Fire Precautions Legislation

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
As part of the Government's commitment to reduce death, injury and damage caused by fire, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) has now implemented changes in fire safety Law. The emphasis of the changes will be to require a "Responsible Person" within an organisation to ensure the safety of employees, and others who may lawfully come to their premises. In addition, to ensure that fire prevention plays a major role in the organisation's planning for safety. That duty for compliance will lie with the "Responsible Person" who will be held accountable.

This Order commenced on 1st October 2006 and under this Order a "Responsible Person" will be: -

(a) in relation to a workplace, the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his control;

(b) in relation to any premises not within paragraph (a)above

    • (i) the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or
    • (ii) the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking.

    Where two or more responsible persons share, or have duties in respect of, premises (whether on a temporary or a permanent basis) each such person must co-operate with the other responsible person.

    It is important to note that this Order has an impact upon every employer and others with responsibility for a building.

    Fire certificates will be abolished, and no longer issued.

    Fire risk assessment of premises must be carried out, regardless of its size, by a competent person

    Every organisation with five or more employees must now maintain a written risk assessment of fire risks, similar in principle to the requirement of Health and Safety legislation.

    The responsible person must ensure that his employees are provided with adequate safety training.

    Protection is explicitly extended to all occupants and not just employees. Visitors, contractors or passers-by also have to be considered in the risk assessment.

    The Fire Safety Order places emphasis on business continuity and containing and preventing the spread of small fires.

    The Order's requirements include:

    • The provision of necessary and suitable fire fighting and where required, fire detection equipment;
    • The provision and maintenenace of, adequate means of escape in case of fire;
    • The production and practicing of, an effective emergency action plan;
    • The recording of all maintenance and training;
    • The maintenance of the workplace and all fire related equipment installed.

    The role of the Fire Service's Fire Safety Officers has changed. Under the Order it will no longer be the Fire Services' duty to make sure premises are safe. Their officers now have the responsibility to adopt a 'policing' role to ensure compliance. Their role will be similar to that exercised by Health and Safety Executive Inspectors. The assessment of the risk from fire in premises will form their starting point.

    Failure to comply with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is a CRIMINAL offence!