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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Part 25

December 23, 2019 2:24 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 24, LWF discussed the duties of the Responsible Person (RP) in relation to fire precautions. In part 25, we continue looking at that role and its responsibilities in relation to fire precautions.
The precautions required within the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) do not extend to include fire precautions, as might be required by the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974. This means that, for example, fire precautions necessary to prevent a fire or an explosion occurring in an industrial process remain within the scope of the health and safety legislation and are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Other areas which might fall under HSE jurisdiction rather than RRFSO would be, for example, the use and storage of dangerous substances, although the general fire precautions discussed in RRFSO should take account of such concerns.

The duties imposed by the Fire Safety Order place more weight on the safety of employees as a responsibility than the safety of non-employees. In essence, the Fire Safety Order requires that the safety of the employee is to be considered and ensured wherever possible by the general fire precautions put in place. In the case of non-employees, the only duty is to ensure that the premises themselves are considered safe. The main difference between these two groups of people is that the company and therefore the Responsible Person has the ability to demonstrate an element of control over persons employed by the company. Training, building knowledge and understanding and the provision of appropriate information can all assist in protecting employees in a fire situation.

In a fire situation, members of the public, for example, will not have gone through the fire drills and fire safety training undergone by the employees and therefore public behaviour cannot be relied upon. The premises in this case should help to protect non-employees in a fire situation by use of its active fire protection systems (fire alarm or sprinklers for example) and its passive fire protection systems (fire resistant construction, fire doors etc.). Common knowledge shared by most people and observing the actions taken by others should lead members of the public to evacuate the building upon hearing a fire alarm.

It is also the case that some employees may have been nominated to assist and encourage non-employees in making safe decisions in a fire situation.

In part 26, LWF will begin to look at fire safety duties imposed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 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.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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