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What are employers' fire safety duties?

Employers, building owners and other people responsible for commercial buildings have a duty to put necessary fire safety precautions in place to all reasonable and practicable extents. This is seen in health law under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which applies to all non-domestic properties.

responsible person for fire risk assessment

The 'responsible person' is obliged to comply with the Fire Safety Order. Fire safety risk assessments must take into account the health and safety of all relevant persons, with particular attention given to certain at-risk teams, like children, people with certain mental health problems or learning difficulties, and people with disabilities. It should also consider any hazardous substances that are kept in the building.

fire risk assessment

A fire risk assessment will identify any fire hazards that are present in the premises. It will evaluate any control measures in place and assess if they are adequately controlled. Various supporting documents will be used during the assessment to ensure that the systems in place are industry best practiced and also benchmarked against other premises which are of the same practices. The assessment should be carried out by a competent person and should be suitable and sufficient. A suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment must cover the following:

  • Persons at risk
  • Measures to reduce the risk of fire breaking out or spreading on the premises
  • Means of escape from the premises in the event of a fire
  • Measures for ensuring that the means of escape can be safely and effectively used at all times
  • Means for fighting fires on the premises;
  • Means for detecting fire and giving warning in case of fire on the premises;
  • Arrangements for action to be taken in the event of a fire, including the instruction and training of employees, plus measures to minimise the effects of the fire.

These are to name but a few of the items covered during the fire risk assessment.

fire risk assessment

How can we help you!

We have been carrying out fire risk assessments to a very high standard since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was made into law on 7 June 2005 and came into force on 1 October 2006 it requires the Responsible Person (RP) of any non-domestic premises to carry out a fire risk assessment. We ensure that all of our fire risk assessments are carried out fully qualified and competent fire risk assessors. This results in suitable and sufficient assessments of the fire risks to which a person could be exposed and the identification of general fire precautions to ensure compliance and good practice. Commitment to high standards of fire safety for our clients means that whilst we work to comply with relevant legislation, we also take steps to introduce good practice over and above the legal duty, as this is only the minimum requirement.

We provide a highly personal approach to all our service with:

  • A single point of contact, no call centres
  • Bespoke Health and Safety policy and documentation
  • National coverage of highly qualified Health, Safety consultants that are employed by us, not subcontracted
  • 24/7 support, no answer phones

fire risk assessment services

NEED A FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT CARRIED OUT BY ONE OF OUR COMPETENT ASSESSORS CONTACT BMS FOR EXPERT ADVICE. WE’RE HERE TO HELP AND MAKE YOU SAFER!

Contact Us

Phone: 01761 233815 or 07714 432292 | Email: info@brunelmanagement.co.uk | Web: www.brunelmanagement.co.uk

Sectors we undertake fire risk assessments in.

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Transport
  • Accommodation
  • Disabled persons
  • Factories
  • Office and Shops
  • Theatre and Cinema
  • Residential Care
  • Stables and Animals
  • Open Air Venues

 

house fire

Case study 1

Company fined for ignoring safety rules following massive factory fire

A business in Gwent, South Wales, has been ordered to pay a fine of £30,000 after admitting to ignoring fire safety laws following a massive blaze at a factory.The fire at Brick Fabrication Limited required the intervention of 14 fire appliances and 58 firefighters to bring it under control.

An investigation into the blaze found a number of dangerous safety practices.

Inspectors found that a fire risk assessment had been completed around two years before the fire but some significant findings were not acted upon. One of the major findings was to fit the automatic fire detection system.

This would have given an earlier warning to some workers in the canteen who were unaware the fire had broken out and had to escape under smoke and flames.

The court also heard how the company had not reviewed its fire risk assessment, did not have the correct fire safety arrangements in place which would have identified that all the significant findings of the risk assessment had not been acted upon.

Brick Fabrication admitted to eight offences, receiving fines totalling £22,000, as well as an additional penalty of being ordered to pay fire service costs totalling £8,635.

The company also pleaded guilty to not providing adequate fire safety training for employees.

Steve Rossiter Head of Business Fire Safety at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said, “A fire risk assessment is at the heart of the fire safety legislation, it provides information that enable business owners and persons’ with responsibility to maintain a safe premise. In this case there was a total disregard for what are critical fire safety provisions, such as providing a basic fire alarm. When employees have to run under smoke and flames to escape from a building there is something seriously wrong”.

