Your duties under Fire Safety Legislation
1. Undertake a Fire Risk Assessment
The fire risk assessment is a tool to assist organisations manage health and safety and it must:
- Identify all fire hazards within a building (loading of combustibles, ignition sources, sources of oxygen etc.);
- Evaluate the existing fire detection and warning systems plus fire fighting equipment;
- Review the existing fire policy and emergency procedures, creating a regime based on Risk Assessment, Fire Prevention and Mitigation measures;
- Evaluate the risk to life taking into account current control measures, likelihood and level of exposure
- Produce further control measures to eliminate or minimise the risk
The result of a thorough fire risk assessment conducted by a competent person is:
- The reduction of the risk of injury and death
- Avoiding the loss of the business through losing the premises
- Avoiding criminal and civil litigation
How to choose your Fire Risk Assessor
The Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council is concerned with helping organisations select a competent Fire Risk assessor. The Council works within the wider Fire Sector Federation and has published a guide with a set of criteria which will help you judge the competency of those undertaking fire risk assessments.
Download this guide as an easy to read introduction to choosing a competent fire risk assessor.
2. Take appropriate action to control the fire risks identified
Once you have identified the risks through a Fire Risk Assessment, you must undertake actions to control them. If it is not possible to avoid the risks altogether, you must consider how to reduce the risks and implement measures to manage them.
You also need to consider how you will protect people should there be a fire.
- Undertake a fire safety risk assessment & develop a Safety plan
- Keep sources of ignition and flammable substances apart
- Implement policies to avoid accidental fires eg with portable heaters
- Ensure good housekeeping through procedures that avoid the build-up of flammable rubbish
- Consider the detection of fires and how to warn people quickly eg installing both smoke and fire alarms
- Have the correct fire-fighting equipment for putting a fire out quickly
- Keep fire exits and escape routes clearly marked and unobstructed at all times
- Undertake routine fire drills to practice evacuation procedures
3. Ensure your employees receive appropriate Fire Safety Training
Ensure your workers receive appropriate training on fire awareness and the site specific procedures they need to follow in the case of fire.
4. Review and update your fire risk assessment regularly
Legislation relevant to Fire Safety
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in the UK and Part 3 of the Fire and Rescue Services (NI) Order 2006 and relevant Schedules of the Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 in Northern Ireland, the responsible person for the workplace has a duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.
There is a wide range of legislation relevant to fire in Ireland. Specifically you need to be aware of:
- Fire Services Act, 1981
- Licensing of Indoor Events Act, 2003
- Building Control Acts and Regs
- Ease of Escape Regulations, 1985
- Various Codes of Practice
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