The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
What are the new regulations?
Fire precautions legislation changed on 1st October 2006 with the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO).
The RRFSO is intended to simplify fire safety requirements by replacing 118 pieces of legislation, including the repeal of the Fire Precautions Act 1971, and the revocation of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997.
The RRFSO is part of the Government's commitment to reduce the incidence of death and injury caused by fire.
The RRFSO firmly places a responsibility on the responsible person
What is a 'Reponsible Person'?
The 'Responsible Person' may be the owner, occupier or employer. This is the person who owns the premises or business or the person with control over the premises, business or activity. Where two or more responsible persons share responsibility, (e.g. tenant / landlord, multiple tenancy building or adjacent premises) the responsible persons must co-operate, share information and collaborate to provide measures.
The main fire safety measures that the Responsible Person will be accountable for include:
The RRFSO requires the responsible person to carry out a fire risk assessment of their premises and to take suitable steps to remove or reduce hazards as far as possible. It also requires the responsible person to ensure they have appointed competent personsWhat is a 'Competent Person'?
Anyone appointed by the 'Responsible Person' and could be anyone from a company fire warden to a fire alarm service engineer, they may be directly employed or a subcontractor but the important word is competent. who have specified duties for fire safety within the workplace.
Fire risk assessments have been required for some time under the Fire Precautions (Workplace) regulations 1997 (as amended) and many premises were required to obtain a fire certificate from the fire service under the Fire Precautions Act 1971.
The RRFSO removes the requirement for a fire certificate, and fire services will check fire risk assessments now that the RRFSO has come into force.
The RRFSO applies to a wide range of premises, with a "workplace" defined as all areas of the premises including access roads (other than public roads). It does not apply to single occupancy dwellings, but does apply to shared areas of communal buildings, such as staircases and landings of a block of flats and offices.
The responsible person may be the owner, occupier or employer. This is the person who owns the premises or business or the person with control over the premises, business or activity. Where two or more responsible persons share responsibility, (e.g. tenant / landlord, multiple tenancy building or adjacent premises) the responsible persons must cooperate, share information and collaborate to provide measures.
Under the RRFSO, the Fire & Rescue Services now have inspection and enforcement responsibility. Therefore, the Fire Service will be working towards raising organisations' awareness of the RRFSO, but are also responsible for enforcement where non-compliance is identified, and have powers to issue:
- Alterations notices, where an organisation has made or proposes to make changes that constitute a risk to fire safety
- Enforcement notices, where the responsible person fails to comply
- Prohibition notices, where a serious fire risk is identified and can prohibit or restrict the use of premises
Implications for your organisation
- Organisations no longer require a fire certificate
- Organisations are responsible for their own fire safety
- Organisations must appoint a responsible person
- Organisations must conduct a fire risk assessment regardless of the size of the risk
- Extended scope of consideration now includes property safety, fire fighter safety and the environment around the site as well as just protecting life
- The Fire Safety Order places emphasis on business continuity and containing and preventing the spread of small fires
- Protection is extended to all occupants and not just employees. Visitors, contractors or passers-by also have to be considered in the risk assessment
- Organisations will be subject to enforcement from their Fire & Rescue service
What help is available?
To carry out a fire risk assessment the responsible person must possess an understanding, not just of the fire risk assessment process, but how fires start and spread, products of combustion, and a good understanding of the workplace and its procedures is essential.
Assessing fire risks can require technical fire safety knowledge that the responsible person may not have and therefore it may be necessary to seek help from a fire safety consultant. The consultant will need to work with the responsible person in order to understand the nature of the workplace and its procedures, as even though the law standardises things, in reality no two organisations operate in exactly the same way.
The local Fire and Rescue services are responsible for enforcing the RRFSO, but are also on hand to provide help, support and advice where required.
DDS (International) Limited exists to provide all of the support that organisations require implementing changes in legislation such as the RRFSO. We recognise that no two organisations are the same, so listen carefully to each customer's requirements in order to tailor an effective solution, whether it is addressing training shortfalls, or completion of a fire risk assessment.
Why not complete our quick fire safety compliance questionnaire, and we'll let you know how closely you are complying with the legislation?
Contact us online or call us on 0844 372 7300, to see how we can help you.