If you’re a business owner or property manager, fire safety should be at the top of your list. In which case, you’ve probably heard of the Fire Safety Order and are wondering what it means for your site and staff members.
In this article, we explore exactly what the Fire Safety Order is, what it means for businesses and other non-domestic spaces, and why neglecting to follow it could result in legal ramifications.
Simply put, the Fire Safety Order is the government’s main piece of legislation regarding fire safety for businesses and other non-domestic spaces. It’s full name is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and this is how it is more commonly written.
Prior to the creation of the Order, multiple pieces of legislation existed in relation to fire safety. To simplify the advice into one document, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order was created in 2005 as a resource for responsible persons at any workplace, guiding them on the steps that must be taken to:
- Reduce the risks of fire
- Ensure safe escape in fire events
Its aim is to lay out guidance clearly so that people untrained in the nuances of fire safety can still understand and follow it effectively. The Order is written with every type of premises, building, structure and open space in mind – with the exception of private homes and domestic dwellings.
Why is the Fire Safety Order important?
Having the correct measures in place to reduce the likelihood of fire events, along with plans for responding to these fire events, is vital for the safety of your staff, visitors, assets and premises. Not only does this legislation save lives, but it’s also a legal requirement for your business.
What are the key messages of the Fire Safety Order?
As a responsible person in charge of the fire safety of your premises, it’s strongly advised to read through the entire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order document so that nothing is missed.
To summarise, here are the main takeaways:
- A Responsible Person is normally the employer but can also be another individual with a certain amount of control or management over a premises. It’s the role of the responsible person or persons to carry out, or arrange to have carried out, the fire safety duties described in the Order.
- A fire risk assessment must be conducted for the premises in question, in order to identify any risks. This must be done for all premises employing five people or above. A responsible person can carry out the risk assessment themselves, or arrange for a professional company to conduct one
- People who are more at risk in a fire event than others should also be identified, whether that be due to mobility issues, health conditions or other factors
- Any identified risks should be removed or reduced as much as possible
- Precautions must be put in place to reduce risk, such as fire safety equipment, alarms and extinguishers
- An emergency response plan should be outlined specific to your building in the event of a fire incident, including escape routes and evacuation plans
- The premises’ fire safety plans should be regularly reviewed and updated, particularly after major personnel, layout or structural changes
What are the legal ramifications of not following the Fire Safety Order?
Business owners can face prosecution if guidelines in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order have not been followed or have been breached in some way. The employer can also be liable for any breaches or disobedience of their employees in regard to the Order, which is why it’s paramount to educate all employees on the fire safety plan to reduce the chance of violations. Any prosecutions could result in a fine or even imprisonment.
That’s why it’s strongly advisable to consult with a professional fire safety company who can carry out competent, industry-standard fire risk assessments, along with providing all the key equipment and training you need to stay compliant.
Searching for reliable fire equipment and risk assessments in the Kent area? Here at Fire Action, we’re the region’s go-to commercial fire safety experts, keeping your business safe and legally-compliant. With over 20 years of industry experience, we supply and deliver key products and services to enhance the fire safety of your premises. Contact us today to find out more.
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