The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 actually came into effect on 1st October 2006, and requires that all non-domestic premises be assessed for their fire risk. Also, it requires that a competent person be appointed to undertake fire training, along with taking the correct preventative measures such as installing fire safety products as appropriate.
As of 1st October 2006, fire certificates ceased to have legal status.
What You, The Business Owner, Need To Know
The Fire Safety Order requires a depth of fire safety knowledge and responsibility from a business owner, not just a brief visit from the Fire Services.
The Responsible Person
As the owner of a business, you are the ‘responsible person’ who, under law, has a duty of fire safety care towards not only your employees, but also anyone who visits your site. You will need to know what fire risks are posed, what measures you have to protect staff and visitors from fire, what your emergency procedures are, and who your fire marshals are.
Fire Safety Arrangements
The Fire Safety Order requires you, the business manager, to provide and manage:
- Means of Escape
- Signs and Notices
- Emergency Lighting
- Fire Alarm
- Fire Extinguishers
- Fire Doors and Compartments
Fire Risk Assessment
You need to carry out a detailed fire risk assessment for both your premises and business practices, and draw up fire safety policies and procedures
As the responsible person, you are also required to implement and keep records of:
- Fire Procedures, including evacuation
- Staff Training
- Fire Drills
If by now you are beginning to think you’ll spend all your business day (or week, or year) on fire safety, here’s something to consider…
Fire Risk Assessments: A Golden Opportunity For Your Business
The fire risk assessment required for the Fire Safety Order is a great opportunity for business owners to take a good look at exactly how their business operates. Since the fire risk assessment requires you to examine both your premises and your work practices to assess the fire risk they pose, it is an opportunity to examine how your business could actually be improved.
In undertaking the risk assessment, you may discover underused parts of your premises, or work practices that can be reviewed, not only to ensure the safety of your staff, but also potentially improve productivity too.
It’s also worth noting that 70% of businesses which suffer a fire subsequently fail within three years, showing it is a lot harder to recover from a fire than to take action before it is too late.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: How Every Business Can Benefit
The Order covers all premises except domestic properties, so every business type will be affected:
- Offices and shops
- Factories and warehouses
- Community halls
- The common areas of houses with multiple occupancy
- Care homes
- Restaurants, clubs and restaurants
- Hotels and hostels
- Tents and marquees
The major benefit of up-to-date fire risk information is to give you, the business owner, a holistic view of your business. In addition, by appointing a member of staff as your competent person for fire training, you can ensure that fire safety remains a priority within the business, protecting both your staff and your investment.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: Beyond The Paperwork
Since the Fire Safety Order became law, the astute business owner has had access to a wide variety of help in implementing the new requirements. There are numerous free online and printed guides to help you complete your fire risk assessment, or detailed training DVDs and CD-roms that include templates for fire risk checklists and policy documents.
You can bring in a fire risk assessment specialist, who may also train your staff offsite in fire safety skills. You can employ specialist fire safety firms to implement your best fire safety programme in the light of your fire risk assessment. Professional help is out there, just waiting for you to take it.
To help you get started, here are some useful websites and resources:
Free Guides To Fire Risk Assessment
Fire Safety Law and Guidance Documents for Business
Government guides tailored to the needs of different business types, ideal for the responsible person in your organisation with little formal training or experience.
A detailed guide for employers on the law relating to fire issues. Includes a useful flowchart action plan for a risk assessment.
The Government gateway to fire safety issues includes an invaluable pdf self-assessment form to check you have fully complied with the current regulations.