No disaster is a personal and as frightening as fire. We are programmed by our past to fear fire in a profound way and it has the greatest potential for personal and business losses. Fires can start with a minor oversight and spread with terrifying speed to engulf whole block of flats or shops. The UK has shown its resolve regarding the prevention of this terrible threat with the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety order 2005. The only aspect of fire safety not covered by this comprehensive reform is domestic premises. |
Health and Safety Governance
The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, which is casually referred to as the RRO or the RRFSO, was put into effect October of 2006. The primary purpose of the RRO was to replace the larger, existent body of local legislation and regulation and consolidate all of the various functions and responsibilities at the national level. This has given health and safety governance a significant tool in the insurance of the public safety.
The RRO is applicable to all non-domestic premises throughout England and Wales. This includes all public buildings, buildings with public areas, commercial structures, and blocks of flats. Some details should be reviewed such as the fact that a contractor who is responsible for working on part of a structure must comply with the regulation for the whole structure. If you are in business, operate a retail operation or have employees, regardless of the facility that work occurs in, you are considered responsible and must comply with the RRO.
If you are a responsible person under the guidelines of the RRO, then you must insure that the regulations are complied with. The most important aspect of that responsibility is to conduct a Fire Safety Risk Assessment, also known as the FSRA. You are permitted to assign the task to another, competent person within your organization; however, you will still be answerable for the assessment should anything go wrong afterwards.
The primary responsibility that is placed on the responsible person is to insure that all persons that may be on the premises, or nearby, can escape in the event of a fire insomuch as it is reasonable and practical. This is a considerably more comprehensive that under previous legislation as it extents responsibility to encompass all persons, whether employee, visitor or member of the public, to be protected under the legislation while they are in or on your premises. You will be expected to provide for special access and egress requirements that may be needed for disabled persons, special needs and others.
While you are permitted to allow an assigned person to conduct the FSRA you will be held responsible if you fail to address the shortfalls (if any). There is no onus on the responsible party to employ certified persons to conduct the FSRA, however needed modifications mandated by compliance must be performed by certified individuals and inspected by local fire authorities. Individuals should consult with legal authority, or local fire and safety agencies regarding any questions.
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