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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Safety Regulations in Scotland – Part 49

June 8, 2020 1:08 pm

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 48, LWF considered specific fire safety measures required by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations. In part 49, we look at the duties of employees under Scottish legislation and enforcement.

Within Scottish fire safety legislation are duties imposed on employees in relation to fire safety. They are contained within Section 56 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005  and Regulation 22 of the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. The duties are in common with those given for England and Wales in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Contained within the Scottish legislation are details of how fire safety contraventions to the standards are enforced. Enforcement in Scotland takes a form similar to that in England and Wales. Most commonly, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing the legislation in the same types of buildings they are responsible for in England and Wales.

Other areas of enforcement are also similar, in that they are carried out by the same or equivalent bodies. The Defence Fire and Rescue Service enforce both the Scottish legislation and the Fire Safety Order for the same types of premises. Local Authorities are responsible for enforcement for sports grounds, including those which contain a regulated stand.

The Scottish enforcing authorities are empowered to issue alterations notices, enforcement notices and prohibition notices, with some exceptions in relation to Defence premises, where the Defence Fire and Rescue Service are the enforcing authority.

Any person familiar with the potential offences possible under the Fire Safety Order in England and Wales will find that Scottish offences are consistent with those. One example is that it is an offence for a dutyholder to fail to carry out a duty imposed by the legislation if the failure puts a relevant person at risk of serious injury or death in the event of a fire.

Defences in Scotland too are much like those in England and Wales. It is a defence if it can be proved a dutyholder took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence. The burden of proof in this instance lies with the accused. This defence is not possible for an employer who has put employees at risk of serious injury or death in the event of fire by failing to implement fire safety measures which would ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of the employees, or by failing to eliminate or reduce the risks of dangerous substances.

In part 50, LWF will discuss appeals under Scottish legislation and how disputes are determined. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.

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