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What does the Law require?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was introduced to England and Wales to replace a plethora of previous fire regulations; in Scotland this is covered by the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005. In essence, both sets of legislation are fundamentally similar.

This legislation revokes the requirement for the fire service to provide a fire certificate for non domestic premises. It places the onus, for ensuring that the fire precautions remain current and adequate, onto the appointed ‘Responsible Person’ (or Employer if in Scotland).

Who is the ‘Responsible Person’?

In a workplace, the ‘Responsible Person’ is identified as the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises (for example, the occupier or the owner). In all other premises, the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more than one ‘Responsible Person’ in any type of premises (for example a multi-occupied complex) all must take reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other.

What must the ‘Responsible Person’ (or Employer) do?

To ensure the main requirements of the above legislation are met, the Responsible Person/Employer must

  • Ensure that a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment is carried out. If five or more people are employed then this most be recorded
  • Appoint one, or more, Competent Persons to carry out the preventative and protective measures required by the Order
  • Provide employees and temporary/contract workers with information on the risks relevant to them which were identified in the fire risk assessment
  • Co-operate and co-ordinate with other Responsible Persons who also have premises within the same building
  • Consider the presence of any dangerous substances and risk posed by these substances
  • Provide appropriate information, instruction and training to employees and temporary/contract workers about fire precautions in the workplace
  • Ensure that the premises and any equipment provided in connection with firefighting, fire detection and warning, or emergency routes and exits are covered by a suitable system of maintenance (and are maintained by a Competent Person in an efficient state, efficient working order and in good repair)

Employees have a responsibility to co-operate with the Responsible Person to ensure that the workplace is safe from fire.

Legislation other than the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and Fire (Scotland) Act may also impose additional safety requirements onto a workplace. This may include such regulations as The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, The Disability Disability Discrimination Act 1996 and The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.

Further information on fire risk assessment for different types of premises within England, Wales or Scotland may be obtained by clicking the links below