He added: "It is pleasing that the courts acknowledge such failures as significant and they have imposed fines to reflect this. This enables the Fire and Rescue Service to pass a strong message to its business community. Our approach is to support businesses to protect themselves, so they continue operating whilst supporting the local economy; however, we cannot and will not turn a blind eye when faced with such poor fire safety provisions”.

Case study 2

Business Operator Fined for Placing Employees at Risk of Fire

Business operator has been prosecuted for failing to provide suitable fire safety arrangements for its employees at an industrial unit in Didcot.

Business World Globe Ltd and its director Mr Mohamed Osman were together ordered to pay just under £14000 after they allowed employees to work and sleep in dangerous factory conditions at Unit B High Street/Hitchcock Way Didcot OX11 7LW.

Fire Safety Inspectors from Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service issued a Prohibition Notice restricting use of the premises after an inspection found the dangerous practices and inadequate fire safety measures to ensure the safety of the workforce.

Mr Osman, the company Director, admitted seven charges for seven different offences at Oxford Magistrates Court on 1st February 2016. These included, failure to risk assess and take such general fire precautions as were reasonably required to ensure the premises were safe for employees. Failure to ensure that emergency exits were kept clear at all times, so it was possible for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and as safely as possible. Failure to provide an adequate fire alarm and detection system, or providing employees with adequate safety training, all of which meant those present were placed at risk of death or serious injury if there were a fire.

The fines amounted to almost £9000, they were also ordered to pay costs totalling £5000, plus a victim surcharge of £126 and the Prohibition Notice remains in force.

The case was taken to court by Oxfordshire County Council on behalf of its Fire and Rescue Service.

Stuart Garner, Premises Risk and Protection Manager for Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which is enforced by the Fire Authority, places a requirement upon the responsible person, usually the building occupier, operator or owner, to firstly undertake a fire risk assessment and secondly act upon the outcomes of their significant findings. It is important that businesses not only understand why such an assessment must be initially undertaken, but also by constantly reviewing and managing their premises, how they can then assist me in creating a safer Oxfordshire.

“By correctly managing their premises and not committing fire safety offences, business operators can avoid placing the occupants at risk of possible death or serious injury in the event of fire. Thus, when the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service do undertake a routine fire safety audit of the premises, it is unlikely that such offences will be discovered and any need for legal proceedings being instigated against the responsible person is eliminated”.

Case study 3

Landlady hit with £160,000 fire safety fine after fatal house blaze

A landlady has been fined £160,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 prosecution costs for breaking fire safety laws following a fatal fire in one of the Hounslow properties she rented out.

Surinder Rana was found guilty of four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was sentenced on Friday (1 May) at Kingston Crown Court.

The fire occurred shortly after 5am, on 8, August 2011 at 41 Cromwell Road, which was a house in multiple occupation (HMO) containing 10 people. Four fire engines and 20 firefighters were called to tackle the blaze which affected the ground floor, first floor and loft.

A number of people managed to escape the first floor of the property but one of the residents – Mr Sukhi Singh - was found in the heavily smoke logged kitchen on the ground floor. He was taken to hospital where he died shortly afterwards.

London Fire Brigade fire safety inspectors visited the house the same day and found a number of fire safety breaches including: that it wasn’t possible for people to evacuate the premises quickly and safely

  • no fire detectors or smoke alarms
  • no firefighting equipment
  • that no proper fire risk assessment was in place for the property

Following the inspection of the property and the neighbouring house, also owned by Mrs Rana and used as an HMO, the Brigade issued a prohibition notice, preventing their use as residential accommodation until they had been fitted with suitable fire separation, adequate fire detection and emergency lighting.

Speaking after the sentencing London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Neil Orbell said: “Landlords have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe from fire and if they are ignoring those responsibilities and putting the people living in their properties at risk we will not hesitate to prosecute.

“The sentence handed down to Mrs Rana is a stark reminder to landlords that the court’s take fire safety as seriously as we do and that the penalties for ignoring it are severe.”

Brunel Management Services

Your fire safety risk assessment is not a one-off procedure and should be reviewed regularly. If the findings of the assessment are considered to be no longer valid, assessment has expired, there has been a significant change to the premises, personal, change of work undertaken the fire risk assessment should be reviewed straight away.

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