The LWF Blog
NEW FIRE REGULATIONS: Integrated Safety Management Update No. 1March 28, 2007 4:20 am
(LWF issue regular updates covering topics specific to the possible implications of the new fire safety regulations on your business operation).
Current health and safety legislation requires a risk management based response from all employers. The concept is based around devolved responsibility from the highest management levels within an organisation down to the level of operation at which risk is created. The intended outcome of this process is to develop a ‘safety culture’ within the operation such that safe systems of work become ‘second nature’ rather than subject to an imposed regime. Fire safety legislation is based on similar concepts and the application in 2006 of the new Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 stresses the importance of a robust system for devolved responsibilities and associated levels of competency of those accepting those responsibilities.
From experience gained when undertaking exercises within all forms of organisations, it becomes evident that those persons to whom responsibilities are delegated for health and safety functions are chosen because they may have direct links to senior managers who retain primary responsibility, they may have a position that requires their consistent availability in a specific place of work, or they may be the kind of person who is keen to take on this type of responsibility. The attributes that identify the individual for health and safety duties align closely with those for fire safety. The synergies therefore between health and safety and fire safety are manifold and a good (robust) Policy approach would include the close integration of these roles and the systems that define them.
The development of a good combined safety Policy document integrates the health and safety and fire safety responsibilities, it makes them clear in terms of devolved and delegated duties, it sets competency standards for those with devolved responsibility and it defines the way in which the organisation operates the safety management systems. The Policy document is a brief statement of the organisations intentions and how it intends to meet its statutory obligations and the systems adopted. Normally, the Policy is a ‘controlled’ document signed by those at the highest levels of management and only changed with their authority. The Policy is supported by a series of Procedures that set out the means by which the Policy can be effectively implemented.