A compliant fire risk assessment is essential to ensure that your building, employees, and residents are kept safe from the dangers of fire. With extensive care sector experience, our health and safety team are experts in prioritising compliance within care homes and other residential buildings. To help you attain peace of mind, we have collated some of the common pitfalls of fire risk assessments, coupled with guidance on how to avoid them.

Have you considered surface friction?

While recently conducting a fire risk assessment for a care operator, we were informed of concerns about friction levels due to new flooring in a refurbished corridor. Following this, our tests discovered that an alarming level of friction was produced when using an evacuation mattress on the surface. This occurred even without a person on the mattress, which meant that using the equipment would be deemed non-compliant and dangerous.

Although not all care operators are newly refurbished, this experience acts a stark reminder of the dangers associated with surface friction.

Are you using your equipment safely?

Have you tested your own evacuation equipment on every surface in your premises, including your stairs? If not, we recommend that you do so to ensure you can evacuate people safely and swiftly.

If you have evacuation equipment in place, it is important that your employees are confident when it comes to operating it. Our team can deliver training on the safe use of evacuation and firefighting equipment within your premises, whilst also giving guidance on reacting to a fire and carrying out safety drills. Having access to an adequate amount of equipment is essential for any care operator, so we highly recommend that you review your needs and address this area regularly.

Is your building in a safe condition?

Being proactive plays a major role in minimising the risk of a fire starting and spreading throughout a building. Many care operators are aware of their responsibilities for fire safety, but the importance of completing in-house checks can sometimes be overlooked or ignored. To ensure that this is done correctly, the individual completing the checks must be competent. If this is not the case, any check is likely to be deemed non-compliant, regardless of how often they are done.

When completing checks, there are some specific areas which you must always focus on. One of these is your smoke and heat detectors, both in terms of their working condition and their potential absence in places where they may be required. Failed fire risk assessments are often attributed to missing detectors, so it is important to keep this in mind when checking your building. Alongside this, you should also be wary of any excessive gaps around your fire doors and the possibility of breaches in compartmentation. These issues would lead to an immediate assessment failure and pose a significant danger to anyone within your building.

As part of our competent person service, we help companies to identify key risks within their organisation, like those outlined above. We then provide guidance on how to control these risks, preventing harm to those within their premises and ensuring that fire risk assessments can be completed accurately. If you have any questions about fire safety, or would like to enquire about our services, call us today on 0345 076 2288 or send us an email to see how we can help.