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The Fire Safety Order 2005

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was approved by Parliament on 7 June 2005 and came into force in October 2006.

It has replaced all the existing fire safety legislation and will have an impact on all employers, owners, occupiers and self-employed businesses. There are very few exceptions from having to comply with the new regulations.

It will apply in England and Wales, with Northern Ireland and Scotland having their own laws. It covers 'general fire precautions' and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect 'relevant persons' in case of fire in and around most premises.

Background

Currently there are over 100 pieces of legislation dating from 1947 – 1999 which have an impact on fire safety. Many firms have to comply with one or more of these which can cause confusion and conflict.

To simplify this, Industry, the Government and the Fire & Rescue Services have streamlined all the legislation into one document. It is a much simpler piece of legislation to follow. It firmly places the responsibility for all fire safety matters with not only the employer, but also the owner of a building (who may not be the employer) and other persons who are responsible for the building.

Key Issues

The main effect of the changes will be a move towards greater emphasis on fire prevention in all non-domestic premises, including the voluntary sector and self-employed people with premises separate from their homes.

Fire certificates has been abolished and cease to have legal status.

The Order requires fire precautions to be put in place where necessary and as far as is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances of the case.

Responsibility for complying with the Fire Safety Order rests with the 'responsible person'.

In a workplace, this is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, e.g. the occupier or owner. In all other premises the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more than one responsible person in any type of premises, all must take all reasonable steps to work with each other.

If you are the responsible person you must carry out a fire risk assessment which must focus on the safety in case of fire of all 'relevant persons'. It should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as the disabled and those with special needs, and must include consideration of any dangerous substance likely to be on the premises.

Your fire risk assessment will help you identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the nature and extent of the general fire precautions you need to take to protect people against the fire risks that remain.

If you employ five or more people you must record the significant findings of the assessment.

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