The Fire Safety Order came into force on October 1st 2006 and replaced the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations. It is now the primary fire safety legislation. The Order affects all non-domestic premises and even applies to certain activities taking place outdoors. The Fire Safety Order places the emphasis towards risk reduction and fire prevention.
Who does it affect?
It affects employers and anyone with managerial responsibility for premises to which the public as visitors or employees has access. Responsibility for complying with the Fire Safety Order rests with the 'responsible person'.
In a workplace, this is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, for example, the occupier or 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, all must take all reasonable steps to work with each other.
Self-employed persons and the voluntary sector are also covered by the legislation.
The Fire Safety Order applies to virtually all premises and covers nearly every type of building, structure and open space. For example:
NB. It excludes purely domestic premises occupied by a single family group.
Fire certificates are no longer valid or being issued. However, if your premises have previously been given with a fire certificate, this could form a good basis for your fire risk assessment.
What do I need to do to comply?
The 'responsible person' has a legal duty to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment. This is to ensure that persons in or near your premises are not at risk from a fire involving your premises. You have to ensure that a competent person carries out the Fire Risk Assessment. Any shortcomings identified from that survey (the 'significant findings') have to be rectified.
At some point it is likely that you will receive a visit from a Fire Safety Officer who will audit your premises.
What will the Fire Safety Officer be looking for?
During the inspection the inspector may wish to view the following documents:
You may also have to provide your local Fire Safety Office with a copy of the significant findings and a plan drawing of your premises.
The Fire Safety Officer will work with you to make your premises a safer place by offering advice and guidance. However, the Fire Authority has a duty to enforce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, and will, if all other means fail, consider pursuing a prosecution through the courts.
The Fire and Rescue Authority is the enforcing authority for general fire precautions. We will inspect premises and also undertake audits of fire risk assessments to enforce the requirements of the Fire Safety Order. All inspection and audit work is undertaken in accordance with the principles of good enforcement laid down in the Government enforcement concordat.
We will target our work at those premises that are deemed to present to greatest risk to people and the community. Generally these are businesses that operate from poorly constructed buildings, poorly manage their premises or have poor fire prevention and protection measures.