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Conducting a fire risk assessment

If you're a landlord or have control of commercial property or the shared areas in a residential property, you must carry out a fire risk assessment.
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This is an assessment of the fire safety in the property identifying what fire precautions are required at the property and how fire can be prevented to keep people safe.

The assessment records fire hazards, identifies those at risk and lists ways to reduce the risk of fire. You can refer to the Fire safety risk assessment checklist for more guidance.

If your business has 5 or more people, you will need to keep a written copy of your fire risk assessment.

You must take general fire precautions to make sure people are safe in the property. You must consider emergency exits, fire-fighting equipment, warning systems, fire safety drills and the removal of any flammable substances.

The assessment must include actions to be taken which will reduce the risk of fire at the property. To be effective a fire risk assessment must be kept updated and regularly reviewed. 

A review may be needed if there is a change of use of the property, alterations are carried out to the property or there is an increase in employees at the property.  

You are responsible for fire safety in a business property (or other non-domestic property) if you’re:

  • an employer

  • the owner

  • an occupier

  • the landlord

  • anyone else who has control of the premises (eg a building manager, managing agent or risk assessor)

The person responsible for carrying out the fire risk assessment is known as the ‘responsible person’. Where there is more than one responsible person, you all need to work together to meet your responsibilities.

For more information, read Fire safety in the workplace.

Your local fire and rescue service will visit to check the fire risk assessment and that it is suitable for the property.

If they decide it is not suitable, they can take action and issue a formal notice suggesting changes to the property to make it safer.

If no fire assessment is carried out then you can be prosecuted for not following fire safety regulations.

The Health and Safety Executive is a great source of practical information and guidance for employers. The Healthy Working Lives is a great source to create your fire risk assessment in Scotland.

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