FAQ's on Risk Assessments 

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

Employers and self-employed people must carry out, or appoint a competent person to carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment of the risks of fire to their employees and others who may be affected by their work or business. Those who employ five or more employees should keep a formal record of any significant findings and remedial measures which have, or may need to be, taken.

Who is a ‘responsible person’?

Responsibility for complying with the Fire Safety Order will rest with the 'responsible person'. In a workplace, this is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, eg the occupier or owner. In all other premises the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more than one responsible person in any type of premises, all must take all reasonable steps to work with each other.

If you are the responsible person you will have to carry out a fire risk assessment which must focus on the safety in case of fire of all 'relevant persons'. It should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as the disabled and those with special needs, and must include consideration of any dangerous substance likely to be on the premises. Your fire risk assessment will help you identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the nature and extent of the general fire precautions you need to take to protect people against the fire risks that remain.

If you employ five or more people you must record the significant findings of the assessment.

Who is a competent person?

The competent person or fire risk assessor need not possess any specific academic qualifications but should:

  • understand the relevant fire safety legislation;.
  • have appropriate education, training, knowledge and experience in the principles of fire safety;
  • have an understanding of fire development and the behaviour of people in fire;
  • understand the fire hazards, fire risks and relevant factors associated with occupants at special risk within the buildings of the type in question, and
  • have appropriate training and/or experience in carrying out fire risk assessments.

What do you mean by suitable and sufficient?

Whilst the legislation does not define suitable and sufficient it is generally considered that a risk assessment should do the following:

1. Identify the fire risks arising from or in connection with work:

Attention should be paid to sources of ignition, sources of fuel and work processes.

2. Identify the location of people at significant risk in case of fire:

It will be necessary to identify the areas that persons will frequent, whether they be employees, customers, visiting contractors etc.

3. Evaluate the risks:

  • Are existing fire safety measures within the premises adequate?
  • Are sources of fuel and ignition controlled?
  • Is there adequate means for detecting fire and giving warning?
  • Is there adequate means of escape in case of fire from all parts of the premises?
  • Has adequate and appropriate fire-fighting equipment been provided, and is it suitably located?
  • Is there an adequate testing and maintenance regime in place for fire precautions within the premises?
  • Have employees been adequately trained in fire safety procedures within the premises and in the use of fire-fighting equipment?

4. Record findings and action taken:

Prepare an emergency plan, inform, instruct and give training to employees in fire precautions.

5. Keep the assessment under review:

Generally the review date should be one year from the date of completion of the risk assessment, however it may be necessary to set an earlier date depending on the type of premises, processes carried out, etc.

Employers and the self employed are expected to take reasonable steps to help themselves identify fire risks, e.g. by looking at appropriate sources of information such as legislation, and codes of practice or by reference to a competent individual.

  • For small premises presenting few or simple hazards a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment can be a very straightforward process.
  • In many intermediate cases the fire risk assessment will need to be more sophisticated. Some areas of the assessment may require specialist advice such as in a particularly complicated building.
  • Large and complex premises will require the most developed and sophisticated fire risk assessments particularly where fire engineering solutions have been developed to overcome difficult fire safety issues.
  • Fire risk assessments must also consider all those who might be affected by the undertaking whether they are employees or others such as contractors working on site or members of the public. Particularly attention should be given to those individuals who are especially vulnerable. such as young persons, the elderly or those with disabilities.

What are significant findings?

Significant findings should include:

  • the significant hazards identified in the assessment. That is, those hazards which might pose serious risk to workers or others who might be affected by the work activities if they were not properly controlled;
  • the existing control measures in place and the extent to which they control the risks (this need not replicate details of measures more fully described in works manuals etc but could refer to them);
  • the population which may be affected by these significant risks or hazards, including any groups of employees who are especially at risk.
         Contact Details 

South Wales Fire & Rescue Service

Forest View Business Park
CF72 8LX

Tel: 01443 232000

Report a Fire Safety Concern

Have you recently visited a building where you were concerned about the Fire Safety Precautions or management - if so complete the online form to report your concern or contact us:

Phone on 01443 232716 (Normal Working Hours) or 01443 232000 (24 hour number).

Page Last Updated on 11/1/2012