The Regulatory Reform puts forth certain responsibilities that must be complied with. Although these responsibilities may vary depending on the type of business, the size of the premises and other factors, these responsibilities generally include:
- Ensuring that the premises meet the required standards for reducing fire risks and hazards. The standards may differ for each premises.
- Sufficient fire safety training is provided for all employees.
- Fire Risk Assessment.
Fire Safety Training
Fire safety training must cover the following categories:
- An induction into general fire awareness.
- Training with regards to specific fire risks that exist on the premises as well as refresher courses should changes be made that increase or change the fire risks.
- Training for the "responsible person/s" in charge of the Fire Risk Assessment and fire safety on the premises.
- Special training to develop skill for any employees who take on a fire safety role such as a fire warden and how to use fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers.
Fire Risk Assessment
The Fire Risk Assessment forms a very important part of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. A competent person within the business must be chosen to run the Fire Risk Assessment and is referred to as the responsible person. The primary purpose of the fire risk assessment is to identify any fire risks or hazards that exist on the premises. Over and above this, the responsible person must also:
- Identify any employees that may be at extra risk.
- Provide a general plan for fire precautions as well as procedures to be followed to prevent a fire.
- Outline and implement any steps that can be taken to reasonably reduce fire risks and hazards.
- Take additional precautions where any flammable or explosive materials on the premises are concerned.
- Create an emergency fire safety plan in the event of a fire.
The Fire Risk Assessment is not a once off process and needs to be constantly updated and reviewed by the responsible person. A record of the assessments must be kept in any business that has 5 or more employees although it is recommended to do so for smaller businesses as well.
It is also necessary to take into consideration all people that are on the premises at any given point in time. This includes employees, visitors, the general public, contractors, etc. Provisions must be made for these people in the fire safety plan and precautions.
Although the Fire Risk Assessment can be carried out by another person (other than the responsible person) the responsible person will still be held accountable for the fire risk assessment being performed, the findings as well as taking the necessary precautions to reduce fire risks and hazards.
In the case where the business is operated in a building or forms part of another premises, the responsible person must work in conjunction with the person responsible for fire safety in the building or other parts of the premises. They need to be made aware of fire risks or hazards that exist in other parts of the building as well as provide information on any risks as well as precautions that exist as part of their business operation.
Some fire safety precautions that should be implemented include:
- Placement of easily accessible fire extinguishers.
- Installing smoke detectors and alarms.
- Ensuring that all fire escape doors are clear and easily accessible.
- Disposing of combustible materials such as papers, cartons, packaging materials, etc.
- Banning smoking and other activities that are considered to be fire hazards.
- Ensuring that all flammable, combustible or explosive materials are stored properly.
- Identifying all ignition sources and taking steps and precautions to reduce the risk of fire.
The local fire brigade may arrive to inspect the premises at which the Fire Risk Assessment as well as emergency fire safety plan should be presented.