Fire precautions and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect relevant persons in non domestic premises are covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which apply to England and Wales.

A Fire Risk Assessment must be carried out by what is known as ‘the responsible person’. The responsible person could be an employer, landlord, owner of a business or person who has control over the business activity. If there is more than one responsible person e.g. in a multi occupied premises then all must take reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other.

The fire risk assessment is a practical, systematic, organised and methodical review of the fire risks in the business premises and needs to consider the risk of fire breaking out and what measures need to be put in place to prevent it and keep people safe.

It is a good idea to keep a written record of the findings of the fire risk assessment. If there are five or more employees (including any persons who work part-time), a written record of the significant findings should be made. If flammable materials or chemicals are stored or handled these should also be considered as part of the assessment.

Significant findings are those which set out the measures in place or plan to be put in place to manage the risks, along with details of anyone likely at risk including vulnerable groups.

The responsible person/s should also produce a fire policy and related procedures, provide equipment, training, carry out fire drills, keep records and inform employees which action is to be taken in the event of a fire emergency. 

Compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 will be enforced via inspectors (typically an officer from the local Fire Brigade) appointed from the Enforcing Authority - with similar powers to HSE inspectors, with the issue of Enforcement Notices, and in extreme cases, Prohibition Notices. If convicted for a breach of the order, penalties can range from a fine to imprisonment on a similar scale to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Fire safety legislation also applies if anyone pays to stay in the property, other  than those who live there as a permanent home. If the businesses a hotel, bed and breakfasts (B&B), guest house or self-catering accommodation then fire safety legislation also applies to you.

The local fire and rescue authority are responsible for enforcing the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order in most non domestic premises. They will look for evidence that risks have been identified by conducting a fire risk assessment and that action is taken on the significant findings.

 

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