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The Fire Safety Order – simplified

Do you find the Fire Safety Act daunting?

Or do you just need a quick refresh of the main points? If so, then read our summary of the Fire Safety Act below. This will help determine if your workplace is compliant with fire safety legislation.

What is the Fire Safety Act?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, also known more commonly as the Fire Safety Act, is an order that states that anyone with responsibility for a business must ensure reasonable steps are taken to ensure the risk of fire is reduced and that in the event of a fire, people can escape safely.

Almost every type of building, structure or public space is subject to the order. It does not, however, apply to domestic dwellings, unless it is a HMO (house of multiple occupancy).

What are the Requirements of the Act?

First and foremost, a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment needs completing. A Fire Risk Assessment will evaluate the condition of your premises, the contents of the building to identify potential fire hazards, sources of ignition and combustible materials, and the escape routes in the event of a fire.

The assessment should also take into consideration who works in the building and where, current fire safety signage, existing protocols for fire prevention and management, and fire safety equipment onsite including its condition and maintenance. The Fire Industry Association recommend you update your FRA every three years to stay compliant with fire safety regulations.

Once a risk assessment has been undertaken, the next thing to consider is how any identified risks can be reduced, or if possible, completely removed. Usual fixes includes:

•  Replacing highly flammable materials with less flammable ones

•  Eliminating ignition sources from areas where flammable materials are present

•  Implementing a safe smoking policy

•  As an absolute minimum, the following must be considered during a risk assessment

Fire Detection and Alarm Systems – It is absolutely vital that a business premises has a suitable fire detection and alarm system. This system should have the ability to warn all people in the building of a fire in any circumstance.

Methods of Fighting a Small Fire – Fire extinguishers should be present in the building. As a rule of thumb it’s advisable to have one extinguisher per 200 metre squared (m2).

Escape routes are also another crucial point to consider. It is imperative that all escape routes are easily accessible and unobstructed at all times.

Am I Responsible for Meeting the Order?

Anyone with control over a business premises is responsible for ensuring the order is met.

Those who possess control include: The employer for those parts of premises staff may go to;

• The managing agent or owner for shared parts of premises or shared fire safety equipment such as fire-warning systems or sprinklers;

• The occupier, such as self-employed people or voluntary organisations if they have any control; or

• Any other person who has some control over a part of the premises.

So, Does my Workplace Meet the Order?

We hope this summary helps you to understand if your workplace is meeting the requirements of the Fire Safety Act.

You must ensure that all the fire safety equipment in your workplace is fully operational and in perfect working order, so in the event of a fire you and your colleagues minimise the risk of damage and loss of life as much as possible.

This article was originally published on the Assured Fire & Security Blog

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