The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 (RRO) replaced much of the Fire Precautions Act 1971. A bill that was used to increase the level of protection provided by law against fire risks. In addition, the RRO 2005 combined the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997, and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).
The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 often gets shortened to RRO amongst health and safety professionals. It was introduced in October 2006, after a two-year consultation period with organisations including the British Safety Council. Generally, the purpose of this new legislation is to simplify previous health and safety laws. Additionally, this legislation sets the minimum standard for fire safety across non-domestic premises. In theory, it also makes fire safety requirements clearer for those responsible for fire safety in businesses or organisations.
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Why Do We Need The Regulatory Reform Order 2005?
In the UK, fire is a major risk in almost every workplace. An average of amalgamated government data shows that more than 20,000 fires occur annually in business premises. These are buildings used for commercial or industrial purposes. Often, the cause of these fires is faulty equipment or human error. Therefore typically, these incidents can be avoided with the right attention. It seems fairly obvious that avoiding fire safety practices can lead to an increase in hazardous situations. Do we know what these fire safety practices are?
The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 (Fire Safety) is a key piece of legislation that was introduced to prevent fires from starting or reduce the possibility of fire. If a fire should occur in your workplace, this law provides guidelines on how best to contain it.
This legislation, replacing previous UK fire safety laws, made it easier for employers to understand and comply with workplace rules on fire prevention. According to the Fire Safety Order 2005, any person with control over a workplace has an obligation to ensure that fire risks are reduced and escape routes are clearly marked.
The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 (Fire Safety) was amended by the “Fire Safety Bill” in 2021. This bill added further clarity regarding who is responsible for fire risks in multi-occupied buildings.
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Who Does The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 Apply To?
The Regulatory Reform Order applies to any person who has a duty of care for others. Under the Regulatory Reform Order 2005 (Fire Safety) you are responsible for anyone in your building if you are managing or operating premises. You are responsible for others’ safety if you fit the following:
- The operator of a factory or other premises where work is carried out.
- A person who owns, manages or operates a place of public entertainment such as a theatre, cinema or nightclub.
- The owner or operator of premises that are used as a school, college or university.
- The owner or occupier of premises where dangerous substances are stored.
Essentially, this can be applied to a multitude of businesses.
- Care Homes.
- Sports Centres.
- Retail Shops.
There is no specific legislation for domestic residences in the UK. The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 (Fire Safety) regulations are not applicable to private homes or individual flats.
How Do I Comply With The Regulatory Reform Order 2005?
It’s fairly easy to comply with the Regulatory Reform Order 2005 (Fire Safety) if your business prioritises safety. Firstly, in the UK it is important to allocate a figure of authority within your workplace and label them as the ‘responsible person’. Once this role has been appointed, the ‘responsible person’ must identify fire hazards and risks. This can be made easier by using 3rd party companies such as OHEAP Fire & Security to perform regular/annual fire risk assessments.
In addition to fire risk analysis, this person must identify those most vulnerable should a fire break out. Following this, the responsible person’s job is to ensure fire exits are visible and clear from blockages. We must ensure evacuation points are made more accessible for those most vulnerable. Additionally, we can reduce the fire risks that could affect someone less able when evacuating the premises. For example, a fire exit must be accessible to children, elderly people, people with disabilities and visitors.
Lastly, general fire-safety measures must be implemented to eliminate any remaining fire hazards. If flammable or explosive materials are used or stored on-site, they must be kept and handled in a safe way.
Who Is Considered A Responsible Person?
The term ‘responsible person’, in the Regulatory Reform Order 2005, encompasses anyone who has the power to make important decisions about a particular location or space. Essentially, anyone who has control of premises.
The person responsible for fire safety may be the employer, a manager, self-employed individual or any other party who has control over the premises. Often this responsibility is shared among several people. The person or company who is legally responsible for the building may delegate a competent person to do the fire risk assessment, but they remain accountable if anything goes wrong.
Enforcement Of The Regulatory Reform Order 2005
The local fire authorities enforce laws concerning fire safety in all non-domestic buildings throughout the UK. In addition, any high-risk buildings will be targeted for inspections by fire authorities. Also, if any complaints have been made then the fire authorities will investigate complaints made about the safety of buildings. Once an investigation is initiated, they will carry out further fire safety inspections if necessary. This is especially common after previous fires have occurred.
