As part of the Government's commitment to reduce death, injury and damage caused by fire, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has reviewed current fire safety law; has made a number of changes through the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO).
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was approved by Parliament on 7 June 2005.
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 have been abolished and cease to have legal status.
The Fire Safety Order will apply in England and Wales. Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own laws.
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 will have to 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.
The new rules are based on the 1997 document "Fire Legislation for the Future" and were developed with stakeholders from the fire industry, unions, business interests and others. A consultation took place in June 2002 with documents being sent out to around 10,000 businesses, government departments, unions, trade bodies and other interested parities.
Responsibility for enforcement of the new rules will be with the local fire and rescue service authority who will carry out regular inspections with top priority going to those premises presenting most risk to the community. They are able to do this within the context of the new Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP), part of the Governmentt's modernisation agenda for the FRS.
For more than 40 years, the fire and rescue service provided cover for fires according to recommended standards. These standards dated back to 1947 and were based on property types within a given area.
Integrated risk management has shifted the focus in planning to put people first, looking at the risks arising from all fires and other emergency incidents, and at the options for reducing and managing them.
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From the main section of the CLG website you can download guides and checklists.
The advanced search (to the right of the main page) allows you to download the right Risk Assessment for your situation.