The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the responsible person in any non-domestic building or premises the public has access to, to carry out a building fire risk assessment and take all necessary steps to reduce or eliminate the risk of fire.
Non-domestic premises are defined as:
- all workplaces and commercial premises
- all premises the public have access to
- the common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings
In buildings which are shared, such as an office block with several firms who have offices in it, there will be more than one responsible person, and in this case, it is necessary to work together and co-ordinate fire safety plans to make certain that people in or around the building are safe. Where there are common or shared areas, such as, for example, a common reception area to an office block, the responsible person would be the landlord, freeholder, or managing agent.
When carrying out a building fire risk assessment, it is necessary to take a number of things into consideration. You need to have emergency routes and exits for people to be able to escape in the case of a breakout of fire, fire detection and warning systems, and appropriate fire fighting equipment. So, you will need a fire alarm system, to include smoke and heat alarms, and the right type of fire extinguishers in the appropriate positions.
You also need appropriate signage so that people can easily see where the exit routes and doors are. You have to bear in mind that you may have people on the premises who have never been into them before if, for example, you have a retail store. You also need to consider the needs of vulnerable people such as the elderly, disabled, or young children.
Fire Safety Training For Your Employees
You must also create a fire evacuation plan and provide information to employees and other people on the premises, and you need fire safety training for your employees. If you employ five or more people, you also need to keep a written record of your findings and any or all things that have been done as a result. In addition, you need to review your fire risk assessment on a regular basis in order to check that it is still up to date.
You also need to review the assessment if you make changes to your premises. For instance, you may move desks around in your office or install safety screens, or perhaps move machinery around on a factory floor, and this could have the effect of blocking what was previously an escape route. Where you have fire doors, these must never be wedged open for any reason.
All of this can be quite complicated if you feel that you do not have the necessary skills. Indeed, in most instances, people who may be the responsible person may not have those skills. In this case, the law allows you to appoint a competent person to undertake the fire risk assessment for you.
At UK-Fire Risk Assessments, we can send a fire risk assessor to carry out the assessment for you and provide you with the written report that you need, along with any or all recommendations, so that you can be comfortable in the knowledge that you are compliant with the law.