Take Fire Risk Assessment Seriously
January 19, 2009barriehol
As widely reported in the Fire Safety media following a fire at a hotel in Lancashire, the managing director was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,750 after a blaze at the Royal Hotel in Waterfoot. Eight people had to be rescued from the building.
The company responsible for the hotel admitted responsibility for a number of offences in court which included not completing a formal fire risk assessment.
A landlord was also sent to prison for four months in the first custodial sentence given in London under the new fire safety regulations and his company, Watchacre Properties Limited, were fined £21,000 following conviction for serious breaches of the regulatory reform order (RRO).
The prosecution followed a fatal fire at a flat on Ruskin Road, Tottenham on 16th September 2007.
These two cases show how seriously the authorities view non compliance to the RRO. In truth there is evidence that many business managers still do not fully understand their statutory responsibilities and in particular what is involved in conducting a fire risk assessment – the effective starting point for RRO compliance.
An excellent Risk Assessment template can be found at http://fire-assessments.co.uk/home.asp that is provided by Visit Britain the National Tourism Agency http://www.tourismtrade.org.uk/
According to Visit Britain the template is designed for B & B’s, guesthouses, farmhouses, Inns with rooms and all types of individual self catering properties with floors not exceeding three storeys (or 7.5 metres) in height. Having looked through the template it has relevance to most businesses and could be easily adapted and expanded taking the existing content as a guide. Conducting a Risk Assessment is mainly about applying common sense once you understand the basic criteria and objectives.
The template takes you through the procedure step by step with helpful tips and information on issues to consider. You can also download the template once finished and set up multiple entries should you have more than one property. Registration is required although as far as I can tell it is hassle free.
You can also find more detailed explanation of Fire Risk Assessments and essential information on many other fire safety issues in the Advice section at www.fireandsafetycentre.co.uk. The site also includes comprehensive guidance on the types and uses of fire extinguishers and related equipment.