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Fire safety risk assessment for street traders

A fire risk assessment is an organised and methodical look at your operation, the activities carried on there and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to others.

It aims to:

  • To identify the fire hazards.
  • To reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as reasonably practicable.
  • To decide what physical fire precautions and management arrangements are necessary to ensure the safety of people in your building if a fire does start.

How do I carry out a fire risk assessment?

It is important that you carry out your fire risk assessment in a practical and systematic way and your fire risk assessment should demonstrate that, as far as is reasonable, you have considered the needs of all relevant people, including disabled people.

Step 1 - Identify the hazards

You need to identify:

  • Sources of ignition such as naked flames, heaters or some commercial processes;
  • Sources of fuel such as built-up waste, display materials, textiles or overstocked products; and 
  • Sources of oxygen such as air conditioning or medicinal or commercial oxygen supplies.

Step 2 - Identify people at risk

You will need to identify those people who may be especially at risk such as:

  • People working near to fire dangers.;
  • People working alone;
  • Customers including children or parents with babies; and the elderly or infirm and people who are disabled.

Step 3 - Evaluate, remove, reduce and protect from risk

Evaluate the level of risk for your stall. You should remove or reduce any fire hazards where possible and reduce any risks you have identified. For example, you should:

  • Replace highly flammable materials with less flammable ones;
  • Make sure you separate flammable materials from sources of ignition; and have a safe-smoking policy.

When you have reduced the risk as far as possible, you must assess any risk that is left and decide whether there are any further measures you need to take to make sure you provide a reasonable level of fire safety.

Step 4 - Record, plan, instruct, inform and train

You will also need to make an emergency plan, tailored to your business which sets out the action that you need to take in the event of a fire. You will need to give staff clear instructions and training about the risks in the premises.

Step 5 - Review

You should make sure your fire-risk assessment is kept up to date. You will need to re-examine it if you suspect it is no longer valid, such as after a near miss or you change your business practices.

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