Fire Safety Regulation Guide – Are You Compliant?
Fire Safety Regulation – Are you compliant?
Only a small proportion of businesses survive a major fire.
A fire risk assessment is not an option it is a legal requirement.
As an employer, owner, occupier or managing agent (the responsible person) you can be held personally responsible for the general fire precautions within your premises.
In the event of a fire, responsible persons must prove that all reasonable precautions have been taken to safeguard ALL relevant persons including employees, public, visitors and contractors.
Fire Safety Regulation – Introduction
Fire Risk Assessment should be the foundation for all fire precautions at your premises. The cost of a fire is usually high and following a serious fire, many companies do not re-open. According to Government figures, the average cost of a fire in a commercial building is estimated at £44,400. In 2004 there were over 33,400 fires in business buildings.
The cost is not limited to bricks and mortar or equipment, the personal cost is equally high. As a result of these fires, 38 people were killed and over 1,300 injured.
MCFP are specialists in conducting fire risk assessments and are third-party accredited as a BAFE SP205 certified, fire risk assessment company. Our assessors have many years of experience, are backed by nationally recognized qualifications and for your peace of mind carry £10 million of liability insurance to protect you.
Your MCFP fire risk assessment identifies the risks and makes recommendations to remove or reduce these risks and provides you with the peace of mind that your property, facilities and employees are protected and your business is compliant. Additionally, the fire risk assessment ensures that you receive full protection against statutory closure and prosecution through failure to comply with the current legislation.
Fire Safety Regulation – Legislation
Prior to the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, that took effect in October 2006, it was easy to get confused in the myriad of legislation surrounding fire prevention, protection and liability. Following its introduction, authorities have demonstrated their intent that the Order is to be rigorously enforced with the overall aim of reducing avoidable fires, and consequently death, injury, loss of property and business.
The main objectives of the Order are to create a climate of fire prevention that is based on Risk Assessment, so ensuring that fire safety facilities and equipment are well maintained and that premises have an emergency plan should the worst occur.
These objectives and the Order itself are supported in law, making it a legal requirement for all non-domestic premises have a complete and current fire risk assessment.
Responsibility for complying with the Order rests with the “responsible person”. In a workplace, this is the employer or any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, e.g. the occupier or owner. In all other premises, the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more than one responsible person in any type of premises (e.g. a multi-occupied complex), all must take reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other.
If you are the responsible person you must carry out a fire risk assessment which must focus on the safety in case of fire for all relevant persons.
Fire Safety Regulation – Who Should Complete The Fire Risk Assessment?
The Order states that to be compliant, a company is obliged to appoint a ‘competent’ person to carry out the fire risk assessment.
The definition of a competent person is contained in the glossary of terms within the Order and is as follows, “a person with enough training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking the preventative and protective measures”.
In the event of a fire, the content and quality of the fire risk assessment, along with the preventative equipment and evacuation plan, will come under scrutiny from the Fire Officer, HSE, the Courts and your insurance company. That is why the fire risk assessment from MCFP provides you with a framework to ensure that your business is fully compliant with the legislation and that you, your employees, and your business are protected in the event of a fire.
From this, it is possible to see that almost anyone can carry out a fire risk assessment. It is true that many people have started producing a fire risk assessment for commercial purposes, sometimes without the necessary experience, qualifications or insurance. Whilst some have been good, some have proven not fit for purpose and left lives and companies at risk and out of pocket.
UK Fire organisations recognized this and formed the Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council (FRACC) in 2014; issuing guidance on choosing competent assessors and producing registers.
The third party register of certificated fire risk assessment companies and assessors is held as a BAFE SP205 register. This list of certified fire risk assessors can be found on the following websites; BAFE, FIA, FPA, IFE and several others.
BAFE SP205 third-party accredited registered companies, provide benchmark recognition of their capability in providing high-quality fire risk assessments for their clients, who receive certificated fire risk assessments on completion. This provides the client with peace of mind that they’ve taken the necessary, reasonable steps to comply with their legal obligations and requirements under fire safety legislation.
Fire Safety Regulation – The Fire Risk Assessment
The MCFP fire risk assessment will ensure you meet the legal requirements as detailed below:-
LEGAL REQUIREMENT – What the law requires you to do:
- Carry out a fire risk assessment of your work-place (considering all employees, public, disabled people and people with special needs).
- Identify the significant findings and people at risk (these must be recorded if you employ more than five people).
- Provide and maintain fire precautions.
- Provide information, instruction and training to employees.
- Nominate people to undertake special roles under your emergency plan.
- Consult employees about the nomination of people and proposals to improve fire precautions.
- Inform other employees who have workplaces in the building about any significant risks, which may affect their safety and co-operate with them to reduce/control these risks.
- If you are not an employer but have control of premises, which contain more than one workplace, you are responsible for complying with the Fire Regulations.
- You must establish a suitable means of contacting emergency services.
- Your employees must co-operate with you to ensure the workplace is safe from fire and its effects.
What should A Fire Risk Assessment Cover?
- Identification of hazards
- Sources of ignition
- Identify persons at risk
- Means of escape in building
- Fire warning system (alarm)
- Identification of fire routine
- Identify any of the problems with the above and instigate a programme to put right.
The MCFP fire risk assessment assesses and makes recommendations on the processes and protocols in the event of fire including the fire warning systems, evacuation procedure and evacuation routes. It also highlights employee training requirements and outlines a schedule of preventative measures to be followed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
It is a requirement that a fire risk assessment is current, so a review is essential to ensure that your business continues to comply with the law. MCFP will provide you with this review service to meet this ongoing requirement.
Fire Safety Regulation – Enforcement
It is the duty of every Fire Authority to enforce the regulations within their area.
The local Fire and Rescue Service will enforce the Order. Some exceptions exist for Crown and MOD property as well as certain construction sites and sports grounds where HSE, Crown or local authorities will enforce.
The enforcing authorities will have the power to inspect your premises to check that you are complying with your duties under the Order. They will look for evidence that you have carried out a suitable fire risk assessment and acted upon the significant findings of that assessment. If you are required to record the outcome of the assessment, they will expect to see a copy.
If the enforcing authority is dissatisfied with the outcome of your fire risk assessment or the action you may have taken, they may issue an enforcement notice that requires you make certain improvements or, in extreme cases, a prohibition notice that restricts the use of all or part of your premises until improvements are made.
Failure to comply with any duty imposed by the Order or any notice issued by the enforcing authority is an offence.