Fire Risk Assessment

Fire Risk Assessment

The possible risk factors of building need to be identified prior to any hazard. In case one is not aware about the details of a specific building, he/she should consult with the owner or landlord or housekeeping staff of that building to verify whether that structure conforms to industry specified guidelines or not. To execute this procedure, clear communication and collaboration are needed. Factors like precautionary measurement against outbreak of fire and planning to evacuate during emergency are significant while assessing fire risk of any building.

Knowledge and experience required

It is the responsibility of every building owner to evaluate whether the building has adequate fire prevention facility or not. Factors like type of building (whether it is residential or commercial) needs to be considered while analyzing risk assessment of any building. In case the landlord is not aware about minute details of his building, he can seek professional assistance to do so.

Concept of Fire Hazard

Clarifying the importance of fire hazards is importance while conducting fire risk assessment procedure. Any fire hazard has two main aspects that are correlated with each other. The first one is the probability of fire outbreak and the second is the repercussion of blaze. As for instance, metal fabrication unit which is furnished with welding and cutting equipments is known for having fire prone work environment. If the maintenance department of that unit is well organized and the workplace is free from flammable substances, then the risk of fire hazard is less in that area. Any cellulose paint spray unit is easily susceptible to fire hazards for its application of machines and combustible products. Probability of rapid spreading of fire has made paint booth risky area. For effective management of this risk, it is necessary to adopt several practical steps that include well organized housekeeping department, advanced electrical safety equipments, machines installed away from the source of fire, arrangement of pipes and compressed gases. During analysis and evaluation of fire hazards, one should opt for ALARP principle which is As Low As Reasonably Possible. Necessary detail regarding this principle can be accessed on HSE website. One can take help of easy to comprehend strategy to judge the intensity of fire risk of a specific location.

Objective of a Risk Assessment

ALARP principle includes fire safety measurements that come in handy during risk evaluation procedure. This principle is goal oriented and is easy to modify. In order to ensure safety of staff of any organization, it is necessary for RP to:

  • Pinpoint fire hazard prone areas of a specific building and adopt possible evacuation technique to safeguard employees without causing any damage to machines and personnel.
  • To decide and choose appropriate fire safety technique to protect the lives of people residing or working in that building by
  1. Minimizing the possibility of fire outbreak
  2. Taking necessary steps to make aware all the denizens of that building regarding fire hazard so that they can safely vacate the place during emergency situation
  3. By controlling the consequences of fire outbreak

Construction and maintenance of a building as per standard norms minimizes the risk of fire hazards to a great extent. It also reduces fire safety charge of any building. In case, development norms of any building do not conform to standard guidelines, then it is necessary to take adequate measures considering the factors like magnitude of hazards, size and number of residence or working people of a particular building. Professional training or skill is not always necessary for any person while offering fire protection assistance to RP (responsible person). But, one can adopt well organized risk assessment strategy discussed in the mentioned instance. The RP can follow these easy to comprehend guidelines of this article.

The possible actions required when conducting a Fire Risk Assessment.

Below mentioned points give a clear insight about assessment associated with fire hazards. Factor like fire protection needs to be the most important aspects of any fire protection arrangement of any building. It is required to go through the guidelines of the mentioned fire safety documents prior to applying its methodologies. One needs to draw a simple design of a specific building. The drawing should clearly mention about particular location of work space, storage unit, production area and plant of that building. Replica of that drawing will come in handy when fire fighting professionals will arrive on site. The sketch will be useful to comprehend and assess the hazard and the risk associated with it. This planning enables one to evaluate the source or whereabouts of flammable substances so that necessary measures can be taken. One can mention source of flame or heat and burnable products in drawing by using blue crosses and red circles respectively.

Identifying fire hazards and possible sources of ignition

One can easily recognize possible fire hazards by using the principle of fire tetrahedron and familiar reasons of flame. Usually, source like flame or heat and presence of oxygen and fuel are necessary to spread fire. Keeping source of ignition and fuel away from each other helps to reduce the risk of fire hazards easily. To execute this plan, one needs to spot causes of flame, presence of oxygen and location of fuel in a specific area. Almost all workspaces have several sources of flame of heat in the form of heating equipment and cooking appliances. There are also other sources of heat like electrical apparatus and chemicals. Common sources of flame include:

  • Damaged electrical fitting accessories and inappropriately used electrical systems as for instance, fluorescent tubes, broken or deformed electrical extension, flawed adepter and lights can also be considered as flammable objects.
  • Candles, lighters, matches and any other materials that generate smoke and fume
  • Sparks or blaze produced during industrial procedures like grinding, cutting, utilization of hot air gun and welding
  • Heat generated due to resistance procedure
  • Electrical flow between two charged objects
  • Open hearths, kilns, ovens, incinerators and furnaces
  • Engines, boilers and other oil fueled systems
  • Movable heaters
  • Cooking appliances like deep flat fryers
  • All other materials that produce flame

Potential sources of fuel and unsafe situations:-

  • Any combustibles These can be categorized into two classes that include flammable sources like wood, paper and cardboard; highly burnable substances like polyurethane foam, solvents and thinners.
  • Any unsafe procedures or acts Smoking near to source of fire
  • Any unsafe conditions Situations that promote spreading of fire in any work arena. As for instance, structure with polystyrene tiles or cardboard made wall partition or open stair that aids in rapid spreading of fire that gradually engulfs the whole building and its occupants.
  • Poor building maintenance servicing is also one of the reasons of fire spreading. This factor is held responsible for various small fire outbreaks. If proper steps are taken to organize housekeeping section of a building, incident like fire mishap can be avoided easily.

Points mentioned above have been provided to offer necessary guidance to readers during emergency situation.

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