A fire risk assessment is a legal requirement - YES .... However it should not be just another tick in the health and safety box, just another drain on your resources that you could do without ..... NO!
A fire risk assessment keeps you and your staff safe and protects your business. A well carried out assessment offers you great protection and peace-of-mind. However everybody has to understand the importance of fire-safety planning. All too often risk assessors come across staff who think they are the Fire Police. Many staff think they are towing the company line and give assessors the answer they think they should give rather than just simply the truth. This approach is a waste of everybody's time and money and quite frankly can be dangerous.
Here is an all too typical scenario:
Assessor: "Does your company provide you with fire extinguisher training?"
Staff member: "Yes, absolutely"
Assessor: "Good' so if this computer went on fire which of these extinguishers would you use?"
Staff member: "Ermm... Er....Em..... Foam?"
Fire risk assessors are not the fire authority but they are there to ensure you keep on the right side of that authority. This can only happen if you are open and honest. It doesn't matter where you are now but where you will be after the assessment has been carried out and the significant findings have been applied.
There is one word within the fire safety legislation (RRO 2005) that is particularly significant - 'Responsibility'. Ultimately the business owner / MD is 'The Responsible Person' but responsibility cascades and has legal ramifications.
So if you want to keep safe and legal treat fire risk assessments with the respect they deserve and give helpful, open and honest responses.
Risk assessors are safety consultants and definitely not the Fire Police!