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Fire Risk Assessment

There are new requirements that all building owners, landlords and occupiers should be aware of with regard to their existing or new fire protection systems. The requirement of a “FIRE RISK ASSESMENT” has been the law since October 2006 for commercial properties including Landlords and Tenants, without an assessment you are not be legally compliant and your business is unlikely to be insured for fire. A large number of people have decided to carry out their own assessments or employ a company who offer a basic service, this is totally acceptable however the question you have to ask your self for these scenarios is “DO I OR THEY HAVE THE EXPERTEESE” to warrant this reasonability or do you understand the “Fire Regulatory Reform Order”. If you do not want the burden or feel you cannot be certain then you may want to leave it to the professionals.

REMEMBER FIRE IS A KILLER – ARE YOU

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order

There are Current statutory requirements for employers or persons who have control of premises to make specific Fire Precaution Provisions in respect of workplaces and other premises depending on the use. The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1971 required adequate Fire Precautions being taken by the ‘responsible person’, and this original Act has now been amended by similar named legislation in 1997, now included in the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 However, new legislation has been recently enacted called the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), which becomes law in late 2006. To summarise:
  • All existing Fire Legislation will be repealed or revoked, including the Fire Precautions Act 1971, and its amendments.
  • Fire Certificates will be abolished
  • Responsible Persons will be responsible for fire safety, They must conduct a Fire Risk Assessment regardless of the size of risk.
  • The identified person will take full corporate responsibility
  • Extended scope of consideration now to include property safety, fire fighter safety and the environment around the site. The responsible person has a duty to protect all risks
  • Unlike the amended 1997 Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations, the RRFSO PLACES EMPHASIS ON THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY and containing and preventing the spread of small fires
  • Protection is explicitly extended to all occupants, which would include employees, visitors, contractors and passers-by who would all have to be considered in the Fire Risk Assessment.
  • Person or Persons that have Knowingly or unknowingly failed to provide the minimum legal protection for their staff, visitors or general public can be prosecuted under the new laws, further more if in the event of a fatality caused by fire and the regulations have not been upheld then the responsible person may be prosecuted under the corporate manslaughter law.

What are the implications for business:

When this new legislation comes into force, building Fire Safety will be solely risk assessment led, therefore all businesses regardless of size will have to conduct a comprehensive fire risk assessment to identify;
  • Elimination or reduction of risks (ignition sources)
  • Suitable means of detecting & raising the alarm in the event of a fire
  • Adequate emergency escape routes & exits
  • The appropriate type and sufficient quantities of fire extinguishers
  • Correct type and sufficient quantities of fire signs & notices
  • Provisions for the correct maintenance of installed fire equipment
  • Suitable provisions for protection of LAFS
  • Ensure that occupants receive the appropriate instruction/training in e.g. actions to be taken in the event of fire and fire evacuation drills
Your Fire strategy therefore should be take all these responsibilities into consideration, the starting point of which is your ‘Risk Assessment’ which will be a legal requirement for all businesses.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Given the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005, fire safety management has seen a dramatic shift. For all end users, such as building owners, installers, maintenance companies, etc. the new fire safety legislation places a heavy burden of responsibility on employers, when it comes to fire safety.

To put it quite simply, fire is an ongoing safety risk for businesses. It is understandable that a fire may not always result in a loss of life or health, although a major outbreak can seriously and significantly hamper daily business operations, adding to a business’s struggle to survive and remain competitive.

The Fire Safety Order 2005 has been put in place to provide a bare minimum safety standard within all commercial premises. If it is an office or workplace, for instance, it designates the main employer(s) as the Responsible person (RP). If any other individual within the workplace shares any kind of control, they may also have responsibilities under the Order.

If an individual is acting on the behalf of the RP, then he/she must perform specific fire safety duties, including the implementation of general fire precautions practices, ensuring that they are all satisfactory and up to standard, and also conducting a formal Fire Risk Assessment.

The 2005 Order for Fire Safety explicitly requires employers to take action in order to prevent fire outbreaks and protect their employees and all other relevant individuals from death and injury, in the event of a fire.

Everything You Need to Know about The Fire Safety Order 2005 – FAQs

How do I know if it applies to me?

The Order 2005 applies to nearly all non-domestic buildings, structures and places. However, it does apply to specific domestic premises such as HMOs, maisonettes and blocks of flats.

What are my responsibilities as a “Responsible Person”?

To ensure that your premises meet the required standards for fire safety; and, employees are provided sufficient fire safety training.

What qualifies as ‘sufficient fire training’?

Even though this may vary from business to business, it generally covers:

  • Induction training which covers basic fire awareness
  • Refresher training at regular intervals or additional training, should fire risk level increase due to operational changes or demands
  • Training to support “responsible person(s)” in satisfying all their respective fire safety duties
  • Training to build relevant skills like fire warden, fire risk assessment or how to use fire extinguishers.

How do I conduct a Fire Risk Assessment?

If you are legally responsible as a commercial premises owner or otherwise responsible in any way for running it, you must ensure that a Fire Risk Assessment is conducted by a competent individual. This is mandatory and involves identifying fire risks and/or hazards within the premises.

In addition, the designated RP must:

  • Take into consideration who within the premises is at risk (this could be some or all employees, for example)
  • Eliminate or cut down the risk of fire as much as practically possible
  • Provide employees with basic fire precautions so that they are prepared to deal with everyday fire risks
  • Take additional safety precautions to improve and uphold fire safety where flammable materials are stored
  • Keep any and all Risk Assessment results under review

In order to know more about the Building Regulations compliance standards you need to meet as a building owner, and how we can help you comply 100% with the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety 2005 Order, get in touch with us today.