The primary legal document that deals with fire safety is known as The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Regulations) Order 2005. The Order applies to both England and Wales and is designed to ensure premises are maintained in such a way as to protect people in the event of fire. The Order requires that fire precautions are put in place to ensure that people are safe. The Order expects property owners and occupiers to make sure that their buildings are safe and to maintained to a high standard. So whether you are a school, a church, a small or large business, a retailer, hotel, factory or warehouse – you must manage the risk of fire. The first task you have is to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment. This is a thorough and considered appraisal of your building and its fire safety measures. Many organisations opt to use the services of a specialist fire protection company, such as JCH Safety Ltd, to help them to carry out this assessment. If you choose to carry out the FRA yourself, you must ensure that you are competent to do so. We have written about Fire Risk Assessments on other occasions within our blog. If you want to refresh your memory please click here.
This article is aimed at providing you with a quick reference tool for many of the things you MUST do to comply with The Fire Order. It is not an exhaustive list, but if you are doing all of the below, you are heading in the right direction!
- You must appoint one or more competent persons to assist in undertaking any of the preventive and protective measures required by the Order. It is okay to nominate yourself for this purpose if you are competent to do so. A competent person is someone with enough training, experience and knowledge to be able to implement these measures properly. If you have not received training in this area it is a good idea to consult a professional who can guide you with this. We would be happy to discuss your competency with you if you have any concerns.
- You must provide your staff, volunteers and employees with information on the risks to them identified by the fire risk assessment. So once you or a professional has carried out the FRA, you then need to tell them about the measures you have taken to prevent fires. This includes informing them how these safety controls will protect them if a fire breaks out. In other words, ensure that your team are adequately trained in basic fire awareness. This includes ensuring your team understand the importance of fire doors and the common causes of fire at work. The more complex your organisation, the greater the level of fire awareness training that is required. For many common premises such as churches, schools, offices and retail premises, basic fire awareness training is suitable.
- You must consult your employees: Speak with your team about selecting the right people to carry out particular roles in connection with fire safety such as Fire Marshals and First Aiders. Also consult with your team about any proposals for improving the fire precautions within your premises. Involving your team in fire safety can really help improve fire safety.
- You must inform visitors and non-employees of your organisation or business, of the risks they could face when on your site. These people could include residents, temporary or contract workers, volunteers and guests to your premises. Make sure that you provide them with information about the fire safety procedures for the premises. Many places offer a short induction meeting, leaflets or fire safety notices clearly located around the building. Dependent on the level of risk and the nature of the controls in place will depend on the level of information that you need to provide. JCH Safety can help you with this, if you need some assistance.
- Not all organisations have total control of the building they are in. If you don’t have full control, you must co-operate and co-ordinate with other responsible persons who also have premises in the building. This involves informing them of any significant risks you find within your premises and information about how you will seek to control those risks.
- You must consider dangerous substances. The presence of dangerous substances must be assessed so that there is a clear understanding of the risk they present.
- You must have a plan for contacting the emergency services. It is important that your team know what happens in the event of a fire, how to evacuate and who fulfills what roles during an evacuation. This involves having people to act as Fire Marshals, someone to contact the emergency services and ‘stand-ins’ if they are not available. Make sure you have good emergency planning in place. If you don’t, JCH Safety can help. Always make sure your team are properly trained. JCH Safety offers high quality online Fire Marshal Training as well as classroom style safety training, if you prefer.
- You must ensure that the premises, fire doors and any equipment provided for fire safety, such as firefighting equipment, fire detection and warning, and also emergency routes are well maintained. You must keep them in good working order, well maintained and regularly inspected. Don’t forget to document your inspections and keep good records.
- Your employees must be trained because they have responsibilities to. Make sure that your team know they must co-operate with your organisation to ensure the workplace is safe from fire and its effects. They must not do anything that will place themselves or other people at risk.
If you are doing the above, you are on track. It is important to maintain your premises, control hazards and train staff. If you need any assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch.