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The fire risk assessment is a systematic and structured assessment of the fire risk in the premises for the purpose of expressing the current level of fire risk, determining the adequacy of existing fire precautions and determining the need for, and nature of, any additional fire precautions. Any such additional fire precautions required are set out in the action plan which forms part of the documented fire risk assessment.

As members of the Institute of Fire Engineers (IFE) and Institute of Fire Prevention Officers (IFPO) our Assessor’s have attended appropriate training courses and hold a formal qualification to carry out fire risk assessments. Our lead Assessor is a retired Fire Officer with a wealth of experience.

Our detailed and legally compliant report is carried out in accordance with PAS79: 2012 (Guidance and recommended methodology) and will identify the people at risk, the potential fire hazards, the fire protection measures currently in place and the management of fire safety. Any issues identified will be documented on a user friendly Action Plan report that will form part of the Assessment.

For extra peace of mind all risk assessments we carry out are covered under our Professional Indemnity Insurance.


Fire Risk Assessment Guidance for various Premises

 

Fire Risk Assessment Overview

From 1st October 2006 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the Responsible Person (RP) of any non domestic premises to carry out a fire risk assessment, including measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of fire, and identify persons at risk. Where there are 5 or more employees, a record must be kept of significant findings and a definition of a Responsible Person is contained in the above Order.

There are official guidance documents on www.gov.uk which will assist you in conducting a fire risk assessment.

Where the RP does not have control of all parts of the building and it is shared with other persons, they should be informed of significant risks identified. The person who does have control (landlord, owner, or other employer etc.) has a responsibility to make sure the regulations are complied with, in the parts they control. This may require communication and cooperation between parties to ensure coordination of fire safety provisions, fire fighting measures, evacuation procedures etc.

Knowledge and experience required

Each RP must consider his or her own circumstances and capabilities in respect of the risk assessment process. Nobody knows as much about the business/activities as the RP but if the RP is not confident in his or her own ability to complete their fire safety risk assessment then they can arrange for a suitably qualified or experienced person to complete the assessment on their behalf.

Concept of Fire Hazard

When considering fire risk assessment it is useful to understand the definition of fire hazard. A fire hazard has two components balanced against each other, one is the possibility of a fire occurring and the other the magnitude of consequences of that fire. For example a metal fabrication workshop has a high possibility of a fire due to the cutting and welding equipment. But providing the house keeping is good and no combustible substances are present, then a fire is not likely to to spread, so the consequence is low, therefore the risk can be considered to be normal or even low.

In the case of a cellulose paint spray booth an occurrence is highly likely because of the products used and the equipment required for the process. The consequences are also very high because any fire would have a rapid development, consequently it would have to be considered a very high risk.

These risks can be reduced to acceptable levels by various methods including good housekeeping, specially designed electric apparatus, equipment located away from the risk and have compressed gasses used in the processes, piped to the risk from a bulk storage or centrally located position.

When evaluating the measures needed or proposed and deciding what would be acceptable then the principle of ALARP (as low as reasonably possible) should be used and information on this subject can be found on the HSE website.

To assist in these decisions a simple matrix below can be used to estimate the level of fire risk.

Objective of a Risk Assessment.

The principles contained in the fire safety order is to use a risk assessment approach, which is goal based and flexible. The RP generates the risks in the workplace, therefore, to safeguard the safety of employees, the RP must :

  • Identify fire hazards and people at risk and to remove or reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as is reasonably practicable; and
  • to determine what fire safety measures and management policies are necessary to ensure the safety of people in the building should fire occur;by
    • Reducing the probability of a fire starting.
    • Ensuring that all occupants are alerted and can leave the premises safely its the event of a fire.
    • Limiting the effects should a fire occur.

Providing the premises have been built and maintained in accordance with building regulations and is of normal risk or lower, this should be a simple matter without significant expenditure. However if the premises are not in accordance with the building regulations, further guidance and action will be necessary, depending on the complexity, size, occupancy and consequential risks.

A single lined scaled drawing of the premises is highly desirable and drawn to a scale of 1:50 or 1:100 would be considered ideal. Super impose, using a coloured pencil, any fire safety features and take notes of any relevant information useful to the risk assessment.

Note. The Responsible Person always remains responsible for the outcome This is worth remembering, should you require help with your risk assessment.

The possible actions required when conducting a Fire Risk Assessment.

