The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was introduced to ratify previous fire safety references in numerous pieces of legislation into one single, simple order and to reduce the number of enforcing authorities that businesses have to deal with. The order has shifted the emphasis from purely fire prevention to one of risk assessment and fire prevention.
The fire safety order 2005 requires any person who exercises some level of control over premises to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and ensure occupants can escape if a fire does occur.
The order places a duty on a ‘responsible person’. This is usually the owner, employer or occupier of business or industrial premises. There can be more than one responsible person for any particular building.
The order applies to virtually every type of building, structure and open space but excludes purely domestic premises occupied by a single family unit. As examples, the following would be covered:
The responsible person must carry out a fire risk assessment on the building and implement any appropriate fire safety measures to minimise risk to life. They must then ensure that the assessment is kept up to date.
The responsible person must assess the premises in the following manner:
If there are 5 or more employees the above must be formally recorded. It is recommended to formally record these matters in any event. You will require proof that you are complying with the order if a local authority inspector visits the premises and this is best done with a written record of your activities, e.g. a fire log book with details of fire drills, staff fire training, dates of fire equipment checks, updates of the fire risk assessment etc.
Yes. Ensuring fire safety in most cases is largely a matter of common sense. In fact the person best placed to maintain fire safety is normally the person with responsibility for the premises. They are usually the person with the best knowledge of the premises and the people that could be at risk from fire.
However, the responsible person can appoint a ‘competent person’ to assist them. You may wish to do this if the premises are complicated or there is a high risk to life.
You will need to make sure that you co-ordinate your risk management plan with other ‘responsible’ persons. And if you amend your plan after a review you will need to share this information with the other responsible persons.
No. The order abolished fire certificates.
The emphasis of the order is to ensure that the person responsible for a premises takes an active responsibility for the protection of those using by carrying out regular fire safety reviews and adapting their fire management plan accordingly.
The local fire authority is responsible for enforcement. Inspectors have the power to randomly inspect premises and ask to see evidence that the order has been complied with.
If the regulations have been breached the inspector can issue various notices, depending on the severity of the breach:
If a responsible person does not comply with the provisions of the fire safety order they may be prosecuted. The maximum penalty is an unlimited fine and/or a 2 year prison sentence.
If somebody is injured as a result of the responsible person’s failure to comply they may bring civil claims for compensation for breach of statutory duty.
This is just a very brief summary of the regulations. If you feel you have any issues arising out of the fire safety regulations you should seek further, more detailed advice from one of our business law solicitors, Steven, Simon, Chris or Helen on 01752 668246 or send an email by clicking here.