Identifying Fire Hazards

As the owner or manager of a business, you have a duty to keep your staff and premises safe from any potential fire hazards. Ultimately, investing in a fire risk assessment will give you the peace of mind that all hazards are identified, evaluated and recorded in a report in accordance with the law.

To give you some idea of the types of hazards that need to be assessed, we’ve put together a checklist to get you started on thinking about the risks. It’s not rocket science, but it will help you identify some of the more common causes of fire.

  • Portable Heaters
  • Gas fittings
  • Deep fat fryers and cooking equipment
  • Candles, matches, ashtrays, smoking materials, smoking near combustible materials
  • Flames or sparks from cutting, grinding, welding etc
  • Unsafe electrical fittings, misuse of electrical equipment and damaged or faulty wiring
  • Combustible materials such as paper, wood, solvents, thinners, flammable paints or foam
  • Storage – for example, storing combustibles near exits which may impede escape
  • Arson

As well as assessing the types of risks that can cause fire, it’s also important to have adequate emergency fire protection and plans in place, such as fire alarms and fire fighting equipment, emergency escape access, and fire training for employees. Exit routes and fire safety can be particularly difficult in older buildings that have not been built in accordance with modern building regulations, and in these cases, a fire risk assessment will need to take into account the complexities of managing fire hazards and exits.