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Compulsory Fire Safety Regulations for UK Businesses

1st November 2021

Both business owners and managers need to understand their responsibilities when complying with UK fire safety regulations, as the consequences can be very serious. All legislation regarding fire safety in business premises in the UK is incorporated in The Regulatory Reform Order, 2005. It provides clear advice and guidance for those who are responsible for implementing procedures. 

This blog will cover who is responsible and what for, and the fire safety equipment you will need to have in place.

Who is responsible?

Anyone who owns the premises; an employer, landlord or occupier, or anyone who has control of the business; a managing agency or facilities manager, is known as the responsible person and could be held accountable for the fire. There could be more than one responsible person allocated to a building, in which case they will have to work together and will have equal responsibility. 

But what are they responsible for?

Fire risk assessment

All businesses with more than four employees must keep a written record of a fire assessment. A fire risk assessment acts as the foundation of all fire safety procedures and preventative measures. 

If your premises are more complex, you can get in touch with us to complete a risk assessment for you and provide you with expert guidance for your business.

There are five parts to carrying out a risk assessment:

1) Identify all potential hazards

You need to consider how a fire could start in the building to know how to prevent one. Look at the location of heaters, electrical equipment, and where piles of rubbish are. 

2) Identify whose at risk

To ensure the full safety of staff, you need to identify if any staff are at greater risk because of where they work within the building and if they have increased vulnerability, ie. a disability or staff new to the premise who aren’t confident of fire exit routes and procedures.

3) Evaluate the risk and assess existing measures

After evaluating the risk you need to consider how you will reduce it. You will need to consider the fire detection methods and fire safety equipment you have in place.

4) Record your findings and prepare an emergency plan

You need to record what you have found, including the areas where the risk is greater, and write the steps in place to reduce this risk. As mentioned previously, if you have more than four employees must keep a written record of a fire assessment. You need to train your staff properly on the procedures and make them aware of the emergency procedures and exits.

5) Regularly review the assessment 

Risks may change over time, so it’s important to regularly review the risk assessment and make any changes where necessary. When you do this, be sure to inform your staff of any amendments to the plan to ensure they are aware of changes to the fire safety plan.

What equipment will you need?

Specific requirements may vary depending on individual businesses and the risk of fire, but as a general guide you will need some, or all, of the following:

  • Portable fire extinguishers of the correct extinguisher type for the materials used within your business
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Fire detection system and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Fire hose reels 
  • Emergency lighting
  • Fire safety training for staff

On top of this, all businesses are required to display at least two fire safety signs displaying a Fire Action Notice and an Extinguisher ID Sign that displays the location of all fire extinguishers and how to use them.

Fire safety logbook

The Fire Safety Log Book is used to record fire information, including the dates when fire safety equipment is tested and maintained, and the training given to members of staff. The logbook will be needed on hand when the building is inspected by the fire authority to display how you have complied with the necessary safety regulations. The logbook should also hold information on how the fire-related incidents were dealt with and whether or not any injuries were sustained.

Potential ramifications

If you fail a fire safety check, the authorities can issue various notices depending on the seriousness of the non-compliance. Some of the less serious cases can result in fines of as much as £5,000, with financial penalties of more serious offences being unlimited and could also result in two years imprisonment. Even if no one has been injured, suffering a fire in your business’ building can be traumatic for everyone involved and trade will be affected massively.

If you want us to complete a fire risk assessment for you or want to enquire about fire safety training for your workforce, then contact us today on 0800 799 9514, or click here to fill out our online enquiry form.