Fire legislation.

‘The Order*’ applies in England and Wales. It covers ‘general fire precautions’ and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect ‘relevant persons’ in case of fire in and around most ‘premises’. The Order* requires fire precautions to be put in place ‘where necessary’ and to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances of the case.

Responsibility for complying with The 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, e.g. 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 (e.g. a multi-occupied complex), all must take reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other.

If you are the responsible person you must carry out a fire risk assessment which must focus on the safety in case of fire of all ‘relevant persons’. It should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as disabled people (mobility impairment or learning disability), those who you know have special needs and children, and must include consideration of any dangerous substance liable to be on the premises. Your fire risk assessment will help you identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the nature and extent of the general fire precautions you need to take.

The local fire and rescue authority (the fire and rescue service) will enforce The Order* in most premises. The enforcing authority will have the power to inspect your premises to check that you are complying with your duties under The Order*. They will look for evidence that you have carried out a suitable fire risk assessment and acted upon the significant findings of that assessment. If, as is likely, you are required to record the outcome of the assessment they will expect to see a copy.

If the enforcing authority is dissatisfied with the outcome of your fire risk assessment or the action you have taken, they may issue an enforcement notice that requires you to make certain improvements, or in extreme cases, a prohibition notice that restricts the use of all or part of your premises until improvements have been made.

Failure to comply with any duty imposed by The Order* is an offence. If you are in any doubt about how the fire safety law applies to you, contact the fire safety officer at your local fire and rescue service or telephone Lancashire Fire and Safety on 07931 528 530.

You must appoint one or more ‘competent persons’, depending on the size and use of your premises, to carry out any of the preventive and protective measures required by The Order*.

You must provide your employees with comprehensible and relevant information on the risks to them identified by the fire risk assessment, about the measuresyou have taken to prevent fires, and how these measures will protect them if a fire breaks out.

You must consult your employees (or their elected representatives) about nominating people to carry out particular roles in connection with fire safety and about proposals for improving the fire precautions.
You must, before you employ a child, provide a parent with comprehensible and relevant information on the riska to that child identified by the risk assessment, the measures you have put in place to prevent/protect them from fire and inform any other responsible person of any riska to that child arising from their undertaking.
You must inform non-employees, such as temporary or contract workers, of the relevant riska to them, and provide them with information about who are the nominated ‘cometent persons’ and about the fire safety procedures for the premises.

You must co-operate and co-ordinate with other responsible persons who also have premises in the building, inform them of any significant risks you find and how you will seek to reduce/control those risks which might affect the safety of their employees.

You must provide the employer of any person from an outside organisation who is working in your premises (e.g. agency providing temporary staff) with clear and relevant information on the risks to those employees and the preventative and protective measures taken. You must also provide those employees with appropriate instructions and relevant information about the risks to them.

You must consider the presence of any dangerous substances and the risk this presents to relevant persons from fire.

You must establish a suitable means of contacting the emergency services and provide them with any relevant information about dangerous substances.

You must provide appropriate information, instruction and training to your employees, during normal working hours, about the fire precautions in your workplace, when they start working for you, and from time to time throughout the period they work for you.

You must ensure that the premises and any equipment provided in connection with firefighting, fire detection and warning, or emergency routes and exits are covered by a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained by a competent person in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
The above examples outline some of the main requirements of *Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.