The Fire Safety Risk Assessment is an instrument to preventively and systematically identify and evaluate hazards in the company, to determine suitable protective measures for the safety and health of the employee and to check their effectiveness in the long term. Traceability, completeness and documentation are important in the preparation of a risk assessment. A risk assessment optimises work processes and prevents disruptions in the operational process. Every employer is required by law to carry out a risk assessment. In principle, the fire safety risk assessment can also be understood as part of quality management, as it shows the possibilities of risk minimisation and optimisation potentials, with the additional aim of preserving the health and integrity of the workers.
Excerpts from the regulations requiring a risk assessment:
§ 3 Occupational Health and Safety Act"Basic obligations of the employer"(1) The employer shall be obliged to take the necessary occupational safety and health measures, taking into account the circumstances affecting the safety and health of workers at work. He shall review the effectiveness of the measures and, if necessary, adapt them to changing circumstances. In doing so, he shall strive to improve the safety and health protection of the employees.
§ 5 Occupational Health and Safety Act"Assessment of working conditions"(1) The employer shall determine which occupational safety and health measures are necessary by assessing the hazards to employees associated with their work.
§ 3 Workplace Ordinance "Risk Assessment"(1) When assessing the working conditions in accordance with§ Section 5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires the employer to first determine whether employees are or may be exposed to hazards when setting up and operating workplaces...
The risk assessment is divided into 6 phases.
At the beginning of a risk assessment for fire protection, it must be determined which work areas and activities are to be assessed. This includes the company organisation on which the risk assessment is to be carried out. It must also be taken into account whether the employees are juveniles, expectant or nursing mothers, employees without sufficient knowledge of German or people with disabilities. A fire safety risk assessment must also take these special features into account.
In principle, all hazards, i.e. everything that could lead to accidents, fires or impairment of health, must be identified.
Now it is determined whether there is a need for action. It is necessary to assess the probability of the hazard occurring and how this probability could be influenced. Laws, ordinances, technical rules and sector-specific regulations of the accident insurance institutions must be taken into account.
Based on the preliminary work done so far, technical, organisational and personal occupational safety measures are determined to eliminate the identified hazards. Ideally, the hazard can be avoided or eliminated, e.g. by replacing a piece of work equipment that is a fire hazard with another one. In principle, technical measures, followed by organisational measures, have priority over personal measures.
After the defined criteria - who does what by when - the implementation of the defined measure follows.
In order to determine whether the implemented measure is successfully countering the hazard, it must be checked for effectiveness and adjusted if necessary.
A risk assessment is not a one-time thing, but an ongoing process. As soon as changes occur due to new planning or reorganisation, the risk assessment must be updated. In addition, the risk assessment must be adapted in the event of findings from accidents or changes in the law.
According to § 6 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the employer must document the risk assessment, in particular the results, the defined measures and the results of the review.
"The employer must have at his disposal the necessary documents, depending on the nature of the activities and the number of workers, showing the result of the risk assessment, the health and safety measures he has adopted and the result of their verification. If the risk situation is the same, it is sufficient if the documents contain summarised information".
This documentation must be shown on request during factory inspections or is required by the public prosecutor's office in the event of an accident.