Fire Risk Assessment


Please note: that the HSE, Scottish Government and Scottish Fire Services were researched and used in compiling this article

Why undertake a fire risk assessment?

The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the associated Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 dictates that all non domestic premises must have a fire risk assessment

Fire safety legislation aims to ensure the safety of employees, residents, visitors, or customers; it sets out rights and responsibilities in respect of fire safety

Your fire risk assessment will help you identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the nature and extent of the general fire precautions you need to take to protect people against the fire risks that remain. If you employ five or more people, you must record the significant findings of your risk assessment however it is recommended to do so in any case as proof that it has been carried out.

A management commitment to fire safety is essential to assist with achieving suitable fire safety standards in premises and to maintain a staff culture of fire safety.

It is a management responsibility to have both an emergency fire action plan and arrangements to implement the plan. A written emergency fire action plan should be kept on the premises, be available to and known by staff, and form the basis of the training and instruction, which is provided to all staff. This plan should be available for inspection by the enforcing authority.

Does fire safety legislation apply to you?

Fire safety legislation applies to virtually all premises and covers nearly every type of building and structure. For example:

  • Offices and shops
  • Premises that provide care
  • Community halls and other public buildings
  • Houses in multiple occupation
  • Pubs, clubs and restaurants
  • Schools
  • Tents and marquees
  • Hotels, hostels, short term holiday and self-catering lets
  • Factories and warehouses

This is not an exhaustive list, however purely domestic premises occupied by a single family group are excluded.

Who is responsible?

The legislation places a duty on those responsible for fire safety within relevant premises to carry out a fire risk assessment. These people are defined in the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 as Duty Holders.

In a workplace, this could be the employer as well as any other person who may have control to any extent of any part of the premises, for example, the occupier or owner. Employees have a duty to cooperate with employers to ensure the safety of others from fire.

If you are the Duty Holder, you must carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises, which must focus on the safety of all 'relevant persons' in case of fire.

Who enforces the legislation?

For most premises, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is the authority responsible for enforcing this legislation. The Service may visit certain premises to ascertain whether the fire precautions are being maintained to a satisfactory standard and that the requirements of the legislation are being met.

Who undertake a fire risk assessment?

If you are the Duty Holder, you must carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises, which must focus on the safety of all 'relevant persons' in case of fire.

A contract specialist may be employed however both the Scottish Government and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service recommend that duty holders who wish to contract the services of external fire safety risk assessors verify that the assessor is competent in fire risk assessment.

Even where external assistance is used, the dutyholder remains legally responsible and accountable for fire safety in the premises.

Review of Fire Risk Assessment

reviews of a risk assessment should be carried out regularly by the duty holder to ensure it remains valid. This will reinforce ownership of fire safety management and assist in the development of relevant knowledge, and of a fire safety culture. However, where significant changes to premises have occurred or if the duty holder continues to feel that they lack the time, knowledge or skills required to undertake a thorough review, it may be advisable to seek specialist advice to revisit, review and revise the initial assessment.

Undertaking a fire risk assessment

A Fire Safety Risk Assessment looks at your premises, the activities carried out there, the potential for a fire to occur and the harm it could cause.

The Fire Safety Risk Assessment has been developed to identify hazards and to reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm. It will also help to determine what fire safety measures and management policies are necessary to ensure the safety of people in the building, should a fire occur.

There are five steps in the assessment process

  1. Identify the people at risk
  2. Identify the fire hazards
  3. Evaluate the risk and decide if existing fire safety
  4. Record the Fire Risk Assessment information
  5. Review of Fire Risk Assessment

Deliberate Firesetting

There are more than 3000 deliberate firesetting attacks on businesses each year in the UK. 

  • Protect your business:
  • Store rubbish away from buildings
  • Rubbish should not accumulate, increase uplifts if necessary
  • Review security and access to your site
  • Report anti- social behaviour to the police and share information with neighbouring businesses
  • Report evidence of any fire to your local fire service
  • Fit anti firesetting letter boxes