Fire Legislation

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005, stipulates that the employer(s) and responsible person(s) carries out his/her duties in relation to the above stated regulations with regards to Fire Safety.

The aim of the Fire Safety Order, that has been introduced under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is to simplify, rationalize and consolidate existing legislation. The Fire Safety Order amends or replaces over 100 different pieces of legislations. With the most significant to be replaced being the Fire Precautions Act 1071 and the Fire Precautions (workplace amendment) Regulations 1999.

The Fire Safety Order is risk assessment based, which requires employers to carry out a fire risk assessment which considers the following points:

  • Protection of property from fire
  • Safety of employers and visitors to a site from fire
  • The environmental impact of fire
  • The safety of the fire and rescue service should they have to enter the premises in the event of a fire

"Fire certificates cease to have a legal status"

Each company/business will be responsible for their own fire safety. The employer(s) must conduct a fire risk assessment regardless of the size of the risk. The identified person(s) would therefore take full corporate liability. If the company employs five or more employees, the risk assessment must be documented and its full findings implemented. A person for the implementation of fire safety is known as “the responsible person”.

As previously mentioned an extended scope of consideration now includes property safety, fire and rescue service safety and the environment around the site, as well as protecting life. This means that allowing your premises to be sacrificed or allowed to just burn, is unacceptable due to the risk to the fire and rescue service personnel and any neighbouring premises. The responsible person has a duty of care to protect the fire and rescue service personnel.

The Fire Safety Order places on the business continuity, containing and preventing the spread of fire, (the effectiveness and provision of portable fire extinguishers is clearly recognized as a major provision in achieving this goal).

Included in the fire risk assessment is the protection of life, it explicitly extends to all occupants (not just employees) but visitors, contractors, members of the public including those who may be passing by the premises.

The fire and rescue service are to have greater authority to gain entry into a premises.

Who is responsible?

  • Employers with control of a work place
  • Person with overall management of a building
  • Occupier of a premises
  • Owner of a premises, including an empty premises
  • Landlords having some control, although primary responsibility rests with the employer

Under the fire safety order the responsible person can and will be held accountable. It is extremely important to nominate a person(s) with the appropriate skills and experience. It must also be noted that both or either parties may be held responsible at the time of inspection or post incident.

The Fire Safety Order states that the fire and rescue service can advise on but can not carry out the fire risk assessment.

Further information with regards to the fire regulations can be found at:

www.communities.gov.uk

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