If you own or manage a business in the United Kingdom, you should make it a point to comply with the UK fire safety laws. The main law in this regard is the “the Fire Safety Order” or the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005. This law came into effect on 1st October 2006 and is applied across England and Wales. In fact, this law is enforced across all structures and buildings in England and Wales other than private homes such as individual flats in a block or family homes. On the other hand, the other areas that are covered by the law include blocks of flats, maisonettes, and shared areas in houses in multiple occupations (HMOs). This article provides information on the UK fire safety laws.
As a business owner or manager, you have certain responsibilities to fulfill under the fire safety law. In fact, you should ensure that your premise complies with the required standards stated by the law. Your employees should also be provided with adequate fire safety training to counter any type of fire threat in your office or commercial building.
What Does “Adequate Fire Safety Training” Means?
The meaning of adequate fire safety training may vary from business to business. But it should include:
- An induction training to provide fire awareness to your employees. All employees responsible for fire safety should have an awareness of what a fire risk is and how to prevent such a risk. On the other hand, even the employees who are not assigned any fire safety duties should be given an awareness of fire and how to steer clear of any fire risk in your organization.
- You should provide extra training or periodic refresher training as an when the fire risk increases in your premises due to certain changes in your overall operations.
- You should keep the “responsible people” up to date with the latest safety trends in the industry. All responsible employees should be trained in order to meet their fire safety duties.
- Training your employees to build appropriate skills such as the use of fire extinguishers, fire warden, and fire risk assessments.
What About Fire Risk Assessments?
If you are responsible for commercial premises, you should ensure that a competent person has completed a fire risk assessment. Carrying out a fire risk assessment is mandatory for all business operations in England and Wales. In fact, a detailed fire risk assessment should be carried out by a competent person in your organization by identifying the hazards and risks in the building. If your organization employs more than five people, the assessment should be recorded. On the other hand, the competent person is also responsible for:
- Taking the necessary steps to safeguard all the employees who are especially at risk of a fire attack.
- Provide all the general fire precautions to deal with such a risk.
- Eliminate or reduce the risk of a fire as far as possible.
- Take immediate steps to guarantee the safety of the employees who deal with explosive or flammable materials. He or she should also ensure the safety of the premises where these items are used or stored.
- Create a plan to deal with all kinds of fire emergencies in the premises. The competent person to record all the findings where necessary.
- Maintain the necessary fire precautions and facilities needed for use by firefighters in a real emergency situation.
- Keep all findings of the fire risk assessment under review.
There are many other important things to consider when fire-proofing your business premises. Some of them include:
- Design safe exit routes for employees and customers to leave the premises during a fire emergency.
- The stairways and corridors near the fire escape routes should be kept free of obstructions and materials that can easily catch fire. The escape route should lead to a safe place outside the building.
- Make sure to consider whether you need emergency lighting in the building.
- Use fire safety signs on the premises to make the employees aware of the threat.
- Devise a management system to implement all the fire safety systems effectively.
The aforementioned article provides information on the UK fire safety laws.