Based on the experience of Europe, we find out what is relevant: self-assessment of fire risk or an external agency?
In the United Kingdom, fire safety legislation applies to all commercial premises and places of work. This also applies to buildings that the general public has access to, including common areas of residential apartments.
Fire safety assessment
In accordance with the fire safety legislation, the persons responsible for the relevant buildings are required to conduct a regular fire risk assessment. Depending on the size of the room, the assessment can be carried out either by the relevant responsible person or by an external fire safety specialist.
In small premises or those that can be considered less at risk, a fire risk assessment may be carried out by the business owner or a designated employee.
The person conducting the fire risk assessment must be confident in their ability to identify any potential fire hazard. And identify areas or people that may be at risk. The internal expert should also be able to develop an effective contingency plan in the event of an emergency.
In addition, the person conducting the assessment is responsible for ensuring that all fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, alarms, and fire curtains, gates and curtains, has been tested and is in good working condition. It is necessary to maintain and regularly update records of all maintenance work:
- alarm systems,
- fire curtains, gates, curtains
- and other related equipment.
Fire risk Assessment Specialists
Larger organizations may need to seek the services of an external fire safety expert to conduct a risk assessment. When choosing a fire risk assessment specialist, it is recommended to check their credentials before hiring.
Competent fire risk assessors are usually registered or have a certificate of competence from independent industry bodies. The Competent Fire Risk Assessment Board has a list of criteria that all professional fire risk assessment experts must meet.
It is important to note that even when a business hires the services of a professional fire risk assessor, the business owner is still responsible for ensuring that the assessment is adequate to the needs of the premises and is conducted satisfactorily.
It is probably worth insisting that all the work that the expert has to do is agreed in writing before the fire risk assessment begins. Similarly, written records should be kept of the steps taken to select the appraiser in the first place.
Although an enterprise may choose to appoint an external fire risk assessment specialist, close involvement in this process should be maintained throughout the process.