Adhering to Fire Safety and Risk Assessment Regulations

Carrying out regular fire risk assessments and ensuring you are adhering to fire safety standards is vitally important. It may be said ‘oh it will never happen here’ but unfortunately accidents do happen and in fact in England  every year more than 88,000 buildings catch fire causing around 319 deaths and 10,000 injuries.

As a business owner or landlord you are legally known as a “responsible person” (this also applies if you run a guesthouse or bed and breakfast). The label of a “responsible person” means that the responsibility of fire safety for your employees, tenants and guests falls on your shoulders. Therefore it is your job to ensure wherever you are, that you carry out regular fire risk assessments and have plans in place for fire safety. As if keeping others safe was not motivation enough to carry out your responsibility, if you do not perform fire risk assessments  and have plans in place then you could receive a fine or be given a prison sentence.

Recent examples of such penalties for neglecting fire safety responsibilities are a London landlord who was fined £20,000 by Watford Magistrates’ Court for not carrying out fire risk assessments.  Furthermore the company Shell was apparently given a hefty record breaking fine of £300,000 for not adhering to fire safety laws. Basically, it’s not worth avoiding, it is important for ensuring the people around you are safe and if evaded there will be consequences.

What you are legally obligated by is the Fire Safety Order 2005; this has various basic rules you must follow. These are imperative for ensuring fire safety for others you are responsible for.  Particularly if you are an employer, it is important you have people on your premises that have training as a fire marshal. This means that those individuals can aid in identifying any possible fire hazards, help with evacuation and assist when putting preventative measures into place. At the most basic level the fire marshal training should cover what to do when a fire is discovered, communications with emergency services, the different causes and types of fire and how to run a fire drill and use a fire extinguisher.

Your responsibilities further include ensuring there is adequate fire safety instructions and training. It is a good idea to have a fire drill at least once per year (it is also important to keep a record of these drills). These drills should include every staff member if you are an employer. When carrying out a fire risk assessment, you should identify possible fire threats, who these may put at risk and what can be done to minimise them. Another fire safety regulation by law is that your building or buildings must contain some kind of fire detection (most likely a smoke detector). Hopefully you have found this informative and it will aid you in fire risk assessments and fire safety in the future.

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