On 1st October 2006 the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, came into force. All existing fire legislation was repealed including the Fire Precautions Act 1971, Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997/99 and the Management of Health & Safety in the Workplace Regulations 1999.
Fire certificates are no longer issued and have been replaced with the requirement for a Fire Risk Assessment. Employers are now solely responsible for fire safety within their workplaces.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, states the following : -
The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him by or under this Order
Although best practice states that it would be better if the Competent Person is an employee, many small and medium sized businesses do not have the resources in time or money to have an employee committed full time to this work. A company may therefore employ third party assistance to complete the Fire Risk Assessment.
The Fire Safety Order 2005 applies to virtually all premises and covers nearly every type of building, structure and open space. For example:
But it excludes purely domestic premises occupied by a single family group.
A fire risk assessment helps identify all the fire hazards and risks in your workplace.
You can then decide whether they are acceptable or whether you need to do something to reduce or control them.
Who should do the risk assessment? Someone who has had sufficient training or has good experience or knowledge of fire safety.
This can be a complex survey, depending on the type of property or the type of business carried out at your premises. We can take you through the process of making your fire risk assessment. This can be done by going through the 5 steps below or contact us for a quotation or to book a survey
For fire to occur there must be a source of ignition, fuel and oxygen. If all three are present and in close proximity in the workplace, then the fire risk could increase as a result. In the average workplace, fire hazards will fall into the first two categories, whilst the oxygen will be present in the air in the surrounding space. Occasionally oxygen can be found in chemical form (oxidising agents) or as a gas in cylinders or piped systems.
Potential sources of ignition could include:
Potential sources of fuel: anything that burns is a potential fuel, examples include:
Your risk assessment should list the potential sources of ignition and fuels that are present in your workplace.
If there is a fire, the greatest danger is the spread of the fire, heat and smoke through the workplace. If this happens, the main risk to people is from the smoke and products of combustion, which can very quickly incapacitate those escaping. If a workplace does not have adequate means of escape or if a fire can grow to an appreciable size before it is noticed, then people may become trapped or overcome by heat and smoke before they can evacuate.
Your assessment of risk to persons should include:
Once the hazards and the persons at risk have been recorded, you must assess the effect of any particular hazard on the occupants of the workplace, taking account of any existing control measures that are already in place. Once this has been done, you must decide if any further control measures are needed in order to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.
Further control measures may act to reduce the possibility of ignition, minimise the potential fuel load in the workplace, or assist persons to escape from the effects of a fire, should it occur.
They may fall into a number of different categories:
Different control measures can be applied to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. For example, if the risk is the possibility of a fast growing fire, potential control measures could include one or any combination of the following:
While this list is not exhaustive and applies to one area of risk only, it can be seen that there may be a number of different solutions depending on the nature of the situation.
If any areas of inadequacy are identified, an action plan must to be included to show how the problem is being addressed. This should include time scales for achieving the required level of control and specify who is responsible for the action.
If your workplace is situated in a relatively modern building it should already incorporate important control measures that were installed to meet the requirements of the Building Regulations e.g. fire escape staircases, fire lobbies, fire doors, emergency lighting etc. Many of these measures will also be found in older buildings.
You should include details of these existing control measures in your fire risk assessment. Remember, a full understanding and evaluation of the existing control measures is essential - it is your starting point for deciding if any further action is necessary.
If you employ five or more employees you must record the significant findings of your risk assessment, together with details of any people that are at particular risk. More importantly, the record must show whether the existing control measures are adequate and, if not, what further action is required to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.
Remember to make sure any control measures identified or introduced remain effective by testing and maintaining them regularly. For larger workplaces you are encouraged to include a simple floor plan in your fire risk assessment. You can use the plan to record fire hazards and control measures in a simple format that is easily understood.
If your workplace has a Fire Certificate issued under the Fire Precautions Act you may wish to cross reference your fire risk assessment with your fire certificate plan.
Fire Mediation can provide a structured report and a detailed floor plan, of your premises, that will meet the RRO (Fire Safety) Order 2005
It is important to remember that fire risk assessment is a continuous process and as such must be monitored and audited. New and existing control measures should be maintained to make sure they are still working effectively.
However, if you introduce changes into your workplace your original risk assessment may not address any new hazards or risk arising from them. For this reason it is also important to review and revise your assessment regularly.
This doesn't mean that it is necessary to amend your assessment for every trivial change that occurs, but the impact of any significant change should be considered. For example:
The above list is not exhaustive and any change that could lead to new hazards or risks should be considered.
If any of the above changes occur at your premises, it is a legal requirement to carry out a revised assessment. Fire Mediation can carry out a review of your fire risk assessment and if we did your initial survey, this could be done at a fraction of the cost
Once you have carried out a detailed fire risk assessment you must provide a written emergency plan. This will be specific to the workplace and will detail the pre-planned procedures in place for use in the event of a fire.
This must include the following features:
Remember to test your emergency plan by practising it with your employees, and if necessary discuss it with your local emergency services.
As an employee, you can help keep yourself safe from fire at work if you are aware of fire and health and safety regulations
Most workplaces are now covered by the fire regulations which means your employer has a responsibility to make sure you and others in the workplace are safe, should a fire break out.
But you also have a duty under Health and Safety Regulations for your own safety and that of your colleagues.
As an employee, you can help keep yourself safe from fire at work if you are aware of fire and health and safety regulations. Here are your duties as an employee.
When you're at work you should always:
What you should know
As an employee, you can help keep yourself safe from fire at work if you are aware of fire and health and safety regulations. Follow these guidelines on fire safety at work.
When you're at work you need to: