Hendeca’s vision includes providing the information and support that its client’s need to work in safe environments. To that end, we have provided free advice on these pages to help keep all types of institutions, businesses and industry safe at all times and reducing the risk of Fire.
If you own, manage or operate a business, charity or other organisation you must comply with fire safety legislation called the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 (FSO).
In the cases above, exemption from the FSO is because there is superior legislation or regulation that applies, or application would be impractical.
The person who has the overall duty for complying with the FSO is known as the Responsible Person (RP). In the workplace this would mean the employer. If not a workplace, the RP could be the owner of the premises, for example the landlord, or the person who has control of the premises such as a management company.
It's important to note that every person who has, to any extent, control of the premises and any person who has a contract or obligation of any extent in relation to the maintenance, repair or safety of a premises is also treated as the RP so far as matters within their control, or to the extent that their contract or obligation extends.
An example of this is to think of a shop that is part of a retail chain. The business (employer) is the overall RP, however the branch manager has control of the shop so is also treated as the RP.
Similarly, the contractors that service the shops fire alarm have an obligation in relation to the safety of the shop, and therefore could also be considered the RP.
What are the responsibilities for Fire Safety?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places a legal requirement upon employers and persons with responsibility for premises (responsible persons). These responsibilities and safety measures are designed to protect life from fire regardless of fire and rescue service intervention. It is therefore essential to ensure that all existing fire safety provisions are in place and effective. It is recommended that directors, senior managers and other persons with fire safety responsibilities satisfy themselves that the following aspects have been considered in local arrangements:
In the event of fire call 999 at the earliest opportunity. A response will not follow a call received via Automatic Fire Alarms (see below) without further confirmation of a fire.
Check that effective arrangements are in place for a responsible person to meet fire crews on arrival and provide them with appropriate information - for example, the location of the nearest fire hydrant or other water supply.
To reduce unnecessary burdens on the fire and rescue service, special care must be taken to minimise the possibility of unwanted automatic fire signals. A response from your local fire and rescues service is unlikely to be made to calls received from automatic fire alarms without further confirmation of a fire. It is therefore essential that where automatic fire alarm systems are provided within your premises, that all appropriate employees / persons are aware of the need to call 999 in case of a confirmed fire and not to assume that the fire and rescue service will automatically attend.
Where any of your premises are used as dwellings and there are no appropriate employees / persons to check for signs of fire, tenants / occupiers should be made aware or the need to call 999 in case of a confirmed fire and not to assume that the fire and rescue service will automatically attend.
Where you have premises that are provided with automatic fire alarm systems and the fire instructions do not require a backup 999 telephone call, this change is to be brought to the attention of persons within the premises.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's guide to making your premises safe from fire provides simple and practical advice to people responsible for fire safety in small and medium sized businesses. It can be downloaded in English, Welsh, Chinese, Turkish, Urdu and Gujarati.
Responsible persons are urged to make the best use of the time available to check their organisations preparedness and to review their contingency arrangements. Existing risk registers and risk assessments may be useful to identify and prioritise action. The following checklist will support your business continuity planning:
Most premises, other than people's private homes, must have a person responsible for carrying out and regularly reviewing a fire risk assessment of the premises. The assessment will identify what you need to do to prevent fire and keep people safe. There are many variations and examples of Fire Risk Assessment available today. Some need to be purchased while others are free.
To assist in managing fire safety, a set of guides have been produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government which explain what you have to do to comply with fire safety law.
The guides help you to carry out a fire risk assessment at your workplace and identify the general fire precautions you need to have in place.
They are designed so that a responsible person with limited training or experience should be able to carry out a fire risk assessment and make sure that they are meeting the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Below is a list of various business-related fire risk assessment guides for fire safety in a range of workplaces.