It does not matter what sort of business you run, you need to make sure that you provide a safe and healthy environment for your employees and members of the public. One hazard that all businesses need to protect against is fire. In this blog post, we are going to take a look at some of the fire safety regulations that are in place in the UK, which your business will need to adhere to.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
The first regulation we’re going to take a look at is The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This covers general fire safety in Wales and England. It relates to virtually all structures, places, and buildings, aside from individual private properties. So, if you own, operate, or manage a business, this law applies to you.
As per this act, you are going to need to make sure that your premises reach the required standards. You also need to ensure that employees are supplied with sufficient fire safety training.
In practice, adequate fire safety will differ from company to company. However, it is going to generally include the following…
- Training to build required skills, for example, using fire extinguishers, fire warden, or fire risk assessments.
- Training to support people in meeting their duties with regards to fire safety, for example, keeping ‘responsible people’ up to date.
- Periodic refresher training, or extra training whereby the level of fire risk increases as a consequence of a change in your operations.
- Induction training in order to cover general fire awareness.
What about fire risk assessments? It is mandatory for detailed assessments to be carried out regarding the hazards and risks in commercial premises. You will then need to put steps in place to mitigate these risks, for instance, the installation of fire resistant glass doors. You need to ensure that your Fire Risk Assessment is recorded if you have five or more people working at your company. The responsible person will also need to do the following…
- Keep any findings of the risk assessment under review.
- Maintain general fire precautions and facilities supplied for use by firefighters.
- Create a plan for dealing with any emergencies and record any findings where necessary.
- Task additional measures to make sure that there is fire safety where explosive or flammable materials are stored or used.
- Provide general fire precautions when dealing with any sort of risk.
- Reduce or eliminate the risk of fire as far as is reasonably practical.
- Think about who may be particularly at risk.
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR)
Another regulation that is in place that relates to fire is The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). As per this regulation, employers are required to evaluate the risk of explosions and fires that arise from activities in the workplace involving dangerous substances. They then need to take the steps to reduce or eliminate these risks.
In terms of workplace fires, there are thousands of recorded fires per annum in commercial premises. In this area, the main responsibility HSE outlines are for special precautions to be taken within a work process that are designed for reducing or preventing the chances of a fire breaking out. Or, should a fire break out, to lower the intensity of it. HSE has also implemented enforcement responsibility when it comes to the process for fire safety on construction sites, on ships under repair or construction, and nuclear premises.
The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations
Last but not least, we have The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations. This has replaced both the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and the Fire Precautions Workplace Regulations 1997. These regulations require fire risks to be assessed in the workplace. This is something that needs to be conducted as either a specific exercise or as part of a general review of health and safety risks within the workplace.
As per these regulations, the responsible person is the individual who needs to carry out fire risk assessments. They also need to consider any dangerous substances that are likely to be on the premises, as well as paying special attention to anyone who is at special risk, for example, those with special needs or disabled.
As per these regulations, fire safety arrangements need to be implemented. This means all of the things that the responsible person must do in order to comply with the Order. This includes establishing emergency procedures, appointing employees to different functions, and displaying fire action notices. If there is a dangerous substance that is present on the premises, the responsible person needs to make certain that the risk linked to the presence of the substance is either eradicated or is reduced as far as deemed reasonably practicable.
The responsible person needs to ensure the following…
- Sufficient employees have been trained and nominated in order to deal with a fire situation.
- Any non-automatic fire-fighting equipment that is supplied needs to be accessed with ease, indicated by signs, and easy to use.
- The premises are equipped with the right fire-fighting equipment, alarms, and fire detectors.
It is proposed that the law must reflect common sense in terms of the fire bring extinguished at the source. Common sense needs to be taken in terms of lowering the risk to life. Fire-fighting equipment needs to be considered as…
- A possible means of mitigating the detrimental effects of a fire
- Providing assistance and protection to others
- A possible means of lowering the risk of the fire spreading
As you can see, there are a number of different regulations in place that you will need to adhere to if you are based in the UK and you run a business. It is your responsibility to ensure that you, your employees, and all members of the public that enter your business are safe. If you are found to be in breach of the regulations that have been mentioned, you could find yourself in a whole world of trouble.