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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Part 32

February 10, 2020 3:10 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 31, LWF looked at the managerial requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. In part 32, we will examine what the order has to say about dangerous substances.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) requires that any dangerous substances present, stored or in use on the premises in question should be taken into account for the fire risk assessment. It is expected that the substances will be necessary for business operations and that the fire risk assessment will show what precautions are taken for their use, where they are kept and how they are handled. It would not, to give a fairly obvious example, be acceptable to store jerry cans of petrol for use in a lawnmower in a basement.

Article 16 of the Fire Safety Order requires emergency measures to be taken relating to dangerous substances, which will include the provision of information, suitable warning and other communication systems, suitable warnings before any explosive conditions are reached and suitable escape facilities.

Where any dangerous substances poses more than a slight risk to relevant persons, the responsible person must take appropriate measures to control the risk and provide all relevant information to the emergency services. This provision will allow the emergency services to prepare their own response in advance of an emergency situation happening. In addition, this information should be displayed at the premises, unless the results of the fire risk assessment make this unnecessary.

While it is important that all areas of the Fire Safety Order are adhered to, the parts relating to dangerous substances significantly overlap with the requirements of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). The DSEAR regulations are a statutory provision under the Health and Safety at Work Act and apply to workplaces. By following the requirements of DSEAR – which also requires a risk assessment to be undertaken – employers will already have addressed many and perhaps all of the requirements of the RRFSO relating to dangerous substances. The RRFSO is mainly concerned with ensuring that general fire precautions are appropriate, while the DSEAR is primarily concerned with special measures in relation to the use and storage of dangerous substances.

In part 33, LWF will consider the requirements in the Fire Safety Order relating to general duties of employees at work. 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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