• Home Office calls on FMs for evidence on fire safety

    Employers and business owners are being asked for their views on fire safety in workplaces in England as part of a Home Office call for evidence.

    The Home Office is seeking feedback on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which underpins fire safety in business premises, such as offices, warehouses, shops and commercial venues, to ensure it is fit for purpose.

    The call for evidence follows publication last year of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review on Building Regulation and Fire Safety, which was commissioned by the government after the Grenfell Tower fire.

    The order places legal duties on those responsible for the safety of people using business premises. The Home Offices states this is typically an employer or business owner, who must carry out fire risk assessments and ensure the safety of staff and others.

    Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said: “The Grenfell Tower fire was an unimaginable tragedy and we are determined to do everything we can to stop it ever happening again.

    “The government is making good progress on improving the safety of high-rise flats, but we must also look at the wider building safety landscape, including the places where we all work.

    “To help keep people safe, we want to ensure the Fire Safety Order is fit for purpose. To do this, we need to understand how it is working on the ground and make informed decisions in the future.”

    The order covers all non-domestic premises, as well as the parts of residential buildings used in common, such as corridors and stairwells.

    Under the order, those responsible for fire safety in regulated premises include employers, business owners, landlords, occupiers and anyone else in control of the premises, such as building and facilities managers.

    The order also applies to anyone with paying guests, including those who run bed and breakfasts, guesthouses or let self-catering properties, as well as hotels.

    All of these ‘responsible persons’ are being urged to respond to the call for evidence.

    Their responsibilities include:

    • carrying out a fire risk assessment of the premises and reviewing it regularly
    • telling staff or their representatives about the risks identified
    • putting in place and maintaining appropriate fire safety measures
    • planning for an emergency
    • providing staff information, fire safety instruction and training

    The call for evidence will run for eight weeks until 31 July 2019, and an analysis of responses will be published and inform the government’s next steps later this year.

    It complements the government’s consultation, Building a Safer Future. Led by the Ministry for Housing, communities and local government, the consultation outlines how the government proposes to take forward meaningful legislative reform in the building safety regulatory system.

    See more information on the call for evidence here and on the Building a Safer Future consultation here.

    Image by chitsu san from Pixabay

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    Stuart O'Brien

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