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The Legislation You Need To Be Aware Of

The primary fire safety legislation in England and Wales is now “The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and it applies to all workplaces (with a few exceptions) and to a certain extent it now covers the self employed.

There is considerable movement towards universally applicable legal requirements, and a new, significant emphasis on the compliance of employers with all of these fire safety requirements.

The aim of Government is to improve standards in Fire Safety provision in the UK, and also in educating companies about their responsibilities.

On top of this there are there are two major economic considerations for businesses to contemplate and they are:
One: A recent survey has shown that, over 75% of companies that suffer serious damage as a result of a fire will go into liquidation within the following two years. and,
Two: The cost to industry of fires in the workplace in terms of increased insurance premiums is increasing rapidly. The Government therefore views raising standards in fire safety in the workplace as being in everyone's interests, and companies who do take adequate fire precautions should not end up indirectly paying for those companies which do not.

To make sure all of the above happens, Fire Authorities have now been given the duty of enforcing the Fire Precautions Regulations throughout their area.

Fire Authorities have the power to visit and inspect any workplace premises in their area to ensure that it has made adequate fire precautions. There is a range of sanctions available to the Fire Authority if it is found that a premises does not have adequate fire precautions in place.

In the event that a business doesn't comply with the legislation, a common sanction may be the serving of an Enforcement Notice on the employer, giving their opinion as to the changes required to ensure the premises comply; the enforcement notice should also set deadlines for the completion of the said works. The central managerial thrust required by today's legislation is the Fire Risk Assessment, which must be undertaken on all business premises, and documented if there are five personnel or more. (When inspecting premises, one of the first things the Fire Officer will ask to see is your Fire Risk Assessment).

Staff training is also an important element to the fire risk assessment, to ensure that personnel are aware of fire risks and informed of how to respond should a fire break out.

The Requirements of a Fire Risk Assessment

A principal requirement of the Fire Regulations is that that all responsible persons undertake a Fire Risk Assessment of their workplace, keeping a written copy of the significant findings where 5 or more staff are employed on the premises.

When an inspecting officer visits your premises, one of the first things that he will ask is to see your Fire Risk Assessment. The Fire Risk Assessment is similar in approach to health and safety risk assessment, and entails a carrying out a survey of the working environment to identify potential fire hazards and the personnel who might be harmed by them. This survey should be followed with an evaluation of the risks that any hazards found pose, and what control measures and precautions are in place to manage these risks. The survey, and subsequent assessment of the work place, should encompass the following:

The means for raising the alarm and warning all occupants in the event of a fire. Fire-fighting equipment The means of escape from the premises in the event of a fire, including: The size and number of all exit doorways / stairways. The lighting / emergency lighting of all exit route corridors / stairways The travel distances from all parts of the premises to a 'place of safety’ The number and type of people at “Risk Critical” operating systems. Sources of ignition/ fuel for a fire, Fire spread risks Hazardous/flammable materials, All emergency exit and fire safety signage. Staff Training, Emergency plan, Equipment testing, and maintenance Record Keeping. Carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment therefore requires a thorough understanding of fire safety issues, as well as an appreciation of the standards and approach which will be used by Fire Authorities in their inspections. PK Fireshield assists its clients in a variety of ways. It may be a question of a consultant carrying out and documenting a fire risk assessment for a premises, or else reviewing a client's existing documentation. You can read more about it in the Suite of guidance documents.

Training Your Staff

The training of staff is vital for the continuing safety in the workplace. This is also required by law. The Fire Precautions Act 1971 specifically says: “All persons within any company should receive appropriate instruction and training in what to do in the event of a fire. At least one person should also be present at all times whilst the building is occupied, who is competent in the use of fire fighting equipment.”

”All employees should be trained by a 'competent person' in the action to take in the event of a fire. This training should be refreshed annually.”

You therefore need to decide the amount of training you feel your organization requires for it to comply with the legislation.

PK Fireshield can provide this training.

Basic training can include staff induction, training with video or CD Roms. To ensure compliance with legislation, any basic training must be supplemented by annual training courses in basic fire awareness, and records of this training must be kept. ”In larger premises, nominated staff should be given a greater degree of training eg (Fire Wardens).”

A small number of staff should also be trained in using fire extinguishing equipment, and on larger premises specific members of staff must be trained to become Fire Wardens.

To arrange a free consultation with us, please contact us on 07734 275 735


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