Fire Risk Legislation

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2006 / Fire (Scotland) Act 2006, introduced in October 2006, replaced the existing Fire Precautions Act 1971, the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 as well as over 100 pieces of specific and local regulations and bylaws. The major change in the legislation was that it brought in the concept of risk assessment rather than prescriptive codes. The order lays out the foundation of the risk assessment by saying that the employer must take into account for the safety of their employees the following matters:
• Means of detection and giving warning in case of fire.
• The provision of means of escape.
• Means of fighting fire.
• The training of staff in fire safety.

The order then tells the employer how they must assess these items in order to protect their employees:
• Carry out a fire risk assessment of your workplace.
• Identify the significant findings of the risk assessment and the details of anyone who might be at risk in case of fire. Under the Management of Health and Safety Regulations, these must be recorded if more than five persons are employed.
• Provide and maintain such fire precautions as are necessary to safeguard those who use your workplace.
• Provide information, instruction and training to your employees about the fire precautions in your workplace.

Fire Risk Assessment
The aim of the fire risk assessment is to minimise risk to life and covers a broad spectrum of fire safety issues including:
• Identification of combustible loading
• Identification of ignition sources
• Identification of oxygen sources
• Means of escape
• Fire detection and communication
• Fire fighting equipment
• Structural precautions
• Fire prevention and management
• Fire brigade access

 

In summary, organisations have a duty to conduct suitable and sufficient fire risk assessments on their property. This must be conducted by competent individuals who have the necessary experience, skills and training and be reviewed on a regular basis or when change to either the building or its users occur. The introduction of new fire legislation will place more extensive responsibilities on organizations to effectively manage fire safety. This will include conducting more comprehensive fire risk assessments. Effective management of fire safety will minimise the risk to life as well avoiding huge financial costs through loss of the premises and litigation.

 

 

 

 

 

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