Fire Safety Regulations

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into effect in October 2006 and replaced over 70 pieces of fire safety law.
The law applies if you are:
  • responsible for business premises
  • an employer or self-employed with business premises
  • responsible for a part of a dwelling where that part is solely used for business purposes
  • a charity or voluntary organisation
  • a contractor with a degree of control over any premises

Relevant Premises

The Regulatory Reform Order applies to virtually all premises in England and Wales and covers nearly every type of building, structure and open space, except for purely domestic premises occupied by a single family.
For example, it now includes:
  • Offices and shops
  • Factories and warehouses
  • Common parts of blocks of flats and HMOs
  • B&Bs and holiday letting accommodation such as caravans
  • Hotels and hostels
  • Community premises such as village and church halls
  • Pubs, clubs and restaurants
  • Theatres, cinemas and zoos
  • Schools, colleges, universities and crèches
  • Residential care and nursing homes
  • Tents, marquees and outdoor events such as firework displays and concerts
  • Hospitals and medical centres

Responsible Persons

The responsibility for complying with the Regulatory Reform 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, such as 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.
There may be many people (individuals, companies, partnerships, etc.) that all have some responsibilities under the RRO, for example a company landlord, his owners, key employees, a company tenant and tenanted property owners.

Third Party Fire Safety Services

The responsible person must nominate one or more 'competent persons' to assist in the undertaking of fire safety measures. This may be an external third party that provides fire safety services. The order defines 'competent' as having sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable the task in question to be properly undertaken.

Fire Safety Risk Assessments

The responsible person must carry out a Fire Safety Risk Assessment focusing on the safety of all relevant persons in the case of fire. It should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as the disabled and must include consideration of any dangerous substance on the premises. The Fire Safety Risk Assessment should help identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the general fire precautions needed against the remaining fire risks.
If you employ five or more people, you must have a written Fire Safety Risk Assessment.

Fire Safety Arrangements

Fire Safety Arrangements must be implemented and records kept for:
  • Provision and maintenance of fire fighting equipment
  • Employee training and fire marshals
  • Means of escape and emergency lighting
  • Signage
  • Provision and maintenance of fire alarm systems
  • Information for employees and contracts

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