We have mentioned in blogs before that the Fire Service feels that 90% of SME`s are unlikely to have suitable fire risk assessments; so why is this?
We have recently seen some very poor examples of fire risk assessments when working for clients; one recently had used a Peninsula checklist approach that fell well short of what we would have expected. The problem, as we explained to the client, is that although it ticked the box of an assessment being available; it did not really provide the business with any real level of protection.
Working in the health & safety industry over the years has shown that many businesses who fail to manage major business risk areas properly (such as fire risks) can put their whole business at risk. It’s a known fact that 80% of businesses who are affected by a major catastrophe fail to return the business back into operation.
It appears to us at MESH that many businesses fail to understand the risks and because of this are ignorant to managing the risks effectively. To undertake an effective fire risk assessment requires persons with the necessary competence to do the assessment; the problem is that many who sell the service don`t necessarily have the competence.
Take for example a call we have taken this month from a dental surgery in Manchester who had a fire risk assessment undertaken and were informed they needed a DSEAR assessment by the assessor. After consulting with them it was clear this was totally unnecessary; which to us calls the assessors competence into question.
The problem is that the fire risks assessment industry is very crowded with providers; many of who sell the service as an extension of other services such as fire extinguisher servicing. Some of these may well be excellent at servicing fire extinguishers but the assessments we have seen indicate their strength is not in fire risk assessment.
Our warning to your business is to make sure that you have an assessment that does provide full protection because getting it wrong may well prove very costly in the long term. Remember to check the references of your assessors and avoid the very basic checklist approach as provided by Penninsula.