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Published on 2 October 2006
Now that fire legislation has changed and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is now in force, the responsible person for a building (all non domestic) will have to conduct a fire risk assessment.
All existing fire legislation has now been repealed or revoked, which includes the Fire Precautions Act 1971, the amended 1997 Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations plus 100 other pieces of fire related legislation. Fire certificates are no longer valid.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is a fire risk assessment based approach where the responsible person(s) for the premises or area where they have control must decide how to address the risks identified, while meeting certain requirements.
By adopting a fire risk assessment, the responsible person(s) will need to look at how to prevent fire from occurring in the first place, by removing or reducing hazards and risks (ignition sources) and then at the precautions to ensure that people are adequately protected if a fire were still to occur. Therefore the main emphases of the changes are to move towards fire prevention.
The fire risk assessment must also take into consideration the effect a fire may have on anyone in or around your premises plus neighbouring property. The building fire risk assessment will also need to be kept under regular review (it is a living document).
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 will apply to all non-domestic properties, including voluntary organisations and will be subject to monitoring and, where appropriate, enforcement by the Local Authority Fire Service (LAFS).Summary of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
Failing that or in addition;
What is the difference between a fire risk assessment and a health & safety risk assessment?Answer!
Because the aim of both is to:
So with any fire risk assessment you will always:
It is important, if you carry out your fire risk assessment yourself, that you do it in a practical and systematic way. It must take the whole area of your responsibility into account, including outdoor locations and any rooms and areas that are rarely used.
If your responsible area in a building is shared with others, you and all the other occupiers and any other person(s) who have control of any other part of the premises will need to discuss yours and theirs fire risk assessment.
In a shared building it is imperative and a requirement that all responsible persons;
Communicate, Co-operate and Co-ordinate their findings with their fire risk assessments.
When you conduct your fire risk assessment you must:
Please note, that if your organisation employs five or more people or the premise are licensed or an alterations notice is in force, you must record any significant findings and the actions you have taken.
In addition to the above, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order stipulates that:
¹You must appoint one or more competent persons, depending on the size and use of your premises, to carry out any of the preventive and protective measures required (you can nominate yourself for this purpose). A competent person is someone with enough training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to be able to implement these measures properly.
You must provide your employees with clear and relevant information on the risks to them identified by the fire risk assessment, about the measure you have taken to prevent fires, and how these measures will protect them if a fire breaks out.
You must consult your employees (or their elected representatives) about nominating people to carry out particular roles in connection with fire safety and about proposals for improving the fire precautions.
You must, before you employ a child, provide a parent with clear and relevant information on the risks to that child identified by the risk assessment, the measures you have put in place to prevent/protect them from fire and inform any other responsible person of any risks to that child arising from their undertaking.
You must inform non-employees, such as temporary or contract workers, of the relevant risks to them, and provide them with information about who the nominated competent persons are, and about the fire safety procedures for the premises.
You must co-operate and co-ordinate with other responsible persons who also have premises in the building, inform them of any significant risks you find and how you will seek to reduce/control those risks which might affect the safety of their employees.
You must provide the employer of any person from an outside organisation who is working in your premises (e.g. an agency providing temporary staff) with clear and relevant information on the risks to those employees and the preventive and protective measures taken. You must also provide those employees with appropriate instructions and relevant information about the risks to them.
If you are not the employer but have any control of premises which contain more than one workplace, you are also responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the Order are complied with in those parts over which you have control.
You must consider the presence of any dangerous substances and the risk this presents to relevant persons from fire.
You must establish a suitable means of contacting the emergency services and provide them with any relevant information about dangerous substances.
You must provide appropriate information, instruction and training to your employees, during their normal working hours, about the fire precautions in your workplace, when they start working for you, and from time to time throughout the period they work for you.
You must ensure that the premises and any equipment provided in connection with firefighting, fire detection and warning, or emergency routes and exits are covered by a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained by a competent person in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
Your employees must co-operate with you to ensure the workplace is safe from fire and its effects, and must not do anything that will place themselves or other people at risk.”
Note. If you were already complying with the revoked amended 1997 Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulation and the 1971 Fire Precautions Act (fire certificate if issued), you will only have to make adjustments to your existing fire risks assessments. If, however, you have not conducted a fire risk assessment of your area of responsibility you must do so now.
The Government have produced 11 guides to assist the responsible person(s) with their responsibilities, to view these guides visit www.communities.gov.uk. These guides have been written to assist you to carry out a fire risk assessment within your area of responsibility. If you read the guides and decide that you are unable to apply the guidance, then you should seek expert advice from a competent person. More complex premises will probably need to be assessed by a person who has comprehensive training or experience in fire risk assessment.
If required, Fire Safety Service can assist you in the implementation and management of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. For further details contact us at www.firesafetyadvisor.co.uk/ or telephone 01865 890085.
¹ Extract from Government guidance document’s to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005