In 2006 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, or better known as the Order or RRFSO, replaced over 100 pieces of separate fire safety legislation with a view to making it easier for everyone including businesses and the Fire Service. The benefit was to simplify, reduce and consolidate the existing legislation into a new pro-active order that would reduce the burden on business and allow better use of Fire Service resources.
As a business owner you are deemed the responsible person and therefore need to take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of a fire starting and if one does start, the impact of it and ensure that people can escape quickly and easily. This is different from previous legislation in that you must consider who might be on your premises, whether they are employees, visitors, contractors or members of the public.
The order places the emphasis on prevention, protection measures and co-operation between owners in shared locations which does however mean that a business owner needs to complete a risk assessment, implement appropriate control measures and reduce the risk from fire hazards.
Where does the Order apply?
The order applies to virtually all premises and covers every type of building, structure and open space. So if you operate from an office, shop, factory, pub, club, restaurant, hotel or even community hall, church or marquee then the order applies to your business.
The order applies to England and Wales. A new legislative regime was also introduced in Scotland which mirrors the risk based approach of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.
What does a Business Owner need to do?
Under the order, a fire risk assessment needs to be produced. Whilst this sounds hard work, it is an essential task to complete because you will look at risks to your business that could cost you a lot of money or potentially risk the whole operation.
The fire risk assessment needs to consider who is at risk, eliminate or reduce the risk of fire starting and also how your business would deal with a fire emergency eg staff training and on-site housekeeping.
Therefore, it is vitally important that every person who manages an environment where people congregate needs to be fully aware of the information contained in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The onus is on the business owner to ensure that the details required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order are followed and any repercussions from any incident that results from a transgression will fall squarely at their door.
Nigel J Welford is a qualified Health & Safety professional and believes in making health and safety as simple as possible whilst still being effective and meeting all the regulations. For his free report "The Secret To How Health & Safety Can Improve Your Business And Profits: 7 Everyday Pitfalls To Avoid" from http://www.healthandsafetyintheworkplace.com
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