The act of 'Risk Assessment' is not the form-filling but the work that has been done by thinking things through!
So far, we've done the most important parts of the Fire Risk Assessment, including identifying the hazards and thinking about how these could affect people. We've also looked at what's being done to protect people from fire. We've actually done the hard work without setting pen to paper!
This section only applies if there are five or more employees (although there are some other circumstances where this may be required in law). Having said that, it's always worth keeping a record of the findings of a Fire Risk Assessment as it can be a useful reference for the future. ChurchSafety recommends that the significant findings of all assessments are recorded for this reason.
There is no set format for the way in which the assessment findings should be put down in writing, but a commonly used method by professional Fire Risk Assessors is known as "PAS 79". This is a standard, published by the British Standards Institution, that provides best-practice on how to carry out, and record, a Fire Risk Assessment.
What needs to be recorded?
The following, as a minimum, should be written down:
- The nature of the premises (number of storey levels, height above or below ground level, construction methods etc...)
- The activities within the premises.
- The layout of the premises.
- The approximate floor area per storey level and of the whole premises.
- The approximate number of occupants, including a note of how many disabled people may are likely to be present.
- Any history of fires on the premises, as well as incidents involving arson or break-ins in the area which may indicate a problem in the neighbourhood.
- The fire hazards that have been identified.
- The fire precautions that are in place, and the effectiveness of these precautions.
- Any aspects relating to fire safety management and procedures.
- Details of any recent and relevant training, including fire drills.
- The tests, servicing and checks that are undertaken on fire precautions and the way that these are recorded.
- An evaluation of the fire risk.
- Some form of action plan.
Paper or Electronic?
We often suggest that an efficient way to record Fire Risk Assessments is to use a computer. The reason is that it makes life easier to edit the document and modify the record in future. Sometimes, the assessment can remain as an electronic document and not printed, so long as it can be retrieved easily when it is needed.
Part of the record keeping that is necessary is a log book. While this can be kept in paper format, Safelincs offer a free Fire Safety Logbook resource to allow you to electronically record the various checks and service schedules that are performed.
The aim of Risk Assessment is not to create reams of paper in pristine condition, filed away and never looked at, but rather be a useful addition to the organisation. If a document is regularly reviewed, the assessment is achieving that goal.
Previous stage: Form an action plan
Next stage: Review and revise the assessment
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