The Fire Safety Order 2005 being the Law as of the 1st of October 2006
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Fire Safety Order 2005, stipulates that the employer(s) and responsible person(s) carries out his/her duties in relation to the above stated regulations with regards to Fire Safety.
The aim of the Fire Safety Order, that is introduced under the Regulatory Reform Order - is to simplify, rationalize and consolidate existing legislation. The Fire Safety Order amends or replaces over 100 pieces of legislation. The most significant to be repealed are the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and the Fire Precautions (workplace Amendment) Regulations 1999.
The Fire Safety Order is Risk Assessment based, which requires employers to carry out a fire risk assessment which considers:
- Safety of employees and visitors to a site from fire
- Protection of property from fire and job security of employees
- Fire fighters safety should fire fighters have to enter a property
- Environmental impact of fire
Fire Certificates cease to have legal status.
Each company will be responsible for their own fire safety. The employer must conduct a fire risk assessment regardless of size of the risk. The identified responsible person(s) would therefore take full corporate liability. If five or more people are employed, this risk assessment must be documented and its findings implemented.
Extended scope of consideration now include property safety, fire fighter safety and the environment around the site as well as protecting life. This means that allowing a building to be sacrificed is unacceptable due to the risk to neighboring buildings and fire fighters. The responsible person would have the duty to protect the fire brigade.
The Fire Safety Order places emphasis on business continuity and containing and preventing the spread of fire. The effectiveness of portable fire extinguishers is clearly recognized as a major provision in just doing that.
Protection is explicitly extended to all occupants and not just employees. Visitors, contractors or passersby (public) also have to be considered in the fire risk assessment.
Fire fighters are to have greater authority to gain entry to premises.
Who is responsible?
- Employers with control of work place
- Person with overall management of a building
- Occupier of premises
- Owner of premises, empty ones as well
- Landlords having some control, primary responsibility rest with employer
Under the order the responsible person can and will be held accountable. Hence it is important to nominate a person with the appropriate skills and experience. It must be noted that both or either party may be held responsible at the time of inspection or post incident.
The Order states that the fire brigade can advise on but not carry out the fire risk assessment.
Further information with regards to the fire regulations can be found at www.communities.gov.uk