Introduction to the order
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the biggest single reform of fire safety laws in over 30 years. It simplifies the law for businesses and places a greater focus on prevention.
The law, which came into force on 1st October 2006, consolidates existing fire safety laws which were scattered across more than 70 pieces of legislation.
It also places the responsibility for fire safety on the employer or 'responsible person' for that building or premises. Under the Fire Safety legislation the ‘responsible person’ for each premises must carry out an assessment of the risks (risk assessment) of fire and take steps to reduce or remove the risk.
The risk assessment must consider the effect of a fire on anyone in or around your premises. This will need to be kept under regular review.
Also, businesses will no longer need a fire certificate - though fire and rescue authorities will still audit premises and ensure fire precautions are in place.
A series of 12 guidance documents (dealing with specific types of premises) and a guide containing details about means of escape for disabled people are available from the Department for Communities and Local Government Publications, for purchase in hard copy format at a price of £12.
Alternatively, the documents are also available for download at the Gov.UK Website. These guides provide detailed information on risk assessments and other issues for different types of premises. A "short guide to making your premises safe from fire" is also available to download providing simple and practical advice to people responsible for fire safety in small and medium sized businesses and can be downloaded in English, Welsh, Chinese, Turkish, Urdu and Gujarati.
The order replaces the Fire Precautions Act 1971, the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (amended 1999) and amend or remove fire safety laws contained in other legislation.
What are the main rules under the order?
carry out a fire risk assessment to identify dangers and risks;
consider who may be at risk;
get rid of or reduce the risk from fire as far as is reasonably practicable and provide general fire precautions to deal with any possible risk left;
take other measures to make sure there is protection if flammable or explosive materials are used or stored;
create a plan to deal with any emergency and, in most cases, keep a record of your findings;
review your findings when necessary.