The following provides an overview of fire risk assessment and how you might go about it. Fire risk assessment should be the foundation for all the fire precautions in your premises. It is essential to read and understand the guidance documentsthat apply to your premises. Initially a simple single line drawing of the premises to scale, could be drawn, showing any relevant structural features and the use of particular areas e.g. production, storage, office accommodation, storage and plant, etc. A copy of the plan will be useful should you have a fire at your premises, to give to the fire service when they arrive to assist them in fire fighting operations. The plan can then be used to indicate hazards, and persons especially at risk. It will assist you to identify where combustibles and ignition sources come together, or are in close proximity, and the action to be taken. In very small premises a simple naught and crosses system can be used; red circles for combustibles and blue crosses for heat/ignition sources.

Identifying fire hazards and possible sources of ignition.

A knowledge of the fire tetrahedron and the most common causes of fire will assist you in identifying potential fire situations. For a fire to occur it needs a source of ignition, (heat or flame) and a potential source of fuel and oxygen. If the ignition sources and fuel can be kept apart, removed, eliminated or reduced, then the risks to people and your business is minimised. In order to do this you must first identify possible sources of ignition, fuel and oxygen in your workplace.

Identify any sources of ignition, (heat or flame). All workplaces will contain heat/ignition sources, some will be obvious such as cooking equipment or open flames (heating or process). Others maybe less obvious such as heat from chemical processes or electrical equipment.

Possible sources of ignition are:-

  • Defective electrical fittings and defective or misuse of electrical apparatus – light bulbs and fluorescent tubes too close to combustible materials, misuse or defective electrical extension leads and adapters, faulty or damaged wiring.
  • Matches, Lighters, Candles and Smoking materials.
  • Flame or sparks from a work process such as welding, cutting, grinding or the use of a hot air gun.
  • Sources of frictional heat.
  • Electrostatic discharges.
  • Ovens, kilns, open hearths, furnaces or incinerators.
  • Boilers, engines and other oil burning equipment.
  • Portable heaters.
  • Cooking equipment, including deep fat fryers.
  • The threat of arson must not be overlooked and the malicious firing of combustible materials.

Potential sources of fuel and unsafe situations:-

  • Any combustibles – These can be divided into two main groups; combustible fuels such as paper, wood, cardboard, etc.; and highly combustible fuels such as thinners, solvents, polyurethane foam, etc.
  • Any unsafe procedures or acts – Persons undertaking unsafe acts such as smoking next to combustible materials.
  • Any unsafe conditions – These are hazards that may assist a fire to spread in your workplace, e.g. if there are large areas of hardboard or polystyrene tiles etc., or open stairs that can cause a fire to spread quickly, trapping people and involving the whole building.
  • One hazard that is often overlooked is bad housekeeping and is the easiest to correct. It is responsible for many small fires either starting or certainly spreading and involving far more of the premises than was necessary.

The above list is by no means exhaustive and is provided merely as a guide.

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002

Certain provisions of the The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) has been included into the RR(FS)O and has extended the requirement to mitigate the detrimental effects of a fire to all premises covered by the RR(FS)O. So when conducting your FRA if you use or store dangerous substances you must also consider DSEAR and how it will affect general fire precautions.

Identify any staff or persons who are especially at risk

Consider the risk to any persons who may be present. In many instances and particularly for most small workplaces most people could be considered a normal risk, and special measures for persons in this category will not be required. There will, however, be some occasions when certain people may be especially at risk from the fire, because of their specific role, location or the workplace activity. You need to consider matters carefully if,

Evaluate the risks and decide whether existing precautions are adequate or more needs to be done.

Having identified the hazards, you need to reduce the chance of a fire, both occurring and spreading, thereby minimizing or removing the chance of harm to persons in the workplace.

The risk should be reduced to an acceptable level by : –

  • Removing the hazard altogether,
  • Reducing the hazard to the point where there is little or no risk,
  • Replacing the existing hazard with a safer alternative,
  • Segregating the hazard from the workplace,
  • Developing a Fire Safety Policy and culture to ensure hazards do not occur in the workplace.

Attempt to classify each area as either high, normal, or low risk.

Low risk – areas are those where there is little in the way of heat/flame or fire ignition sources, e.g. a stonemasons workshop where typically there is not much to burn and should a fire occur then people would be able to react in plenty of time.

Normal risk – areas will account for nearly all parts of most premises.

