If you own, manage or operate a business, you will need to comply with fire safety law. The main law is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or “the Fire Safety Order” which applies across England and Wales and came into force on 1 October 2006.
The Order applies to virtually all buildings, places and structures other than individual private dwellings e.g. individual flats in a block or family homes, and it is your responsibility to make sure your workplace reaches the required standard and employees are provided with adequate fire safety training.
Adequate fire safety training would generally include:
- Induction training (general fire awareness)
- Periodic refresher training (or where the level of fire risk increases as a result of changes)
- Training to support people in fulfilling their fire safety duties (e.g. responsible person)
- Training towards competence (fire risk assessment, fire warden, fire extinguisher)
Other places covered by the Order include common parts of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and common parts of blocks of flats and maisonettes.
The Fire Safety Order places the emphasis on risk reduction and fire prevention. Under the Order, people responsible for commercial buildings i.e. the employer, owner, or any other person who has control of any part of the premises, are required to carry out a mandatory detailed fire risk assessment identifying the risks and hazards in the premises. The risk assessment must be recorded if you have a total of five or more employees. The responsible person for the premises is also required to:
- Consider who may be especially at risk.
- Eliminate or reduce the risk from fire as far as is reasonably practical and provide general fire precautions to deal with any risk.
- Take additional measures to ensure fire safety where flammable or explosive materials are used or stored.
- Create a plan to deal with any emergency and where necessary record any findings.
- Maintain general fire precautions, and facilities provided for use by fire-fighters.
- Keep any findings of the risk assessment under review.
It’s important to know that fire certificates are no longer issued and existing certificates are no longer valid. A fairly recent fire certificate however may be a good starting point for your fire risk assessment.
Need further advice about the Fire Safety Order?
- The Government (Communities and Local Government) has produced a series of https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities
- You can email us at FireEngineeringHelpdesk@clevelandfire.gov.uk with any general enquiries
- You can also contact us by telephone on 01429 872311 and ask for the fire engineering help desk.