The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 is the primary piece of legislation governing fire safety in England and Wales, with versions of the order being adopted to cover fire safety in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It abolished the requirement for most commercial premises to hold a fire certificate issued by the local Fire Officer, as it treated Fire as a risk to an organisation similar to many other risks which an organisation needs to try and mitigate. The legislation requires any person who exercises some level of control in any non-domestic premises to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and to ensure that occupants can escape safely if a fire does occur.
The Order does not advise organisations HOW they are to achieve this but does place an ABSOLUTE DUTY on organisations to conduct a fire risk assessment, in order that they can identify exactly where the fire hazards are in their activities, what the risks are, and develops controls to mitigate those risks.
An organisation’s broad responsibilities under the legislation comprise:
- Reducing the risk of a fire starting, and spreading if it does break out
- Ensuring adequate means of escape for occupants
- Specifying a system of detecting fire and giving warning
- Providing means for fire fighting
- Training and instructing employees about fire safety
- Reducing the impact of a fire, if it does break out.