The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire safety in England and Wales. In Scotland, requirements are covered in the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. The local authorities are also responsible for enforcing fire legislation. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has responsibility for enforcing regulations on construction sites, nuclear premises and on ships under repair. General fire precautions ensure the safety of employees and members of the public.
The employer/person responsible must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed. The fire risk assessment must be up to date. Sources of ignition and flammable substances should be kept apart. Smoke alarms, fire alarms and firefighting equipment should be easily assessable. Escape routes should not be blocked.
The risks of fire must be controlled in work which involves the storage, use or creation of chemicals, vapours and dusts etc. The Dangerous Substances and Explosives Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) require employers to assess the risk of fires and explosions from the work with dangerous substances. Even if a work area is not regulated under DSEAR, many substances found in the workplace can cause fires or explosions. These include flammable chemicals, petrol, grease, packing materials and dusts generated from wood and floor processes. Even un-emptied bins can be a fire risk as they may be a source of fuel should they ignite.
For a larger premises, the organisation must arrange the necessary contacts with the external emergency services, have first aiders on site and emergency medical care facilities. Competent persons must be available to manage a fire place emergency and first aiders should be close at hand. Emergency routes and exits must be indicated by signs.
Process fire precautions are enforced by HSE. These are special fire precautions that help to prevent or reduce the likelihood of a fire breaking out, and if so, to reduce its spread and intensity. This includes ventilations systems to remove/dilute flammable gas/vapour and extractions systems. These precautions also provide information on selecting equipment that will not be a source of ignition and information on the storage of flammable liquids in workrooms and laboratories. These precautions are enforced under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and DSEAR.
The Fire Protection Association (FPA) is the UK’s national fire safety organisation. It identifies and draws attention to fire dangers by providing information and advice through leaflets.