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Risk assessment guidance

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies in England and Wales. It covers general fire precautions and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect ‘relevant persons’ in case of fire in and around most premises.

The Order requires fire precautions to be put in place ‘where necessary’ and to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances.

Responsibility for complying with the Order rests with the ‘responsible person’. In a workplace, this is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, e.g. the manager or owner.

In all other premises, the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more than one responsible person in any type of premises, e.g. a multi-occupied complex, all must take reasonable steps to cooperate and coordinate with each other.

If you are the responsible person, you must carry out a fire risk assessment, which must focus on the safety in case of fire of all ‘relevant persons’. It should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as disabled people, those who you know have special needs and children, and must include consideration of any dangerous substance liable to be on the premises.

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.

If your organisation employs five or more people, your premises are licensed, or an alterations notice is in force, you must record the significant findings of the assessment. It is good practice to record your significant findings in any case.

Five steps to carrying out the assessment:

Help with carrying out the assessment

The responsible person can do the fire risk assessment themselves by following the advice provided within the Government’s fire safety guidance documents.

There is no set format for recording a risk assessment and there are many methods and recording templates available. We have provided a customisable template document that you are welcome to adapt to suit your own organisation.

Note: The template is not provided for use by professional service providers or for financial profit or gain and may not be suitable for use in some larger, high risk or complex premises. Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service accept no responsibility for any modifications or amendments made to the template structure or any user content added. Use of the template will not automatically guarantee the completed risk assessment will be regarded as “suitable and sufficient” therefore it should only be completed by persons with the necessary training, skills or ability to do so. A user guide for completing the template is also available.

If, after consulting with all of the available guidance, you find you are unable to complete the fire risk assessment yourself, you’ll need to appoint a ‘competent person’ to help, such as a professional risk assessor.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service can’t do your fire risk assessment for you, but we do recommend that you appoint a fire risk assessor with third party accreditation by a professional body. There are a number of organisations that provide accreditation for fire risk assessors, and these can be found by carrying out a search online.

The Fire Sector Federation (FSF) has published a set of criteria against which the competency of those undertaking fire risk assessments can be judged. Click here for further information.

The Government has also produced a short guide for businesses about complying with fire safety law.

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