The New Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRO)
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order came into force on 1st October 2006, extending the range of occupancies across England and Wales that will need to become familar with the concept of fire risk assessment.
The new legislation has simplified and brought together a wide range of existing fire safety regulations, though the requirement for businesses to have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment carried out, by a competent person, will still remain. Legal responsibility for carrying out a risk assessment rests with the ‘responsible person’, who will usually be the employer or may be a manager of an activity in a building.
As legislation is unclear on the competency of the fire risk assessor, the responsible person will need to decide whether they, or a member of staff, have the necessary knowledge and experience to carry out a fire risk assessment in-house or whether external assistance will be required.
The fire risk assessment consultancy market is likely to become saturated with people having varying degrees of skill and knowledge, so how can employers, who are still ultimately responsible for the fire risk assessment, ensure that their choice of consultant is a good one in this potential minefield?
IFE Register of Fire Risk Assessors
In the UK, members and non-members of the IFE may apply to the IFE’s Fire Risk Assessors’ Register. All successful applicants must demonstrate to a Professional Review Panel that they have suitable education, training and experience in the principles of fire safety and fire risk assessment and this involves submitting examples of their work for evaluation.
In the UK, three legislative regimes impose a duty to carry out a fire risk assessment. In England and Wales, the duties are imposed on the Responsible Person who, in a workplace, is the employer and in premises that are not a workplace is the person having control of the premises. The duty can also be imposed on other persons having control of the premises, such as managing agents. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the term ‘responsible person’ is not used but, again, the duty will fall on the employer and/or certain other persons having control of the premises.
If, as a result of a failure to properly carry out a fire risk assessment, an occupant of the building or someone in the immediate vicinity is put at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire, an offence is committed which can lead to a heavy fine or, in serious cases, imprisonment.
How we can help
Fire safety legislation, codes of practice, British and European Standards can be a struggle for a lay person already faced with numerous tasks and references. Wrongly applied, money can be wasted and standards not achieved.
We can help by carrying out a dedicated fire risk assessment on your behalf, and providing a report and table of management actions for you to follow, that would satisfy your regulatory responsibilities.