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All the fire safety legislation in England and Wales comes under “The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.” This legislation was enacted in 2006 to simplify the existing legal requirements in the country. All business premises in England and Wales are covered under these regulations. In fact, every business owner or manager should designate a “Responsible Person” (RP) to see that all precautions are taken both to prevent fires as well as injury and death in case of a fire emergency. Since there are more than 20,000 commercial fires every year in the United Kingdom, the RP should take his job seriously and use professional fire safety methods to safeguard the business premises as well as the employees from a fire hazard in the future. This article provides information on the UK fire safety laws.
Fire Risk Assessment
All commercial establishments in the country should conduct a fire risk assessment – which is mandatory by the newly enacted law. It is the first thing that you need to do in order to protect your organization from a fire emergency in the future. On the other hand, the RP should maintain a Fire Safety Log Book to minimize the risk of a fire on their premises. In fact, the fire safety assessment and the fire safety log book are the first things that the fire inspecting authorities will check when they inspect your premises. If these are not in order, your organization is in for some serious trouble with the authorities.
Your fire risk assessment should be written down if your organization employs more than 5 employees. But it is better to document the assessment for easy reference during an inspection by the fire inspecting authorities. The fire risk assessment of your premises must:
- Be documented if you employ more than five employees.
- Be reviewed on a regular basis.
- Record the main findings and the necessary actions to be taken in order to prevent the risk of a sudden fire.
- Indicate whether the premises requires a license due to notices issued by the fire brigade saying that you should do so.
In fact, you don’t have to use the service of a professional fire risk assessor in case you don’t want to do so. But the RP needs to be confident that he could:
- Accurately identify the potential causes of fire on your premises.
- Identify the employees at risk.
- Assess the suitability of the fire safety techniques in place in the organization such as the escape routes and fire alarms.
- Record all the important findings if you employ more than 5 employees.
- Develop an effective fire safety action plan if certain changes are required to the original plan.
- Implement the action plan if required.
- Train staff and conduct regular fire drills in the organization.
- Keep the fire risk assessment updated on an ongoing basis.
In case you don’t maintain a suitable Fire Risk Assessment and fire safety precautions, your organization could be prosecuted with several fines. If extreme negligence is proven, the result would be a prison term. That is why you need to take these regulations seriously and prepare the premises to protect your employees and goods during an emergency fire.
The fire safety laws in the UK reiterates that you should provide appropriate fire-fighting equipment to safeguard the premises during an emergency fire situation. This would mean portable fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and hose reels. In fact, a restaurant is considered a high-risk business under this law. On the other hand, any other business that needs to store chemicals and flammable materials would be considered high-risk businesses in this regard.
Fire safety signs are very important in this regard. Fire signs are mostly overlooked by businesses due to negligence. All businesses will require at least two fire safety signs such as an Extinguisher ID sign and a Fire Action Notice. Fire system alarms may not be necessary if you operate out of a small premise. But high-risk businesses should have fire system alarms properly place on their premises. On the other hand, emergency lighting is another concern in buildings for the purpose of proving light in case the normal lights fail during a fire.
The aforementioned article provides information on the UK fire safety laws.