04 September 2012

Enforcement of Fire Safety Regulation

With this in mind, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is carrying out a review of how the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is enforced.

The Order sets out the requirements which businesses must comply with to ensure their premises are fire safe. These include carrying out a fire risk assessment and providing fire safety training to staff (including volunteers).

Business and Enterprise Minister, Mark Prisk, has commented that “business owners rightly have important legal responsibilities to protect their employees and customers from the risk of fire. But finding helpful and authoritative advice on what fire prevention and protection measures are appropriate and cost-effective may sometimes be a challenge.”

Therefore, the review will look at the way in which organisations obtain fire safety information, how they are supported, and situations where third parties encourage unnecessary compliance activity which goes beyond the scope of the legislation. BIS is particularly interested in the effects of compliance upon small and medium sized organisations (with 250 or fewer employees).

The aim of the review is to consider how enforcement of the Order could be improved upon (as opposed to commenting on the legislation itself). Currently, enforcement varies considerably across the UK and many organisations find it difficult to understand the scope of their obligations. For charities and other not-for-profit organisations who will want a cost effective and proportionate way of ensuring their premises are safe, a fire safety assessment report may seem like yet another costly and time consuming administrative burden. Particularly in the case of smaller organisations, a dose of common sense may seem a more proportionate means of achieving the same end result.

The consultation deadline was the 31 August 2012, although it is still possible to post your comments online, should you still wish to do so, via the BIS website. BIS has indicated that it will do its best to consider comments posted after 31 August 2012. The date for publication of the review has not yet been released.

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