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Fire Risk Assessments – Are You Competent?. Fire safety legislation requires that, for most premises except private dwellings, a fire risk assessment must be carried out to determine the risks to people from fire.
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Fire safety legislation requires that, for most premises except private dwellings, a fire risk assessment must be carried out to determine the risks to people from fire.
Do you have to employ the services of a fire safety specialist, such as a consultant, to carry out your fire risk assessment?
For small, simple premises, it is often the duty holder that carries out the fire risk assessment.
Arguably, in these premises, the duty holder is the best person to do so because of their intimate knowledge of the premises and the activities therein.
However, for many premises, the duty holder seeks the services of an external consultant - ‘a fire risk assessor’.
In the case of larger, more complex or high risk premises, this is often appropriate, as the task might well be beyond the ability of the duty holder.
Hotel Fire Risk Assessment • A manager appointed consultant to carry out fire risk assessment of his hotel • Fire Service visited premises and issued prohibition notice • No fire alarms, inadequate MOE, blocked exits and other breaches
Hotel Fire Risk Assessment • 8 months prison
How many fire risk assessments have you had carried out in your council premises ? Are they valid?
Were they carried out by a “competent person”
? ? ? • How do you know if they are competent? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
You should demonstrate “Due dilligence” • You took all reasonable measures to avoid the offence • There are good and bad fire risk assessors
Data from the English Fire and Rescue Service suggests that the main compliance failure leading to enforcement action is a failure by duty holders to carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment.
Fire and Rescue Service Fire Risk Assessments 43% Unsatisfactory Hospitals 39% Schools 40%Hotels 51%Licensed premises 52% Care Homes 44%
It is suggested that it would be helpful for those who want to use the services of a commercial fire risk assessor to be able to access information on those with an appropriate level of competency in fire risk assessment to help them comply with the legislation.
As a result of these concerns, the Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council produced the core competency standard • A benchmark for fire risk assessors to be measured against
Its objective has been to establish agreed, industry-wide, criteria against which the competence of a fire risk assessor can be judged.
It is anticipated that these criteria will be used by professional bodies and third party certification bodies who register or certificate fire risk assessors and, by commercial companies providing fire risk assessment services.
Fire Risk Assessor • A person is regarded as competent where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to implement their role.
Fire Risk Assessor • In the case of simple premises, where the fire risk assessor might, for example, be an employee of the occupier, it is possible that the following attributes of a fire risk assessor might be sufficient in conjunction with a study of suitable guidance documents.
Fire Risk Assessor a) An understanding of relevant current best fire safety practices in premises of the type in question;
Fire Risk Assessor b) An awareness of the limitations of the fire risk assessor's own experience and knowledge;
Fire Risk Assessor c) A willingness and ability to supplement existing experience and knowledge, when necessary, by obtaining external help and advice.
Core Competencies • The assessment of risk from fire (appendix A) • Applicable Legislation (appendix B) • Appropriate Guidance (appendix C) • Behaviour of fire in buildings (appendix D) • Behaviour of people in fire situations (appendix E)
Core Competencies • Means of Escape (appendix F) • Fire Prevention (appendix G) • Fire Protection (appendix H – includes Passive & Active) • Management of Fire Safety (appendix I)
NEBOSH • NEBOSH Fire Safety and Risk Management – Does it cover ALL the core competencies? No!
UKAS accredited • Warrington certification is a UKAS accredited third party certification body • They are completely linking their accreditation process to the core competencies
Fire Risk Consultancy Ltd • Insufficient time to cover whole syllabus • Market forces – companies would not release employees to attend
Fire Risk Consultancy Ltd • Decided to produce web based training • Organised professional studio
LABC Consult • 80 LABC Building Control Officers have successfully completed this online course