Fire safety laws – A simple guide
UK fire safety laws can be very confusing, and baffle even the most competent business owner. According to Gov.uk, between 2015 and 2016, over 16,000 non-domestic building fires were attended to across the UK. 21 of these resulted in fire related fatalities and over 1,000 resulted in fire related casualties.
We’ve created a simple guide to the UK’s fire safety laws, to help businesses comply with legislation and avoid prosecution, should the worst happen.
Simon Millward, our director said, “We often meet with clients who are baffled by the UK’s fire safety laws, and where they stand in terms of safety assessments, so we have created a simple guide which explains the most important things that business owners should consider when it comes to being compliant.”
S2 Fire Solutions’ simple guide to UK fire safety laws:
Fire risk assessment
Businesses can face hefty penalties by neglecting fire risk assessments, from prosecution and severe fines to prison sentences. It’s a huge part of UK fire safety laws, so it’s important that businesses cover themselves for the worst case scenario. All businesses must carry out a fire risk assessment, and we suggest that businesses always bring in the professionals to do so.
What is classed as a ‘non-domestic’ premises?
Anything from workplaces and commercial premises, premises that involve public access and common areas of residential buildings are classed as non-domestic areas. If there is any confusion about who would be responsible for making sure a building is compliant with UK law, then it’s worth giving the experts a call.
Who is responsible?
Are you are an employer, owner, landlord or in control of a non-domestic premises? You will be, by law, recognised as the ‘responsible person’ in charge of all fire safety for the property. This also applies if you own a guesthouse, hotel etc.
What are they responsible for?
The designated ‘responsible person’ should ensure that they are aware of what they should be doing. The role of the ‘responsible person’ is to:
– Carry out or have fire risk assessments of the premises put in place
– Inform staff/co-workers about the risks identified
– Maintain fire safety measures implemented in the premises
– Make plans for emergency evacuations
– Provide fire safety training
What is needed
Regularly reviewed and updated fire risk assessments must be carried out on a business premises. This is the duty of the designated ‘responsible person’ in the business. If a business has more than five people on its premises, its necessary to keep a written record of a fire risk assessment. When carrying out the assessment, the ‘responsible person’ must:
– Identify any fire hazards, and any persons at risk
– Make efforts to remove and/or reduce any possible risks
– Ensure that any findings are recorded
– Create a fool-proof emergency plan and provide appropriate training/drills
– Ensure that the fire risk assessment is maintained and updated regularly
Some things to consider
To complete a fire risk assessment without the help of an expert, the ‘responsible person’ must consider the following:
– Emergency exits and routes, and a comprehensible fire evacuation plan
– Fire detection/warning systems and alarms
– Firefighting equipment, such as fire extinguishers that are appropriate for the building’s use
– Safe storage and removal of hazardous substances
– Special measures where there are vulnerable, young, elderly or disabled persons
– Fire safety training for designated staff
When to call the experts
Technically, a fire safety assessment can be carried by the ‘responsible person’ within a business, without the help of an expert. However, it’s worth considering that should a fire occur and injure or kill anyone within the premises, then the ‘responsible person’ will have to account for what happened. This means potentially facing the consequences of any oversights or bad decisions. It’s worth keeping in mind that local fire and rescue services may be able to give their advice, but wont carry out a risk assessment for a business.
We’re independent fire alarm specialists with extensive knowledge of obsolescent & fibre networking systems. With over 20 years in the fire alarm industry, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive knowledge of fire alarm systems.
If you need some assistance with becoming fully compliant – please don’t hesitate to give us a call!