In the good old days, fire and rescue authorities would proactively involve themselves with public businesses to ensure a valid fire certificate was in place.
However, since the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, that has changed. And now, responsibility for complying with the order rests with the ‘responsible person’ or anyone who has a degree of control for the premises/business. Take Stock shows you how to be fire safety conscious…
What do you need to be aware of?
Fire and Rescue Authorities enforce the law, so The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes you responsible for taking steps to protect the people using your premises from the risk of fire.
What legal obligations do you need to comply with?
You must comply with fire safety law and, as far as is reasonably practical, make sure that everyone on the premises, or nearby, can escape safely if there is a fire. As the ‘responsible person’ you are required to assess fire safety risks and put in place measures to reduce the risk of fire and protect people from harm. Under the order you must carry out a fire risk assessment and make an emergency plan.
What is a fire risk assessment and what’s involved?
· Identifies fire hazards
· Identifies and evaluates who might be at risk
· Evaluates the risks and looks at ways of removing or reducing them
· Records significant findings and ensures you have a plan and staff training in place
· Reviews findings when necessary
It is important to remember that fire risk assessment (FRA) is a continuous process and as such must be monitored and audited on a regular basis. New and existing control measures should be maintained to ensure that they are still working effectively i.e. Fire Alarms/Smoke Detection. You can pass this requirement on to a competent person within the premises or an outside specialist company.
What is an emergency plan?
This is specific to your premises and details the pre-planned procedures in place for use in the event of a fire. It must include:
· Action on discovering a fire
· Warning if there is a fire
· Calling the fire brigade
· Evacuation of the premises (including those particularly at risk), places of assembly and roll call
· Liaison with emergency services
· Identification of key escape routes
· The fire fighting equipment provided
· Specific responsibilities in the event of a fire
· Training required
Regardless of the type of premises, the order applies to virtually all and covers nearly every type of building, structure and open space. A FRA and the action you must take to make premises safe are a legal requirement under the order and although fire safety may be easier to manage in small premises such as an office than that of a pub with bigger occupancy, the basic rules remain the same. In small premises, an emergency plan may be as simple as evacuation of the premises and calling the fire brigade as outlined in their FRA. In large premises, it may be a complex management document detailing fire fighting, phased fire alarms/evacuation, calling the emergency services and defining the roles of specific people.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
Failure to comply with the order may initially result in an enforcement notice being issued by the fire authorities. However, placing one or more employees at risk of death or serious injury in case of a fire is a criminal offence in itself! In such cases the authority could prosecute in the courts, which can result in unlimited fines and up to two years in prison.
What training do employers need to give employees?
The responsible person must ensure that all employees are provided with adequate safety training and information about the risks in the premises and should include suitable and sufficient instruction on the appropriate precautions and actions to be taken by the employee in order to safeguard them and other relevant persons on the premises. All staff identified in your emergency plan that have a supervisory role (such as fire marshals) should be given details of your fire risk assessment and receive additional training.
How can a business access training?
There are a number of companies offering certified training, much of it on-line. The best offer tailored packages, allowing you to select how many staff you want trained and how much of the necessary record keeping they handle for you. Always make sure the company you work with is RoSPA and IFE certified.
Cost and frequency of that training?
Training doesn’t have to be expensive. As a guideline, OTC Online Training Courses Ltd typically charge: Half day courses (Per Staff Member) for Basic Fire Safety £85, Full day course (Per Staff Member) for Basic Fire Safety £100 and Certified Online course (Per Staff Member) for Basic Fire Safety £15. Fire Marshal from £99 – £180 for a Half day course, from £140 – £200+ for a full day course and £20 for the Certified Online Course. For Fire Extinguisher Training its £65 – £140 for a Half day, from £100+ for Full day and £20 for certified online training.
On average, an online training course takes one to two hours and can be completed at the users own pace, resulting in less disruption to the workplace than external training. Any training should be easily understandable by staff, explain the duties and responsibilities of staff, be repeated periodically where appropriate and also be:
– Provided to all new employees
– Provided when employees are exposed to new or increased risks i.e. change of responsibilities
– Provided when there is an introduction of new work equipment
Fire safety is just one of many safety issues a business must address to minimise the risk of injury or death to staff or the public. But, unlike most of the other safety concerns, it is fire that has the potential to injure or kill large numbers of people very quickly.
Our thanks to www.on-linetrainingcourses.com for help in this feature. Visit their website for more information or to sign up for a free trial.