The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – FSO and Enforcement– Part 79

March 28, 2022 11:46 am

LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals aims to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 78 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF considered how the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order is enforced. In part 79, we continue to look at Fire Authorities and their duties in overseeing fire safety provisions in healthcare buildings.

In England and Wales, the fire authorities have a statutory duty to enforce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Fire Authorities run an enforcement programme which is prioritised by risk level. This means that their resources will be applied to any area where a significant risk to life is posed. Organisations and types of building are categorised according to their risk level, with hospitals being in the highest risk category. In practical terms, this means that the local Fire Authority will perform regular audits and inspections on hospital premises and fire safety provisions.

The Fire Services of England and Wales have a consistent process of data-gathering and fire safety auditing agreed with DCLG, which ensures they are able to categorise risk and enforcement actions across the board.

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) has produced Fire Safety Guidance Notes and Audit – Version 4.3 which gives process guidance for Fire Authorities to base their audit procedures on.

The enforcement policy of the Fire Authorities is based on the compliance code. The CFOA adopted the enforcement management model (EMM) used by the Health and Safety Executive and adapted it for purpose. The EMM’s framework allows inspectors to make enforcement decisions which are in line with best practice. This means that consistent decisions are made by fire safety enforcement officers from different area authorities.

The EMM is a useful tool for FA officers to use in order to determine appropriate and measured enforcement action. It may be informal, where there is no excessive risk and the residual risk is being managed effectively, or it may be more formal where higher risks are involved and must be remedied urgently. Interim measures may be required where a determined necessary final solution is not practical in the short term.

In Part 80 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will begin to look at unwanted fire signals and how these are viewed by the Fire Authorities. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

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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