New Fire Regulations (Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order) - What the Law Says

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FIRE SAFETY LAW AND GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS FOR BUSINESS
New fire safety rules affecting all nondomestic premises in England, Wales and Scotland came into force on 1st October 2006. If you are:
o Responsible for business premises
o An employer
o Self-employed with business premises
o A charity or voluntary organisation
o A contractor with a degree of control over
any premises
...then you will need to NOW!

CHANGES TO FIRE SAFETY LAW: ABOUT THE REFORMS
As part of the Government's commitment to reduce death, injury and damage caused by fire, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has reviewing fire safety law; and is making a number of changes which are designed to make the law easier to understand and comply with. These changes form the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) in England and Wales while in Scotland they form a part of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005. The changes set out in the RRFSO will apply to non-domestic premises only.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO)
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was approved by Parliament on 7th June 2005, and will become law on 1st October 2006.

What does this mean for me?
The main effect of the changes will be a move towards greater emphasis on fire prevention in all non-domestic premises, including the voluntary sector and self-employed people with premises separate from their homes.

Fire certificates will be abolished and will cease to have legal status.
The Fire Safety Order covers 'general fire precautions' and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect 'relevant persons' in case of fire in and around most 'premises'. The Order requires fire precautions to be put in place "where necessary" and to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances of the case. Responsibility for complying with the Fire Safety Order will rest with the 'responsible person'. In a workplace, this is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, e.g. the occupier or owner. In all other premises the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more than one responsible person in any type of premises, all must take all reasonable steps to work with each other. If you are the responsible person you will have to carry out a fire risk assessment which must focus on the safety in case of fire of all relevant persons'. It should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as the disabled and those with special needs, and must include consideration of any dangerous substance likely to be on the premises. Your fire risk assessment will help you identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the nature and extent of the general fire precautions you need to take to protect people against the fire risks that remain. If you employ five or more people you must record the significant findings of the assessment.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the fire safety reform order?
It will be a consolidation of nearly all existing fire safety legislation.

Who will it affect?
Primarily employers and building owners but it could be anyone who has some control over premises.

What will I have to do?
Mainly, carry out a fire risk assessment and act on the findings.

I have a fire certificate? will that be enough?
No. Fire certificates will no longer be valid. However a fairly recent fire certificate will be a good starting point for your fire risk assessment.

Will fire precautions have to be improved? / Will it cost me anything?
(Answer for both) Yes and No! If you are already fully complying with existing legislation then it should be fairly simple. If you have not kept your fire precautions up to date there may be some additional areas to look at.

Will the Fire and Rescue Service still inspect my premises?
In some cases yes, particularly in higher risk premises. But they cannot carry out your fire risk assessment for you.

How can I find out more?
Either e-mail regulations@chancellor.co.uk or phone us on 01270758775 and we will do our best to help. If you buy our Fire Risk Assessment pack you will be very well equipped to ensure you comply.