1.1 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies in England and Wales. 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’. The Fire Safety Order requires fire precautions to be put in place ‘where necessary’ and to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances of the case.
1.2 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 (e.g. a multi-occupied property), all must take reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other.
1.3 If you are the responsible person you must arrange for a fire risk assessment to be carried out by a ‘competent person’ 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 disabled people, those who you know have special needs and young persons and must include consideration of any dangerous substance liable 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.
1.4 There are some other fire safety duties you need to comply with. You must:
- appoint one or more competent persons, depending on the size and use of your premises, to carry out any of the preventive and protective measures required by the Fire Safety Order (you can nominate yourself for this purpose). A competent person is someone with enough training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to be able to implement these measures properly;
- provide your employees with clear and relevant information on the risks to them identified by the fire risk assessment, about the measures you have taken to prevent fires, and how these measures will protect them if a fire breaks out;
- consult your employees (or their elected representatives) about nominating people to carry out particular roles in connection with fire safety and about proposals for improving the fire precautions;
- inform non-employees, such as temporary or contract workers, of the relevant risks to them, and provide them with information about who are the nominated competent persons, and about the fire safety procedures for the premises;
- co-operate and co-ordinate with other responsible persons who also have premises in the building, inform them of any significant risks you find and how you will seek to reduce/ control those risks which might affect the safety of their employees;
- provide the employer of any person from an outside organisation who is working in your premises (e.g. an agency providing temporary staff) with clear and relevant information on the risks to those employees and the preventive and protective measures taken – you must also provide those employees with appropriate instructions and relevant information about the risks to them;
- consider the presence of any dangerous substances and the risk this presents to relevant persons from fire;
- establish a suitable means of contacting the emergency services and provide them with any relevant information about dangerous substances;
- provide appropriate information, instruction and training to your employees, during their normal working hours, about the fire precautions in your workplace, when they start working for you, and from time to time throughout the period they work for you; and
- ensure that the premises and any equipment provided in connection with fire fighting, fire detection and warning, or emergency routes and exits are covered by a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained by a competent person in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
If you are not the employer but have any control of premises which contain more than one workplace, you are also responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the Fire Safety Order are complied with in those parts over which you have control.
2. Quantum Compliance’s Approach
2.1 Quantum Compliance would carry out your fire risk assessments in accordance with the guidance and principles set out in PAS 79 Fire risk assessment – Guidance and a recommended methodology. The fundamental approach is based on the 5 steps of a risk assessment contained in the guides:
Step 1 – Identify fire hazards.
Step 2 – Identify people at risk.
Step 3 – Evaluate, remove, reduce and protect from risk.
Step 4 – Record, plan, inform, instruct and train.
Step 5 – Review
2.2 Your Quantum Compliance consultant would identify the fire hazards on your site as part of the fire risk assessment process. For all the identified hazards, Quantum Compliance has created control standards and during the fire risk assessment visit would make judgements as to how far you are complying (or not) with the control standards. These judgements are made by assessing your existing control measures in place and determining whether they are satisfactory or not.
2.3 Where your Quantum Compliance consultant considers your existing controls to be unsatisfactory i.e. you are not complying with the control standard, they would make recommendations in order to advise you how to either remove the hazard or reduce the risk through improving the level of control.
3. Report Format
3.1 The specific format of the Fire Risk Assessment Report would be bespoke to the client, however, it would include the following:
- Executive Summary – including a summary of the key findings and conclusions.
- Fire Safety Action Plan – containing a prioritised plan detailing any risk improvements.
- Fire Risk Assessment – containing a table of risk ratings by subject.
- Protocol – confirming the fire risk assessment methodology and risk rating and advice priority definitions.
3.2 With specific reference to the Fire Safety Action Plan, advice would be prioritised on the likelihood of enforcement action being taken, i.e. the failure would result in:
- Enforcement Notice being served.
- Warning letter being received.
- Advice being issued.
Quantum Compliance provides the following specialist compliance services: