A Guide To Fire Safety For Businesses In The UK

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 03:42 am

Most fires at workplaces are preventable. If you operate a business in the United Kingdom, you should appoint a responsible person to take the necessary steps in order to prevent the risk of fire in your organisation. In fact, “The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order Of 2005” – which was implemented from 1st October 2006 – states that a business should appoint a Responsible Person (RP) to carry out a fire risk assessment in the respective organisation. This assessment should include measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of fire as well as identify the people at risk. If the business employs more than five employees, they should maintain a record with the significant findings of the fire assessment. Here is a guide to fire safety for businesses in the United Kingdom.

What Are The Main Rules Of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order Of 2005?

  • The business should carry out a fire risk assessment that identifies all possible dangers and risks.
    The assessment should consider the people who are especially at risk.
  • The business should take immediate steps to get rid or reduce the risk from fire in the organisation. On the other hand, they should provide general fire precautions in order to deal with any possible risk left.
  • Take appropriate measures to ensure the protection of the employees, visitors, customers, business premises, and machinery in case the business stores or uses flammable or explosive materials.
  • The business should create a plan to deal with a fire emergency and keep records of the findings. Keeping records of the findings of the fire risk assessment is mandatory if the business employs more than five employees.
  • The business should review these findings as and when the necessity arises.

Who Will Be Responsible For Meeting The Order?

The business should appoint a Responsible Person (RP) to deal with the fire risk assessment. Anyone who has control of the business premises or a person who is appointed by the authorities can take responsibility for the process. In fact, the RP can be:

  • An employer responsible for the premises where employees and visitors gather.
  • The managing agent or the owner of the premises.
  • The occupier – for self-employed people.
  • Any other person who has control over the premises.

There are times when there is a number of people responsible for the fire risk assessment process.

How You Should Meet The Order?

If you have been appointed as the responsible person (RP), you should carry out a fire risk assessment in the business premises. Even though you may pass the task to a competent person, you will be responsible by law to meet the order since you have been appointed as the RP. The RP should see that everyone on the premises can safely escape if there is a sudden fire. The most important thing is to consider every individual on the premises at the specific moment – whether they are employees, members of the public, or just visitors. You should pay special attention to people who are having a disability or those who need special assistance under such circumstances. The order states that the responsible person to manage any fire risk on the premises. Even your premises has been built in line with modern building regulations, it is mandatory that you conduct a fire risk assessment.

What Is A Fire Risk Assessment?

There are five major steps to a fire risk assessment. Here are the five important steps in a fire risk assessment:

Step 1 – Identifying the hazards within your business premises.

  • Identify sources of ignition such as heaters, naked flames, and any commercial process.
  • Identify sources of fuel such as textiles, built-up waste, overstocked products, and display materials.
  • Identify sources of oxygen such as air conditioning, commercial or medicinal oxygen supplies.

Step 2 – Identifying the people at risk in the organisation.

  • People who work in and around the premises.
  • People who are really at a risk at the moment.

Step 3 – Evaluate, protect, reduce, or remove the threat of fire.

  • Evaluate the risk of a fire starting in the organisation.
  • Reduce or remove fire hazards.
  • Provide precautions and protect people in the organisation.
  • Replace highly flammable materials with less flammable materials.

Step 4 – Record the findings in a register. This is mandatory if your organisation employs more than five employees.

  • Record the major findings of the assessment and the actions you have taken.
  • Prepare an emergency plan for the organisation.
  • Provide the necessary fire training to other employees.

Step 5 – Review

  • Review the fire risk assessment on a regular basis and make changes when necessary.

A fire risk assessment is mandatory for all business premises in the United Kingdom. The aforementioned is a guide to fire safety for businesses in the United Kingdom.

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