When you run a business in the UK today, there are a lot of rules and regulations that you have to abide by. If you are a start-up and have only just got off the ground, you may not even be aware of them all, but nonetheless that apply to you in the same way that they apply to other big businesses. The only difference is that they have a bit more money than you do!
One very important regulation is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This concerns the rules around fire safety, and it applies to all businesses and other non-domestic properties. The law defines non-domestic premises as
- all workplaces and commercial premises
- all premises the public have access to
- the common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings
The “Responsible Person”
If you are an owner, the employer, landlord, an occupier, or anyone else with control of the premises such as a managing agent or building manager, you are classed as the “responsible person”. As such, you have certain legal requirements, one of which is to carry out a fire safety assessment of the premises. This also applies if you have paying guests such as a bed and breakfast or a self-catering property.
Not only do you have to carry out a fire safety assessment, but you have to put in place fire safety measures, plan for an emergency, tell your employees about any fire risk that you have identified, and provide them with fire safety instructions and training. In addition, if you have more than five employees you must keep a written record of your fire risk assessment and also review it regularly. The law does not define “regularly” but most people take it to mean annually.
You should also review your risk assessment when anything changes. For instance, you might switch all the desks around in your office, and this could hamper an escape route.
In order to carry out the fire assessment you need first to identify the fire hazards and people at risk. Obviously, you have to reduce or remove the risks.
The problem for most businessess is that, while certain things may be obvious, there are many other situations that could be a hazard, but which simply don’t come to mind. Fortunately, the law allows you to delegate your risk assessment to a “competent person”. This is why so many businesses choose to use our services at UK-Fire Risk Assessments. It’s what we do.