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Ensuring Safety | Fire Safety Risk Assessment Guide

Updated: May 1

risk assessment of fire safety equipment

A fire safety risk assessment identifies the hazards posed by fire so that proper safety measures can be put in place to reduce these risks. This type of assessment is mandated by law in many locations such as a workplace or houses of multiple occupancy (HMO).


In this Article:


What is a Fire Safety Risk Assessment?

A fire safety risk assessment is a process that identifies the potential fire hazards present in any premises. It is a critical part of a fire safety management plan and aims to reduce the risks posed by fire in any given building or workplace.

A fire safety risk assessment aims to identify hazards, determine who is at risk, reduce or remove these risks, prepare an emergency plan and finally update the assessment on a regular basis.


Who Requires a Fire Risk Assessment?

In the UK fire risk assessments are mandated by the Fire Safety Order 2005 and applies to almost all buildings and structures. A fire safety risk assessment isn't required in some instances where there is no risk of fire to the public or locations subject to other regulations such as property owned by military organisations.

Here is a list of buildings and places that require a fire safety risk assessment:

  1. Commercial Property Buildings such as shops, pubs and restraints are required to have a fire safety risk assessment as there may be a risk of fire here.

  2. Public Buildings Public locations such as religious buildings and libraries are required to have a fire safety risk assessment carried out to reduce the risk of injury to people in the case of a fire starting.

  3. Residential Property Residential property such as common areas in student accommodation and Houses of Multiple Occupancy must have a fire safety risk assessment as there is a risk of fire posed to the public in these locations. This applies to buildings such as care homes and apartment buildings also.

  4. Educational Institutions Building such as schools and universities must carry out fire safety risk assessments as there are a large amount of people in these premises meaning the risk of fire and risks faced during evacuation will be higher

  5. Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities These locations also contain lots of people at any one time meaning it is vital a fire safety risk assessment is carried out. There may also be substances in these locations that are flammable so proper identification of risks is a major factor in ensuring public and staff safety.

  6. Industrial Premises & Construction Sites Warehouses, factories and construction sites often have a higher risk of fire due to the use of heavy machinery and flammable substances. A fire safety risk assessment is essential in these locations to keep people safe.

  7. Sports & Leisure Locations Facilities such as stadiums, swimming pools and gyms must carry out a fire safety risk assessment as although there may not be a high chance of fire breaking out, there are often lots of people at these locations making evacuation more complicated.

  8. Transportation Facilities Fire risk assessments are vital in places like airports and facilities as there can be a high risk of fire in these locations, additionally these places can be very busy making the hazards involved in evacuation more difficult to deal with.

  9. Holiday & Accommodation Premises Locations like hotels and bed & breakfasts must have a fire safety risk assessment ton ensure the safety of their guests. This is mandated by the fire safety regulations as there could be a risk of fire in these places.


performing fire safety checks

Who is Responsible for Carrying out a Fire Safety Risk Assessment?

In any given location there should be a "responsible person" appointed, this person is responsible for ensuring fire safety for any business or non-domestic premises. In the event that there is more than one responsible person on a premises, one of these people should be assigned the responsibility of ensuring fire safety.

Unless there has been someone otherwise appointed, Fire safety is usually the responsibility of the following people:

  • Business Owners

  • Landlords

  • Employers

  • Facilities/Building Managers

  • Building Occupiers

  • Subcontracted Risk Assessors


What Locations don't Require a Fire Safety Risk Assessment

There are a few types of premises that don't require a fire safety risk assessment, these are locations that may be regulated by different laws or places where there is no risk to life posed by fire.

Some examples of these exempt locations include:

  1. Privately Owned Homes Dwellings such as family homes are not required to carry out fire safety risk assessments as the responsibility falls onto the occupants of the property and fire safety legislation does not apply here.

  2. Military Property Armed forces locations are subject to the regulations outlined by the Defence Fire Safety Regulator (DFSR) and have slightly different obligations than other locations regarding fire safety.

