Part 1 – How Does the Fire Legislation Affect Me as a Business Owner, Employer or Landlord?
The Regulatory (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) which came into force in October 2006 is the latest fire safety legislation that applies in England and Wales and covers the (1) ‘general fire precautions’ and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect (2)‘relevant persons’ in case of fire in and around almost (3)‘ALL’ premises.
The legislation replaces ALL previous legislation and now places the responsibility of ensuring that the ‘general fire precautions’ in a place of work are compliant with current standards firmly on the shoulders of the (4) ‘responsible person’ which are identified by the completion of a (5) ‘FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT’.
In 8 words – FIRE SAFETY IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, YOU MANAGE IT!
Wow what does all that mean?
Lets take it a bit at a time.
1. What are ‘general fire precautions’?
General fire precautions are the fire safety measures that need to in place to ensure the safety from fire of all relevant persons in or in the vicinity of a premise.
Means of escape.
These are routes leading from a workplace to a place of safety. These include corridors and staircases taking into consideration disabled persons especially those with mobility problems such as wheelchair users.
Securing the means of escape so that it can be safely and effectively used.
This means that escape routes should be kept clear of obstruction, have suitable exit signage and be adequately lit with emergency lighting in the event of a power failure.
Means for fighting fires.
This means the provision of fire extinguishing appliances to be determined by the size and layout of the workplace and the nature of the substances that might burn.
Means for detecting fire and giving warning in case of fire.
This means the provision of a fire alarm system and detection system which should be appropriate to the type of risk e.g. from simply shouting fire in a small premise to an electrical fire alarm system with call points, sounders and fire detection as in the case of a large complex or office block.
The instruction and training of employees.
This refers to making staff aware of fire procedures, escape routes, assembly points and a general awareness of the causes and effects of fire.
Measures to mitigate the effects of fire.
This includes where appropriate such measures as fire suppression systems such as sprinklers, gaseous systems and water fog systems. These are automatic in operation and deal with fires in high risk areas that are not normally staffed. These systems are also used to prevent business and asset loss in high value equipment.
Maintain in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair, premises, facilities, equipment and devices provided for fire safety purposes.
This means that in workplaces, all fire related products and facilities must be maintained by competent persons at laid down periods within British and other local standards.
Maintain records of maintenance and training of staff.
Records of the maintenance of fire safety features and equipment must be kept.
2. Who are ‘relevant persons’?
Anybody legally in, on or in the vicinity of the premise>
3. Which premises does the RRO apply to?
Everywhere (near as dammit).
Exceptions are – domestic premises, offshore installation, a ship, an aircraft or train, a mine or borehole – eh!!
Yes it applies to YOU ALL, even if you work from home as a sole trader, so you are caught, cant get away from it and must comply with the legislation.
4. Who is the ‘Responsible Person’?
(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 falling within (a)
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.
5. What is a Fire Risk Assessment?
FIND OUT IN PART 2.
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Total fire Management Ltd