Fire safety legislation in the United Kingdom applies to virtually all non-domestic premises and covers nearly every type of building, structure and open space, such as:
Fire safety legislation does not apply to:
The Responsible Person or Duty Holder is commonly responsibility for compliance with the legislation. Generally, the overall Responsible Person (RP), or Primary Duty Holder in Scotland (PDH), is the person who has control of the premises, be they the building owner, the landlord, or the employer.
The RP / PDH has a key statutory duty to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment of the premises under their control. The Fire Risk Assessment’s objective is to identify fire safety hazards, evaluate the risks arising from those hazards, and devise and implement a plan to eliminate or reduce the risks, so far as is reasonably practical.
The RP / PDH can if they choose- delegate duties to employees, third party contractors and / or managing agents and the like. While delegation of a duty places a responsibility on the delegate, the overall duty always remains with the RP / PDH.
It is critical that the RP / PDH appoint competent assistance. Failure to do so is a breach of Fire Safety legislation.
There are sixteen distinct duties set out in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The Government produces several guidance documents on how to comply with the relevant legislation and how to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment. These are available FOC from the following website- https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fire-safety-law-and-guidance-documents-for-business It should be noted that the Responsible Person or Primary Duty Holder is liable for prosecution if they are found to be in breach of legislation and the enforcing authorities are of the opinion that the circumstances which have given rise to the breach would, in the event of a fire, place relevant persons at risk of injury or death.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 can be downloaded FOC from- http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/contents/made
A Fire Risk Assessment is an organised appraisal of your premises to enable you to identify potential fire hazards and those who might be in danger in the event of fire and their location. You should evaluate the risks arising from the hazards and decide whether the existing fire precautions are adequate and identify any measures that need to be taken to further remove or reduce the fire risk.
Offences under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 There are 53 articles, arranged in 5 parts which make up the bulk of the Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005. Articles 8 to 23 are the main ones to be concerned with in regard to offences. These 16 articles are the ones most offences are committed under. They directly relate to the responsible persons duties, which if not carried out correctly will result in offences under the act being committed and may mean enforcement action.
THERE ARE OTHERS, i.e. Article 37. Example offences are the type of thing written down on notices, court charges and or the pages of local and sometimes national press. More often these charges are linked to the business premises and the responsible person being found guilty of charges, resulting in amongst other things very negative publicity.
Of course, the possible costs, after a fire if the work isn’t carried out in the first place could be far more severe. Current Sentencing and Punishment Options range from:-
If dealt with in a magistrate’s court – Fines of around £5,000 for each offence are not uncommon. Possibility of unlimited fines and up to 2 years in prison also possible. If dealt with in a Crown court – Unlimited fines and potential life imprisonment.
It’s worth bearing in mind that these pages only relate to offences under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and if / should people get injured or become fatalities as a result of fire because of some sort of negligence other offences may come into account, possible corporately as well, i.e. in severe cases, manslaughter.
The Cost of Fire Risk Assessments will vary according to location, the size and numbers of buildings on site, the numbers of persons employed and the production processes, conducted at each facility, building or location.