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Last Updated
18-Jul-2014 14:26

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Fire Safety Order 2005

Legislative Overview - A Guide to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

This Order is the Primary Legislation regarding fire safety and replaced the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1996, both of which were revoked when the Order came into force (1 October 2006).

To view a copy of the Fire Safety Order 2005 click the title.

Fire Risk Assessment Guides are available to view and download HERE

The Order applies to any place, with few exemptions, these are;

  1. Domestic premises
  2. Offshore installations
  3. A ship (normal ship-board activities)
  4. Fields, woods, agricultural land and forestry
  5. Aircraft, locomotive, rolling stock, trailer or semi-trailer
  6. Mines
  7. Borehole Sites

The responsibility for ensuring the Order is complied with rests with: -'The Responsible Person' In a workplace that Is the employer, providing the workplace is to any extent under his/her control.
-Or 'The person who has control of the premises' (occupier or otherwise), whether the undertaking is for profit or not.
-Or 'The owner'

In the majority of premises it will be fairly obvious who the responsible person is, however there will be premises where the responsibility for fire safety rests with a number of persons. For example where buildings are occupied by a number of different businesses the responsible persons must co-operate with one another, as well as the owner or managing agent for the building.

The order makes it clear that fire safety is not just the remit of the responsible person, all employees have a duty to co-operate and to bring to the attention of the employer any shortcomings in fire safety provisions that could affect relevant persons.

Main Requirements

The responsible person must consider the fire safety provisions and the safety of all relevant persons with particular attention to those with special needs, young persons and those not familiar with the building. In order to do this he or she must:-

  • Carry out a fire safety risk assessment that considers not only his/her premises but also any relevant persons in the vicinity who could be affected by a fire.
  • The responsible person must appoint one or more competent persons to assist with fire safety. Where there is a competent person(s) in his or her employment these should be appointed in preference to a person not in their employment.
  • Take steps to reduce the risk of a fire occurring.However, should a fire occur then to reduce the chance of it spreading.
  • Provide general fire precautions and policy and create an emergency plan.
  • Implement any special measures and precautions that are necessary especially regarding dangerous and or flammable substances.
  • Establish a suitable means of contacting the emergency services and informing them of relevant information regarding those dangerous substances.
  • Consult with employees and or their representatives regarding fire safety.
  • Ensure that employees receive adequate training regarding fire safety. Inform them with clear and relevant information on any risks to them identified by the risk assessment and how they will be protected in the event a fire occurs.
  • Inform all non-employees as well as their employers (e.g. contract and temporary workers) of the fire safety measures implemented and of any risks those workers may be exposed to.
  • Take special measures regarding the employment of young persons and inform their parents or guardians about the risks and measures that have been taken.
  • Ensure that fire safety measures are maintained, (fire alarm, emergency lighting, fire-fighting equipment etc).
  • Record the significant findings of the assessment and prepare an action plan (prioritised) for dealing with those findings and if necessary implement temporary measures to deal with any findings that require immediate attention.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of the fire safety arrangements.
  • Review the assessment periodically, after structural and managerial changes, after changes in work practice or the introduction of new processes or machinery.


Similar to Health and Safety legislation this Order is about self compliance, where the responsible person is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the order is complied with. The enforcement of the Order will generally be by the local Fire and Rescue Authority, however in certain premises the Order will be enforced by:-

  • The Health and Safety Executive.
  • The fire service maintained by the Secretary of Defence.
  • The relevant Local Authority.
  • A fire inspector authorised by the Secretary of State.

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service will enforce the Order through:-

  • Routine Inspections of which due notice will be given.
  • Following a complaint.
  • Following a fire, (post fire inspection).

Dependant on the risk, enforcement action may take the form of:-

  • Verbal advice.
  • Advice in writing.
  • A schedule of works.
  • An agreed Action Plan.
  • The serving of an Enforcement Notice.
  • The serving of an Alterations Notice.
  • The serving of a Prohibition Notice.
  • Simple caution.
  • Prosecution

The person on whom a notice is served may appeal to a Magistrates Court within 21 days of the issue of the notice.

Should the responsible person and the Fire and Rescue Authority disagree on the measures required to remedy an area of non-compliance, (providing both parties agree), then the matter may be referred to the Secretary of State for a determination. Further information on fire safety legislation can be found on the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) website: