Fire risk assessments in hospitals – what you need to know

Fire risk assessments in hospitals – what you need to know

Fire risk assessments in hospitals image

A fire in any building can be devastating, but even more so in a hospital environment.

Vulnerable patients, flammable materials, and visitors unfamiliar with the building layout can mean a fire can cause significant injuries as well as loss of life.

This means it’s critical to develop a thorough fire risk assessment to identify any problems before they become major issues.

We’ve put together a list of questions people ask us about fire risk assessments in hospital environments, including who is responsible for completing a fire risk assessment in the NHS.

What is a fire risk assessment?

A hospital fire risk assessment identifies any potential fire risks in a building and the actions that must be taken to make the building safer.

For example, take the lifts in a hospital, which are used to transport heavy equipment, as well as patients and visitors who cannot use the stairs. Most lifts shouldn’t be used in the event of a fire unless they’re specifically designed for evacuation purposes. This means it’s critical to know how to get vulnerable people out of the building.

There are typically five steps to conducting a fire risk assessment in a hospital:

  1. Identify any potential hazards
  2. Identify people at risk, especially those who are most vulnerable
  3. Remove and reduce the risk of the hazards identified
  4. Record the results of the assessment and introduce relevant staff training
  5. Review and reassess the assessment

Is a fire risk assessment in a hospital a legal requirement?

Yes. Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, fire risk assessments are a legal requirement in all commercial buildings.

A fire risk assessment must be written down if there are over five employees in a building. Given that many people work in a hospital, it’s a certainty that this will apply to a hospital environment.

Who is responsible for completing a fire risk assessment in a hospital?

The ultimate responsibility for health and safety in a hospital falls with the hospital’s NHS Trust Board. However, they will delegate the completion of a fire risk assessment to someone else.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that the person carrying out a hospital fire risk assessment must be ‘competent’. This means they know enough about fire safety to ensure the assessment is conducted correctly.

The fire risk assessment can be done by someone directly employed at the hospital (for example, the QHSE team) or an external fire risk assessor.

Find out more about duty holders and responsible persons.

How often should I review my hospital fire risk assessment?

A fire risk assessment needs to be reviewed regularly to take any changes to the environment, alterations to the building layout, and occupancy levels into account.

There aren’t any legal guidelines regarding how often a fire risk assessment should be reassessed. However, we recommend reviewing at least once a year, or if there is a significant change to your hospital layout, for example, if you extend the building or move a department onto another floor.

Hawkesworth: your fire risk assessment specialist

If you’d like to know about conducting fire risk assessments in hospitals, you can find a detailed guide on the gov.uk website.

Not sure where to start with a fire risk assessment? It could be worth bringing in the experts.

With over 30 years of health and safety experience, our network of skilled, professional, and knowledgeable fire risk assessors will keep your hospital, doctor’s surgery, or healthcare building safe.

We’re the UKs Number 1  trusted voice of experience in the industry, who are regularly consulted to give our expert opinions with industry governing bodies.

Through our national network of fully certified engineers, Hawkesworth provide a range of technical compliance and testing services to ensure you’re not at risk – we’ve got you covered!

From your Electrical Installation and Portable Appliances with EICRPAT and Thermographic surveys to Fire Safety with Fire Risk Assessments, Fire Alarm Testing and Emergency Lighting.

Get in touch and see how we can help you