New UK Laws Come Into Force Today, October 1st: Don’t Get Burned By The New UK Fire Regulations

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The new legislation effective from today, 1st October 2006 requires employers and others responsible for buildings to comply with the new Fire Safety Law. If you don't have a fire assessment, you're breaking the law.

The Fire Safety-An Employers Guide

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The new legislation effective from 1st October 2006 requires employers and others responsible for buildings to comply with the new Fire Safety Law. Previously it was the responsibility of the Fire Authority to ensure compliance with fire safety law and this was managed via local fire brigades.

Publication of “The Fire Safety-An Employers Guide” by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 1999 stated the advent of a new employer led approach towards fire safety at work in the UK. This was necessary to bring the UK in line with European Union directives.

New reforms will see a much greater need for employers to comply with fire protection law. The new law means that employers will need to produce fire risk assessments and introduce action plans to minimise the risk from fire and the consequences should one arise.

So the new law will

  •     Emphasise preventing fires and reducing risk
  •     Make it your responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone who uses your premises and in the immediate vicinity
  •     Do away with the need for fire certificates

The importance of your responsibilities should not be under estimated.

Who Does This Affect?

Anyone who maybe the responsible person for offices, shops, factories, hospitals, hotels, care homes, places of assembly and so on will need to comply with new legislation. In fact the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations cover all premises that people have access to except for single domestic premises.

What Needs To Be Done?

As an employer or responsible person a fire risk assessment must be carried out, which is required to focus on the safety in the case of fire of all relevant persons. The fire assessment will pay attention to those at special risk, such as disabled people, those with special needs, young persons and must include consideration for any dangerous substances. The fire risk assessment will help identify risks that can be removed or reduced and help you to decide the extent of the general fire precautions you need to take.

If the organization or business employs five or more people you must record the significant findings of the assessment. Regardless of the number of employees it is good practice to record your significant findings.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?    

A fire risk assessment is an organized and methodical review of a premises, what activities are carried out and the likelihood that a fire could start.

The aims of the fire risk assessment are:

  •     To identify any fire hazards
  •     To reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm
  •     To decide what physical fire precautions and management arrangements are required to ensure the safety of people in your premises should a fire start.

The assessment will consider “what if” scenarios and consider such key components as:

  •     Sources of Ignition
  •     Sources of fuel
  •     Sources of oxygen (air)
  •     Persons at risk
  •     Means of Escape
  •     Fire Detection and Warning
  •     Means of Fighting Fire
  •     Emergency Planning.

What Next?

For help creating a fire assessment and other information contact fire risk assessment - http://www.frao.co.uk, an online tool which creates a comprehensive fire assessment and online log books.

The fire risk assessment should clearly demonstrate that, as far as is practicable and reasonable you have considered the needs of all relevant persons. Whilst it is possible for a simple fire risk assessment to be completed by the responsible person, in the real world employers have other things to think about, like earning a living.

All this may seem daunting however there is help available, there are service providers who are able to supply you with a fire risk assessment as required by this new legislation. There is the option of completing your risk assessment online via the Internet or by contacting local service providers who will attend your premises and complete a survey of the facilities. Your local fire services are always available to offer advice.

FMTools Ltd, the creator of http://www.frao.co.uk and FireRiskAssessmentsOnline is aiming to raise awareness among small business in complying with new UK fire laws. You can contact their team at +44 2380 844923

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Matt Gorse
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