In this, the first of two articles, Helen Holder of Kangs Solicitors considers the obligations upon employers in relation to Fire Safety Laws.
General fire safety in England and Wales is covered by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The Order places a duty on the responsible person (“the responsible person”) who is defined as:
(a) in relation to a workplace, the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his control;
(b) in relation to any premises not falling within paragraph (a)—
(i) the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or
(ii) the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking.
Therefore, if you are an employer, owner, landlord, occupier or anyone else in control of the premises you are the responsible person and the duties fall upon you.
Fire Risk Assessments
As the responsible person you are required to carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises which must be regularly reviewed and, in cases where there are more than five employees, there must be a written record of the assessment.
In order to carry out the risk assessment you must:
- Identify the fire hazards
- Identify people at risk
- Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
- Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
- Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly.
It is not sufficient to say that the risk assessment was done but not recorded and failure to maintain a proper record could lead to a criminal offence being committed.
Fire Safety Checks
Your local Fire and Rescue Authority can visit premises to conduct checks to ensure compliance with the law and any defects found may result in one or more of the following actions being taken:
- require the responsible person to notify the Authority of any proposed changes which may increase the risk in the premises.
- are issued when the Authority considers that the premises constitute a serious risk or may do so if the changes are made.
These are issued when the responsible person has failed to comply with the legislation and detail the corrective measures required and provide a timescale for their completion.
These are issued when the premises are deemed to have an imminent risk of death or serious injury to the persons using them.
A Prohibition Notice could, for example:
- close certain parts of the premises
- limit the number of users
- close the premises completely.
It is possible to appeal to the Magistrates’ Court against any Notice.
How We Can Help | Kangs Fire Safety Advisory Solicitors
Should you receive any type of Notice listed above and you require legal advice please do not hesitate to contact a member of our regulatory team through any one of the following: