REGULATORY REFORM (FIRE SAFETY) ORDER 2005
The regulatory reform order will become law in October 2006 and this will have major implications for how fire safety is controlled in premises by both occupiers and the Fire Authorities.
Each premises must have a "suitable and sufficient" fire risk assessment completed by a competent person. Where the premises have five or more employees, then a record must be made of the significant findings.
Profire Services can conduct a full fire risk assessment of your premises, by assessors who are members of the Institute of Fire Prevention Officers, associates of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management and experienced ex fire service officers, to establish your current situation within the following areas:-
- Combustible, Flammable and Ignition Hazards
- Electrical Safety Hazards
- Active and Passive Fire Protection
- Evacuation and Escape Routes
- Fire Warning System
- Emergency Lighting System
- Fire Fighting Equipment
- Staff Training
- Arson Preparedness
- Contractors and Visitors
- Management Systems and Record Keeping
The Common Sense View
A fire risk assessment (which is a statutory requirement), should provide detailed and carefully considered information concerning the risks, hazards, protective measures, etc both in-place and required at a premises.
A fire risk assessment considers factors far and away outside the scope of a 5306-8 survey. For example, it considers carefully the nature of the premises, the occupants (and those especially at risk from fire), the hazards, the fire loss experience, the fire protection measures and how fire-safety is actually managed. All of these factors have a big bearing on the deciding of an appropriate level of cover.
Requirements in BS 5306-8:2000
BS 5306-8:2000 is littered with requirements concerning risk assessments:
Introduction: “Because of the need to consider the total fire protection of a building, this code of practice assumes that a fire risk assessment has first been carried out on the premises and that the locations, types and consequences of possible fires have been identified.”
Section 4.1 “… [A] Fire risk assessment should be carried out. The conclusions of this study should be used to decide upon the provision of portable fire extinguishers which will be needed.”
Section 5.1 – “Portable fire extinguishers should be provided for dealing with any potential classes of fire identified in the risk assessment”.
Section 6.2 – “This basic scale is applicable to a wide range of occupancies, but additional extinguishers should be provided at locations where the likelihood of fire is above average, or where a fire would be particularly intense. These cases can be identified if a full risk assessment is carried out.
Statutory Duty to Provide Information
Where contractors are nominated to provide “safety assistance” the responsible person must ensure that “the means at their disposal are adequate” and that they are “informed of the factors known or suspected by [the responsible person] to affect the safety in respect of harm caused by fire of any other person”. Refer to section 18 of the RRFSO, or, for Scotland, section 17 of the FSSR. The simplest way to achieve this we would suggest is through the provision of a risk assessment.
In any event, there are provisions applicable to all contractors: the responsible person “must ensure that any person working in [the responsible person’s] undertaking who is not [the responsible person’s] employee is provided with appropriate instructions and comprehensible and relevant information regarding any risks to that person”. Refer to paragraph 2 of section 20 of the RRFSO, or, for Scotland, section 19 of the FSSR. Again, the simplest way to achieve this we would suggest is through the provision of a risk assessment.
Legislation in both cases provides for stringent penalties for breaches.
As with all such things, there are also the usual secondary implications for any breach including insurance breaches, secondary legislative breaches, etc, etc.
A full report is prepared identifying any areas of concern. This is followed up by the production of an Action Plan, giving recommendations for improvement and prioritising the work required.