential risks your business premise poses and that measures have been implemented to keep people safe. 

Whether you use a fire safety risk assessment checklist or a pre-made template, it is paramount your business completes and records this piece of documentation. For more information on why fire safety risk assessments are needed and how to carry out the relevant checks, read on to find out more.

Why You Need to Conduct a Fire Safety Risk Assessment

A fire safety risk assessment is a legal requirement for businesses in the UK under the Regulatory Reform Order 2005. This law aims to protect everyone that enters and works on any business premises within the country. Under this piece of legislation, all business owners must have an evaluated process in place to maintain their fire prevention systems and respond appropriately to any fire-related emergency. The bottom line of any fire safety risk assessment is to keep people safe and prevent loss of life.

The Regulatory Reform Order 2005

The 2005 Regulatory Reform Order, also known as the Fire Safety Order, is the UK government’s fire safety legislation. Introduced to standardise the processes to protect people against fire, it applies to all workplaces, commercial buildings and non-domestic parts of shared residential premises. These non-domestic areas cover structures, external walls, balconies, and flat front doors.

The Fire Safety Order states that fire safety risk assessments must be conducted and regularly reviewed so fire safety protocols are up-to-date and relevant. Therefore, keeping on top of your business’s fire safety is of utmost importance.

Who Needs to Conduct a Fire Safety Risk Assessment

Every workplace and commercial building in the UK needs a fire safety risk assessment. From large complex buildings and SMEs to smaller organisations and heritage buildings. Assessments also need to be completed for non-domestic parts of shared buildings.

Here is a comprehensive list of businesses required to carry out fire safety risk assessments:

  • Shops
  • Offices
  • Schools and places of education
  • Places of Worship
  • Construction Sites, factories and warehouses
  • Sports Centres, Libraries and other Community Premises
  • Hospitals, GP and Dental Offices and care homes
  • Rented accommodation including hotels
  • Outdoor tents and marquees 

You do not need to complete a risk assessment for a domestic space like a personal home. However, if you are a landlord of rented accommodation, you do need to audit the building in a risk assessment for your tenants.

Who Can Carry Out Fire Safety Risk Assessments?

When it comes to carrying out a risk assessment, according to the Fire Safety Order, a responsible person must conduct the evaluation. Within the legislation, a responsible person is defined as:

  • The employer, if they control the workplace
  • The person who has control over the premises, either the landlord or owner or the occupier

However, the responsible person is allowed to instruct a competent person with the appropriate training to conduct the assessment. 

Fire Safety Risk Assessment Process

The legislation does not include any requirements for conducting a risk assessment. Despite this absence, there is a standard approach used by most businesses recommended:

1. Identify The Hazards

To combat fire risks, you have to know what hazards you face. Audit your entire premises and processes to find anything which could harm people.

2. Identify Those At Risk

It’s crucial to identify who is affected by the hazards you have found. Is it going to be employees, customers, contractors, clients or visitors? Are there any reasons why certain people face more risks than others? Pay close attention to anyone with existing conditions or mobility restrictions to cater to their needs. Your risk assessment must cover any persons who might enter the premises.

3. Evaluate The Level Of Risk

The next step is to evaluate how likely the hazard is to occur and how severe its effects could be. This information will inform how you deal with it.

4. Provide A Solution To Mitigate The Risks

Every hazard identified must be solved to reduce the risk of its occurrence and respond in an emergency. These solutions range from implementing and signposting an accessible means of escape, to fire safety equipment, to fire prevention tactics. Develop easily implemented practical protocols to provide customers or visitors with safety information. Doing so will ensure they have a clear understanding of how to act safely during an emergency, like signposting fire exits or training staff to lead them.

5. Train Your Staff 

Anyone who is regularly on your premises and facing these hazards needs awareness and training about each fire safety hazard and the protocol in place to mitigate the risk. By providing thorough training, you will ensure your staff can respond efficiently in the event of an emergency.

6. Review And Update Your Assessment Regularly

Outdated safety protocols put people’s safety at risk so they must be reviewed and refreshed often to keep them relevant. A good rule of thumb is to update your risk assessment annually, and whenever there is a significant change in your environment, safety system or personnel. Make sure you date every investigation to keep a detailed record of the process. It is also a good idea to enlist the help of a professional every few years to regulate your investigation process.

Our Fire Safety Services

Once you’ve completed your fire safety risk assessment, you might find your premises lacking some crucial fire safety equipment. At FMC fire, we have all the necessary products to fully implement a fire protection system.

We are committed to producing high-quality products for consumer use to protect you and your buildings. These products include fire alarms, extinguishers, safety signs, hose equipment and many others to keep you safe. Our fire experts can help advise you on what you need to comply with your fire safety risk assessment, contact us today for more information.


Can you carry out a fire safety risk assessment yourself?

As long as you fulfil the requirements to be considered a responsible and competent person, you can conduct a fire safety risk assessment without professional help. You can, however, hire a professional if you cannot complete the task yourself.

How do you write up a fire safety risk assessment?

Writing up a fire safety risk assessment is very simple. Create a table to record the hazard, whom it affects, the level of risk it poses and your solution to mitigate it. If you are unsure what you need to include, using a template from a reputable source is a good way to ensure you stay compliant. 

What are the legal requirements for a fire safety risk assessment in the UK?

In the UK, every business and non-domestic building needs a fire safety risk assessment. The legal requirements are set out by the 2005 Regulatory Reform Order.

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