If the regulatory body and fire authority discover breaches in its 2005 Regulatory Reform Order, it will instruct companies on how to comply with those rules. If nothing changes or in certain serious cases, a formal notice will be issued along with accompanying fines and jail time. Generally, the fire authority will work alongside the responsible person to achieve optimal fire safety levels rather than going down the legality route.
What Is ‘Adequate Fire Safety Training’?
Fire safety training is vital to the protection of both employees and customers. Generally, it’s important that all staff are aware of the potential fire safety risks. This helps to identify where the fire may be occurring and therefore provides a clearer evacuation plan. In addition, we should learn how to act in an emergency that involves fire, especially when aiming to avoid panic.
Our fire safety training should cover both general fire safety awareness and specific duties. These will be employee and management duties that relate to your business type. For example, if you operate a busy kitchen, staff should be trained to use wet chemical fire extinguishers on fat or oil fires. Additionally, the kitchen staff will need to be trained on how to evacuate the premises in an emergency.
- Employee Inductions: We would provide general fire awareness training for an employee’s induction into a company. This would be a demonstration of where fire exits are and where to meet following the building evacuation.
- Periodic refresher training, where the level of fire risk increases as a result of changes in your operations. Please contact us for periodic refresher training or extra training.
- Training to develop skills such as conducting fire risk assessments and maintaining a safe environment by using fire extinguishers.
Fire safety training for managers and supervisors is something that should never be avoided. If trainees work in a warehouse or office environment with lots of flammable materials around, then it’s important that they know what to do in the event of a fire.
What Is A Fire Risk Assessment?
A fire risk assessment is an essential part of any fire safety policy. The purpose of a fire risk assessment is to identify and assess the risks associated with your business. In addition, this assessment will then inform you of the necessary steps to take in order to reduce those risks. A fire risk assessment should be carried out by a professional who is experienced in the field. This is because it is important that you receive an accurate and detailed report of your risks. The report will detail the findings of the assessment and make recommendations for any necessary changes to be made.
The fire risk assessment should cover all areas of your business. Generally, this includes everything from the building itself and its contents to the employees who work there. It will assess how these components interact with each other. For example, you will determine whether any particular parts of your business are more at risk than others. The findings of this assessment will inform you of what needs to be done in order to reduce those risks.
A fire risk assessment is a process that can be broken down into several stages. If you’re interested in the five steps of an FRA then please read on past the conclusion. After the conclusion, we will outline the steps of a fire risk assessment. For more information, you can visit the UK government website here.
The majority of fires in the UK are caused by human error, which is why it’s so important for businesses to have a good fire safety plan. If your company has been issued with a formal fire safety notice, then you need to take action immediately. This could save lives and prevent financial disasters. Fire safety is a serious issue and needs to be treated as such. It’s important to know what can happen if you don’t comply with your fire authority, so make sure your staff are aware of the rules and regulations. By taking these simple steps, you can prevent an incident from occurring in the first place.
A fire safety notice will be issued by the fire service if they believe that your premises are not in compliance with the Regulatory Reform Order. This order was introduced in 2005 and gives businesses a legal obligation to comply with it. If you receive one of these notices, then you need to take action immediately.
If you’re unsure about your company’s fire safety plan, or if it needs some updating, then our trained professionals can help. We can provide all the necessary advice and support so that you are fully compliant with all current fire regulations. Get in touch today to find out more about how we work and what we offer.
The 5 Steps of a Fire Risk Assessment
Identify the fire hazards
The first stage is to conduct fire hazard identification. This involves going through your business premises and identifying any fire hazards that could pose a threat to employees or customers. These should be recorded in a hazard register, which should then be reviewed by an appropriate person such as a fire safety advisor or engineer.
Identify people at risk
Secondly, we need to identify the people most likely to be at risk. This is known as the ‘vulnerability assessment’ and it involves identifying any employees or customers who could be harmed by a hazard.
- Elderly people
- People with disabilities
- Visitors to the premises
- The public in general
Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
Once the hazards have been identified and assessed, we need to decide whether it is possible to remove them or reduce their impact. If this isn’t possible, then we can look at ways of mitigating the risks by implementing suitable safety measures such as fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. This could be anything from taking out insurance for your business premises to ensuring that employees are trained in first aid and fire-fighting techniques.
Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
One of the final stages of a fire risk assessment is to record your findings and prepare adequate training. This will help you to identify and understand the risks, as well as provide employees with the tools they need to respond appropriately in an emergency situation. It’s also important that you provide this training regularly so that everyone is up-to-date with changes to their role and responsibilities.