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24 June 2021

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Safe as houses? Risk Management and Fire Safety

The Background.

Following changes in legislation in 2005, if you own, manage or operate a business, you need to comply with fire safety law, specifically the introduction of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (FSO) and Fire (Scotland) Act, which came into effect in October 2006.

The FSO applies to almost all buildings, places and structures including shared houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), blocks of flats and maisonettes. The FSO places a duty on a ‘responsible person’ to carry out a fire risk assessment (FRA) to ensure that the premises meet the required standards and provide adequate fire safety training to employees.

What’s required?

  • A systematic risk assessment-based approach to Fire Safety with findings recorded.
  • Fire Certificates are no longer necessary; however, the Fire and Rescue Service may still inspect the premises to ensure adequate fire precautions are in place and will have the power to issue Improvement and Prohibition Notices where necessary.
  • A Responsible Person should be appointed to ensure the safety of employees and others not in his employment and to complete or manage the completion of the FRA
  • The FRA should identify measures necessary to reduce the risk of death and injury to employees and others in the course of his/her employment at the premises, giving particular consideration to vulnerable groups including the elderly, infirm, the young and those with disabilities.
  • The FRA should also identify fire safety hazards which could affect members of the public, visitors to the premises, contractors working on site and also fire fighters.
  • Hazards identified should be eliminated or reduced, particularly in respect of any hazardous or dangerous substances present.
  • Where hazardous or dangerous features cannot be eliminated, effective controls are to be considered, ensuring all persons affected receive appropriate information, instruction and training.
  • Provisions for firefighting, fire detection, emergency lighting and escape routes/doors at the premises, including maintenance of equipment and systems should be provided.
  • The FRA should be regularly reviewed and updated to take account of changes to the premises, processes and operations

“Fire safety is of the utmost importance in any premises. A suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment backed up with appropriate fire safety controls will not only ensure that persons inside the building will be able to evacuate safely in the event of a fire incident, it will also help to reduce the risk of a fire starting in the first place, thus protecting the building and other assets.” Keith Marlow, Dip CII TechIOSH CBCI, Risk Management Division Manager

Keith Marlow Dip CII TechIOSH CBCI

Risk Management Division Manager

keith Marlow LinkedIn

Additional Sources:

Useful information about the fire safety guidance can be found on the Government’s website, along with The Health and Safety Executive website.

More information about our Risk Management division can be found here