Fire at Grenfell Tower – need for competent fire risk assessors
- 15th August 2017
- Posted by: Gary
- Category: Uncategorised
The recent tragic events at Grenfell Tower in London have brought fire safety issues into sharp focus not only in the media but also to the attention of the public in general. Inevitably and quite rightly, people are asking questions about fire safety practices in hotels, schools, factories and places offering sleeping accommodation. At Corinium we thought it would be helpful to set out briefly what is expected, some of the issues raised by experts and to highlight the need for risk assessments to be carried out by third party accredited assessors for the provision of a Fire Risk Assessment.
What the guidance says
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) outlines the various elements to consider when conducting a thorough Fire Risk Assessment. Under the Order, anyone who has control of premises or anyone who has a degree of control over certain areas or systems may be a ‘responsible person’. For example, it could be:
• the employer for those parts of premises staff may go to;
• the managing agent or owner for shared parts of premises or shared fire safety equipment such as fire-warning systems or sprinklers;
• the occupier, such as self-employed people or voluntary organisations if they have any control; or
• any other person who has some control over a part of the premises.
It is the ‘Responsible Person’, who is tasked with conducting the survey. If you are the responsible person, you must make sure you carry out a fire risk assessment although you can pass this task to some other competent person. However, you will still be responsible, in law, for meeting the requirements of the Order.
The responsible person, either on their own or with any other responsible person, must as far as is reasonably practical make sure that everyone on the premises, or nearby, can escape safely if there is a fire.
If a ‘Competent Person’ is engaged the Responsible Person must ensure they are adequately skilled and with sufficient knowledge and experience to conduct such assessments.
Failure to execute an appropriate risk assessment could result in the enforcing authorities acting against the Responsible Person, which in severe cases could result in a custodial sentence.
Thorough Fire Risk Assessments
Of particular concern is the issue of fire risk assessments being carried out by inexperienced, untrained and potentially incompetent people. Whilst such practices may appear to offer short-term savings, in our view the risks and consequences of failure are too great to take the risk.
Simply ticking the boxes to say a survey has been carried out isn’t sufficient: properly qualified, experienced assessors should be used to ensure the most comprehensive outcome at all times.
Corinium can provide a high-quality Fire Risk Assessment service carried out by third party accredited Fire risk assessors with many years’ service and knowledge.
Experts raise concerns about poor quality assessments
“We need competent fire risk assessors and they need to be accredited. At the moment, someone can claim to be a fire risk assessor and can claim to be competent, and who knows whether that’s valid?”
– Ronnie King, Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group
“There is currently no requirement to have any qualifications to do a fire risk assessment. The government specifically decided not to include that in the legislation, because they didn’t want to create a ‘consultants’ charter’. But it does mean anyone can set themselves up as a fire risk assessor and start carrying out checks, and that is perfectly legal.”
– Sir Ken Knight, Former Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor for the Government
For your Fire risk assessment need please call Corinium, we have third party accredited fire risk assessors by the ‘Institution of Fire engineers’ they have many years practical and theoretical fire development and building experience.