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What is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?

The Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005 came into force on 1 October 2006, and replaced over 70 separate pieces of fire safety legislation.


Does it affect me?

Yes if you are an employer, owner or occupier of business or industrial premises, or if you have some degree of control over any commercial premises. It also includes blocks of flats and houses of multiple occupation (HMOs).


What do I have to do?

The Order places a duty on a “responsible person” (usually the owner, employer or occupier of business or industrial premises) to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment. Responsible persons under the Order are required, following a Fire Risk Assessment, to implement appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk to life from fire; and to keep the assessment up to date.


Why do I need to train my staff?

(1) The Responsible Person must ensure that their employees are provided with adequate safety training. (2) They must implement appropriate procedures in the event of serious danger and nominate a sufficient number of competent persons to implement those procedures. (3) The Responsible Person must also ensure that their employees are provided with adequate Safety Training which must include sufficient instruction and training on the appropriate precautions and actions to be taken by the employee in order to safeguard themselves and others.
RRO, part 2 Fire Safety Duties.(1) Training 21, (2) Procedures15, (3)Training 21.


What does a Fire Risk Assessment involve?

There are 5 key steps in a Fire Safety Risk Assessment:
  • Identify fire hazards - eg, how could a fire start? what could burn?
  • Consider the people who may be a risk - eg, employees, visitors to the premises, and anyone who may be particularly vulnerable such as children, the elderly and disabled people.
  • Evaluate and act - think about what you have found in steps 1 and 2 and remove and reduce any risks to protect people and premises.
  • Record, plan and train - keep a record of what risks you identified and what actions you have taken to reduce or remove them. Make a clear plan of how to prevent fires and, should a fire start, you will keep people safe. Make sure your staff know what to do in the event of a fire and if necessary that they are trained for their roles.
  • Review - regularly review your Risk Assessment to ensure it remains up to date and reflects and changes that may have occurred.

Can I do it myself?

Yes. We believe that those with the responsibility for premises are likely to be best placed to maintain fire safety precautions and understand and address the risk to lives and property that fire represents to those working there or visiting.

Under the Order, the duty to carry out and implement a Fire Risk Assessment lies with the responsible person. Achieving fire safety is often a matter of common sense, and in many cases there may be no need for specialist or formal knowledge or training, providing the responsible makes enough time available to go through all the necessary steps. In carrying out a Risk Assessment, however, the responsible person may decide that, given the nature of the premises or the people involved, they do not have the necessary competence to discharge their duties under the Order.

In that case, they could choose to appoint one or more “competent” persons to assist him/her. The level of necessary competence is not prescribed in the Order, which recognises that the extent of competency will vary according to the nature and complexity of the premises involved.


What are the benefits to businesses?

The purpose of the Order is to simplify Fire Safety Legislation and reduce the number of enforcing authorities that businesses have to deal with. The Regulatory Impact Assessment carried out before the legislation was introduced estimated that over a 10 year period, ongoing savings to business would be over 380m.


Where can I get help?

Responsible persons can get help and assistance from whoever they think competent to help them, and this includes being able to get advice from their local Fire and Rescue Authority.

Communities and Local Government have produced a series of detailed technical guides for a range of specific types of premises. These are designed to help with the assessment process and provide advice on every aspect of fire safety (eg, training, fire detection systems, emergency escape routes, etc).


Do I need a fire certificate?

No. The Order abolished the requirement for businesses to have fire certificates. However, your old Fire Certificate could contain valuable information to assist with a Fire Risk Assessment.


Will the Fire and Rescue Service inspect my premises?

Probably. Fire and Rescue Authorities as the enforcing authorities for the Order are expected to develop appropriate risk based inspection regimes within the context of their Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). How each Authority carries out its statutory duties is a matter for local discretion.


What happens if I don't comply with the legislation?

Fire and Rescue Authorities will, where necessary, offer support and advice on how best to improve fire safety arrangements. In doing so, they will take account of measures which are proportionate and reasonable to the identified risk.

In cases where a serious risk exists and is not being managed, Fire and Rescue Authorities have a statutory duty to enforce compliance with the Order.

In serious cases, penalties of a fine of up to 5,000 for each offence on summary conviction (in a Magistrates Court) or an unlimited fine or up to two years imprisonment, or both on conviction or indictment in a Crown Court or above.

Further guidance is available at http://www.communities.gov.uk/fire/firesafety/
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