Fire safety is your responsibility
If you are a business owner, employer or owner of a business premises, you need to be aware of your legal obligations in preventing fire to protect your business, your employees, your property, the general public and firefighters who might attend an incident.
Our business fire safety section has all the information and links to other resources you need to make sure you are taking the right precautions, while our Business Fire Safety team within our Protection department are there to advise companies, ensure they are abiding by the law and hold to account those who do not.
The primary legislation regarding fire safety is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and all businesses need to be aware of their responsibilities as detailed in the Order.
New fire safety guidance comes into force on 1st October 2023
As of the 1st October 2023, the Building Safety Act 2022 amends the Fire Safety Order 2005 placing new requirements on Responsible Persons of all non-domestic premises, such as where people work, visit or stay, including workplaces, and the non-domestic parts of multi-occupied residential buildings. The updated legislation:
- requires that all Responsible Persons must record their completed fire risk assessment, and in full (where previously only specific information was required to be recorded)
- requires that all Responsible Persons must record the identity of the individual (their name), and/or if applicable, their organisation (name) engaged by them to undertake/review any or all of the fire risk assessment
- requires that all Responsible Persons must record their fire safety arrangements (demonstrate how fire safety is managed in your premises)
- requires that all Responsible Persons must record (and as necessary update) their contact information, including a UK based address, and share this with other Responsible Persons and residents of multi-occupied residential premises where applicable
- requires that all Responsible Persons must take reasonably practicable steps to ascertain the existence of other Responsible Persons who share or have duties in respect of the same premises, and of Accountable Persons (which are a new legal entity made under the Building Safety Act in the case of higher-risk residential buildings) in relation to the premises - they must then identify themselves to said persons
- requires that departing Responsible Persons must share all ‘relevant fire safety information’ with incoming Responsible Persons
- requires Responsible Persons of a building containing two or more sets of domestic premises to provide residents with relevant fire safety information in a format that is easily understood by the residents
As a business owner, you will need to record a completed full fire risk assessment regardless of the numbers of people you employ.
For more details see the Fire Safety Responsibilities under the Building Safety Act 2022 at gov.uk.
A set of three Government Fire Safety guides have been newly provided to assist small premises complying with fire Safety law:
- Making your small non-domestic premises safe from fire
- A guide to making your small paying guest accommodation safe from fire
- A guide to making your small block of flats safe from fire
All other premises should follow the existing fire risk assessment guidance relating to their premises.
Fire Safety Act 2021 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
Commencing on the16th May 2022, the Fire Safety Act 2021 clarifies that responsible persons (RPs) for multi-occupied residential buildings must manage and reduce the risk of fire for the structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows, and entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts to which the Fire Safety Order applies. Your Fire risk Assessment should be extended to include these areas.
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 have been introduced as an important step towards implementing the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report. The Regulations are being introduced under Article 24 of the Fire Safety Order and will come into force on 23 January 2023. The regulations require RPs in multi-occupied residential buildings to take specific actions, depending on the height of the building.
For more information please download this update.
Business Fire Safety awareness Tool
As a new owner or manager of a small business, the fire safety law for the workplace can seem quite daunting. This tool has been designed to give a fun and interactive experience and at the same time give you a general overview of your responsibilities following a fire risk assessment on your premises. As you work your way around your workplace, correcting the identified issues and making it safer, you will be tested on your general fire safety knowledge.
Now test yourself and see what you already know – click here to enter the awareness game..
(If you are having trouble controlling movement around the tool, please look to reduce the sensitivity of your mouse).
Please note that this tool is for general fire safety awareness in the workplace, it is not intended as training tool for completing a Fire Risk Assessment.
Please also find below a list of useful resources as well as pages in the left-hand menu.
General Business fire safety advice
For more information on fire safety for businesses contact the Business Fire Safety team at Service Headquarters in Worcester tel: 0808 196 9500 or you can email us at Protection-TFS@hwfire.org.uk
Information on fire safety for businesses
Here are number of resources – on our website as well as those of our partner agencies – that will be useful for keeping your business or premises safe:
- Business Companion website
- Choosing a competent fire risk assessor
- Fire risk assessment guides
- Building regulations in relation to fire safety
- 2005 Fire Safety Order
- Reducing false alarms
- Preparing for emergencies
- Report a concern
- Documents & downloads
- Automatic fire alarm (AFA) response changes
- Fire extinguishers
- Fire doors
Responsibilities for business fire safety
If you own, manage or operate a business, you need to comply with fire safety law. The main law is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or "the Fire Safety Order" (FSO). It applies across England and Wales and came into force on 1 October 2006.
The FSO applies to almost all buildings, places and structures other than individual private homes – that's individual flats in a block or family homes.
Other places covered by the Order include shared areas in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), blocks of flats and maisonettes.
You need to make sure your premises reach the required standards and your employees are provided with adequate fire safety training. The responsible person is required to ensure a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment is in place.
The role of Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority is to provide advice, guidance and to enforce the FSO.
In addition to enforcing the primary fire safety legislation, the Authority advises other regulatory bodies responsible for legislation containing fire safety requirements, often as part of an approval, consultation or licensing process.
The Business Fire Safety team
Ensuring fire safety for businesses is just one role fulfilled by our Business Fire Safety team. They also:
- Advise on policy development of the Fire Authority's legislative fire safety activities
- Co-ordinate the Authority's enforcement activities to effectively service our legislative responsibilities for fire safety enforcement
- Manage and maintain a risk-based inspection programme of all non-domestic premises within the counties
- Provide free fire safety advice to businesses and the public
- Provide technical support for operational personnel who also undertake fire safety activities
- Consult with the Local Authority Building Regulations departments within the county, together with approved Inspectors, for planning and building applications
- Liaise with and support other agencies involved in the provision of fire safety in non-domestic premises, such as Crown Property Inspectorate, HSE, Licensing Authorities, Commission for Social Care Inspection, etc.
Reduction of false alarm calls
False alarms are an ongoing problem for the Fire Service: not simply a nuisance, they are a substantial drain on resources and detract from more productive work such as training and fire prevention. They also impact on the availability of crews for real emergency calls.
Businesses are the source of many false alarms, generally caused by unwanted alerts from fire alarms due to mechanical and electrical defects, or false activation by non-fire causes such as cigarette smoke.
Owners and employers in the two counties have a responsibility to ensure their alarm systems do not cause false alarms.
Our Protection team ensures that fire precautions in non-domestic premises are suitable and well maintained, keeping both fires and false alarms to a minimum.
In the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, and the National Framework document, the Government stipulated that fire and rescue services must prioritise their activities to give greater focus to fire prevention and address the problem of false alarms.
Operational risk information
Having access to information relating to high-risk sites within our Service area is essential to securing the safety of firefighters, controlling risk and providing an efficient response at operational incidents. If you feel Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service would benefit from holding information about your business contact the Intel Department