  3. Select Transport Vehicles Some transport vehicles are not regulated entirely by the Fire Safety Order 2005 and may have different responsibilities in regards to fire safety. There are regulations like the transport safety legislation which outline the fire safety responsibilities for specific transport vehicles.


5 Steps to Writing a Fire Safety Risk Assessment

There is a specific order that a fire safety risk assessment should be carried out, from initial identification of hazards to regular reviews of assessments this process has been designed to be the most comprehensive way of preventing and keeping people safe in the event of a fire.

Fire Safety Risk Assessments are carried out in the following order:

1. Identify the Fire Hazards.

The first step of carrying out a risk assessment involves finding potential sources of ignition and fuel. This could include flammable materials and electrical equipment, essentially any element that could be used to start a fire or fuel a fire once started.

2. Identify People at Risk.

It is vital that the people at risk if being injured in the event of a fire are considered. This could include employees, visitors or people considered as vulnerable. This is important to consider as some people may have additional needs in order to be kept safe in the event of a fire. For example, evacuating someone in a wheelchair will be more difficult than someone who is able bodied, therefore additional measures will need to be put in place to keep these people safe.

3. Evaluate, Remove or Reduce the Risks.

The likelihood of a fire starting should be determined at this point and proper safety measures put in place to reduce the risk of a fire starting. This may include isolating potential sources of ignition, relocating any materials that could be used of fuel and installing early warning fire alarm systems.

The site should also be assessed so that in the event of a fire breaking out, everything possible has been done to stop the spread and reduce the risk to life.

4. Record Your Findings, Prepare an Emergency Plan and Provide Training.

Any hazards that have been found should be recorded, as well as the safety measures implemented to mitigate these hazards. Any additional measures should be suggested in this report.

An emergency plan should also be created and demonstrated to all those who could be considered at risk of injury in the event of fire. It is vital that people know what to do if the emergency exit plan is carried out.

Adequate staff training should also be provided to show that employees have been properly educated in the risks of fire and evacuation procedures. Training may include procedures for fighting fire and instruction on which extinguisher is appropriate for different types of fire.

5. Review and Update the Fire Risk Assessment Regularly.

Risk assessments should be updated regularly and specifically when changes in the location occur for example adding additional machinery or changing the layout of walkways. This ensures the emergency procedures are kept up to date with the current hazards and are not overlooked. Fire safety risk assessments should also be updated after an accident has occurred to see if there are additional safety measures that can be implemented to stop it happening again in the future.


fire safety assessment carried out in a rubber factory

Who can Carry Out a Fire Safety Risk Assessment?

A fire safety risk assessment must be carried out by someone who has the required skills and competency to carry out the task. This person is considered the "responsible person" and must have the skills required to assess possible hazards and implement safety measures. Some people choose to receive training and carry out these risk assessments in house whereas others may choose to hire a professional fire risk assessor.

In House Fire Safety Risk Assessments

When carrying out the fire safety risk assessment it is vital the responsible person understands the specific risks in the premised and are familliar with the principles of fire safety.

Hiring a Professional Assessor

Using a professional fire safety assessor is the most appropriate option for most complex locations and areas that have lots of people. Creating a fire safety plan in these types of locations can be more difficult so it is recommended that a qualified and experienced assessor carries out the assessment.

An qualified and accredited assessor is often preferred as this shows proof of training and competence, in addition to ensuring they have knowledge of current industry standards.


Fire Safety Training

It is recommended that anyone working at a premises that has a risk of fire has fire safety awareness training. This ensures that they have adequate training in the dangers fire may pose and shows that the employer has conformed to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by providing adequate training in order to ensure employee safety.

We provide quality fire safety training to help keep employees safe and ensure compliance with current health & safety standards.


Frequently Asked Questions

What does FED stand for in Fire Safety?

Who is Responsible for Enforcing Fire Safety Legislation?

How Often should a Fire Escape Route be Checked?


a link to a fire marshal training course

a link to a introduction to risk assessment online course



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