Fire safety - now down to business
New legislation has now given all employers and premises managers wide-reaching new responsibilities in relation to fire safety.
Responsibility for carrying out fire risk assessments now lies with each business rather than fire brigades issuing fire certificates for buildings as previously. The move is aimed at streamlining fire authorities’ manpower so they can pay more attention to ‘high risk’ premises, including care homes and hostels where vulnerable people sleep.
The Fire Safety Reform Order, which came into effect 1 October, was delayed from its original implementation date in April. The delay was attributed to the lack of available guidance for businesses, in the form of guides for different types of businesses published by the Department for Communities and Local Government Health (DCLG), formerly the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
The October issue of Workplace Law Magazine looks in depth at the new fire legislation, and addresses some of the very real concerns employers have:
- do the new fire risk assessment guides live up to expectations?
- what risks do businesses run doing their own fire risk assessments?
- will businesses be left without advice, help and cover from the newly reorganised fire services.
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Two of the new guides are yet to be issued: transport premises/facilities and outdoor events.