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PPE Risk Assessment

Risk assessments are required as part of compliance with NFPA 1851 Standard on Selection, Care and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, NFPA 1250 Recommended Practice in Fire and Emergency Service Organization Risk Management, and NFPA 1500 Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program.  A risk assessment is a process for the purpose of:

  • Identifying significant hazards.  Hazard is defined as something that has the potential to cause someone harm or ill health.
  • Deciding if what you have already done reduces the risk of someone being harmed to an acceptable level, and if not;
  • Deciding what further control measures you must take to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

Risk Assessments should be carried out to satisfy the requirements of legislation but above all to ensure the health and safety of employees.


The risk management coordinator (often the Safety Officer) oversees the generation of the risk assessment but should utilize personnel from each group within the fire and emergency service organization for specific input.  This approach is necessary as a single person generally doesn’t have the required knowledge and experience to identify all risks associated within each department function.


Per NFPA 1851, prior to selection of PPE, an organization’s Risk Assessment must address at least:

- The type of duties performed

- Frequency of use of ensemble elements

- Organization’s experiences

- Incident operations

- Geographic location and climate

- Specific physical area of operation

- Likelihood of or response to CBRN terrorism incident


LION has developed a risk assessment tool to assist you in conducting your risk assessment.  This tool is intended to provide the framework for your risk assessment related to selection of any type of PPE used in your organization.  It is designed to help you and your organization identify risks and choose PPE accordingly.


Risk Assessment Includes

  • Identification of the frequency (probability) and severity of the risk
  • Identifying a scale for each risk to calculate its importance
  • Identify what is an acceptable risk level – department specific

Frequency (Probability)

  • Use historical data from department
  • Use industry data
  • Must be scaled to your department (size, experience)

Risk Assessment Overview Sheet

Download the Risk Assessment Form