As from the 1st October 2006 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Requires the Responsible Person of any business premises to carry out a fire risk assessment. This includes measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of fire, and identify persons at risk.
Objective of a Risk Assessment.
The principles contained in the fire safety order is to use a risk assessment approach, which is goal based and flexible. The Responsible Person generates the risks in the workplace, therefore, to safeguard the safety of employees, the Responsible Person must :
- Identify fire hazards and people at risk and to remove or reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as is reasonably practicable; and
- to determine what fire safety measures and management policies are necessary to ensure the safety of people in the building should fire occur by
- Reducing the probability of a fire starting.
- Ensuring that all occupants are alerted and can leave the premises safely its the event of a fire.
- Limiting the effects should a fire occur
Identifying fire hazards and possible sources of ignition
Possible sources of ignition are:-
- Defective electrical fittings and defective or misuse of electrical apparatus – light bulbs and fluorescent tubes too close to combustible materials, misuse or defective electrical extension leads and adapters, faulty or damaged wiring.
- Matches, Lighters, Candles and Smoking materials.
- Flame or sparks from a work process such as welding, cutting, grinding or the use of a hot air gun.
- Sources of frictional heat.
- Electrostatic discharges.
- Ovens, kilns, open hearths, furnaces or incinerators.
- Boilers, engines and other oil burning equipment.
- Portable heaters.
- Cooking equipment, including deep fat fryers.
- The threat of arson must not be overlooked and the malicious firing of combustible materials.
Fire risk Assessment
Potential sources of fuel and unsafe situations:-
- Any combustibles – These can be divided into two main groups; combustible fuels such as paper, wood, cardboard, etc.; and highly combustible fuels such as thinners, solvents, polyurethane foam, etc.
- Any unsafe procedures or acts – Persons undertaking unsafe acts such as smoking next to combustible materials.
- Any unsafe conditions – These are hazards that may assist a fire to spread in your workplace, e.g. if there are large areas of hardboard or polystyrene tiles etc., or open stairs that can cause a fire to spread quickly, trapping people and involving the whole building.
- One hazard that is often overlooked is bad housekeeping and is the easiest to correct. It is responsible for many small fires either starting or certainly spreading and involving far more of the premises than was necessary.
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