Your legal position.
Do you know your responsibilities?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO)
In 2006, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) came into law. It swept away much of the old piecemeal fire safety legislation and gathered it up under the one legislative umbrella.
You can view the RRO online by clicking the link on the left.
Who and What Does it Apply To?
The RRO applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales, including the common parts of blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
The law applies to you if you are:
- responsible for business premises
- an employer or self-employed with business premises
- responsible for a part of a dwelling where that part is solely used for business purposes
- a charity or voluntary organisation
- a contractor with a degree of control over any premises
- providing accommodation for paying guests
The Responsible Person
Critically, it requires non-domestic premises to designate a Responsible Person(RP) for that premises, who is obliged in law to ensure that adequate and appropriate fire precautions are in place. The RP is usually designated as the employer where they have control over the workplace or failing that the person who has control over the premises. You may be the RP whether you like it or not!
The Duties of the Responsible Person
There are a long list of duties required from the RP - a summary of which can be seen to the left. The Principal duties are -
Risk Assessment - It is the legal duty of the RP to carry out or cause to be carried out, by a “competent person”, a Fire Risk Assessment for the premises, to comply with any recommendations identified within the risk assessment, and to review the risk assessment as appropriate (for example, if alterations are made to the premises), or as a minimum, once per year.
Fire Safety Arrangements - The Risk Assessment is the document which controls and guides the fire safety arrangements at the site and you must be able to produce it if asked by a controlling authority—usually either the Fire Service or your local council. You may be asked for this document, and prove that you have complied with it in good faith on a variety of occasions including a routine audit, or a minor incident involving the Fire and Rescue Service.
The RP is legally responsible for ensuring that the Fire Safety Arrangements are adequate and must record the details if there are 5 or more employees.
Fire Fighting & Fire Detection - The RP is responsible for ensuring that there are adequate and appropriate measures in place to detect and fight fires.
Maintenance - Where present the RP must ensure that the premises, facilities, equipment and devices are "subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair."
Training - The responsible person must ensure that his employees are provided with adequate safety training; this must include suitable instruction and training on actions to be taken in the event of a fire, be repeated periodically or when there is a change in risk and appropriate to the circumstances and risks involved.