Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
Enforcement of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is leading to heavy fines, and even imprisonment for serious offenders. This legislation requires commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales to appoint a "responsible person" to undertake a "serious and sufficient fire risk assessment".
The requirements can be briefly summed up as follows :
- Carry out a fire risk assessment identifying any possible dangers and risks
- Create a plan to deal with any emergency and, in most cases, keep a record of your findings
- Consider who may be especially at risk
- Get rid of, or reduce, the risk from fire as far as is reasonably possible and provide general fire precautions to deal with any possible risk left
- Take other measures to make sure there is protection if flammable or explosive materials are used or stored
- Review your findings when necessary
According to statistics from the Fire & Rescue Authorities of England, some 67,266 fire safety audits were carried out in non-domestic buildings in 2013-14, leading to 18,733 informal notifications and 2,050 enforcement notices. The most common cause of non-compliance, at 13.7%, was the failure to conduct risk assessments, closely followed by problems relating to emergency routes and exits, at 11.8%.
Equality Act 2010
Designed to protect all in society from acts of discrimination it includes provisions relating to both disability and the workplace environment.
Companies and responsible persons can be liable under the Equality Act 2010 if they are seen to be acting in a discriminatory manner by not providing means of escape to all – including those with disabilities.
Disability Equality Duty (DED) from December 2006
Public bodies have an additional duty, known as the DED, to proactively promote the equality of disabled people. It is essential that organizations in charge of public spaces must have evacuation plans in place for disabled people.
To find out more about evacuating people with disabilities, the technologies available and how to create different types of Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan's (PEEP's) for different building users, see our guide to evacuating people with disabilities.
In addition to regular fire safety training, staff members are also required to undergo disability escape etiquette training. Normally, the responsibility to provide this falls to the human resources department of most organisations, as they typically have day-to-day responsibility for all staff.
Your human resources department will also know of any changes in the mobility of your staff members. Remember, when we mention disabled people, this also includes able-bodied people who have temporary changes in mobility – for example, those with a broken ankle or leg.