High risk – areas are where the available time needed to evacuate the area is reduced by the speed of development of a fire, e.g. paint spraying with highly flammable paints, also where reaction time to the fire alarm is slower because of the type of person present or the activity in the premises, e.g. the infirm and elderly or persons sleeping on the premises.

If the building has been built and maintained in accordance with building regulations, it is likely that the means of escape provisions will either be adequate, or you will be able to decide easily what is required in relation to the risk.

Matters you will have to consider are :-

  • Means of escape & emergency lighting. Are they adequate in size, number, location, well lit, unobstructed, safe to use, etc.
  • Fire fighting equipment – Wall mounted by exits, suitable for the types for hazards present and sufficient in number, should conform to BS EN 3.
  • Means for detecting & giving warning in case of fire, Can they be heard by all occupants?
  • Are fire evacuation signs and fire routines satisfactory.
  • Fire Procedure and Training of employees – What to do in the event of a fire.
  • Measures to mitigate the effects of a fire.

Where persons are at risk or an unacceptable hazard still exists, additional compensatory measures will be required from the above list, or repeat all previous stages. It is important that all fire safety provisions are maintained in good order.

Arrangements for warning all occupants in the event of a fire must be adequate and fail-safe. Fire alarm systems, smoke detectors, hand bells, or a single shout may be suitable depending on the size and complexity of the premises. A fire starting in any location should not go undetected and reach a size that could cause persons to become trapped. This is more likely to happen where there is only one way out of an area.

Escape, without the use of key, should be possible from all parts of premises to a place of safety or fresh air without traveling in access of recommenced travel distances. They should be walked regularly and a full evacuation drill practiced annually. Ideally, persons should be able to turn their back on a fire and walk in the opposite direction towards a exit. Many premises, however, will have areas from which there is no alternative way out, for part or all of the escape route, (e.g. most rooms have only one way out). If your premises is small and the fire risk has been assessed as normal or low then there could be no need to have alternative ways out but where your escape is in one direction only, the dead end areas should be kept as short, as few, and as low risk as possible.

The maximum advisable travel distances, indicated by the green line in the following example, from any area in the premises to a fire exit door leading out to a place of safety should be in accordance with the guidance documents for the RR(FS)O

The above guidelines are to be used with caution. You must look at each part of the premises and decide how quickly persons would react to an alert of fire in each area. Adequate safety measures will be required if persons are identified as being at risk. Where adequate fire precautions cannot be achieved, you will be required to provide extra fire safety precautions and you should consider using a competent person.

Record Fire Safety Risk Assessment Information

Having carried out a fire safety risk assessment for the premises, the findings must, in some circumstances be recorded, including any action taken or action still to be taken. The assessment record should be retained and made available, on request, to the enforcing authority. Fire safety law requires information to be recorded where five or more employees are employed (whether they are on site or not) or the premises are subject to licensing or registration or an ‘Alterations Notice’ has been issued requiring this.

It should indicate :-

  • Date the assessment was made.
  • The hazards identified.
  • Any staff and other people especially at risk
  • What actions needs to be taken and by when.
  • The conclusions arising from the assessment.

This template below will assist you in completing this task.

If you would like to try out this FRA template it is in word format so you are able to amend it to your own satisfaction. First download it and then save it to an appropriate folder then open it in word or compatible word processor when you will be able to modify it to your own needs.

Produce an Action Plan

Devise an action plan and the prioritise in accordance with the tables below

Prepare your Fire Procedure

The aim of the plan is to ensure that in the event of fire everyone, including contractors and casual employees are sufficiently familiar with the action they should take, and that the premises can be safely evacuated to a location where persons will not be in danger. The RP is responsible for preparing the plan, and in most small premises this should not be difficult. In smaller premises it may simply take the form of a fire action notice that everyone has received training on. For more information go to Fire Emergency Evacuation Plan.

Review, revise & monitor on a regular basis.

Your fire safety risk assessment is not a one-off procedure and should be reviewed regularly. If the findings of the assessment are considered to be no longer valid or there has been a significant change to the premises, or the organisation of the work undertaken has affected the fire risk or the fire safety measures, the assessment should be reviewed. Situations which might prompt a review include:

  • A change in the number of people present or the characteristics of the occupants including the presence of people with some form of disability.
  • Changes to work procedures, including the introduction of new equipment alterations to the building, including the internal layout significant changes to furniture and fixings.
  • Significant changes to displays or quantities of stock.
  • The introduction or increase in the storage of hazardous substances; or
  • Becoming aware of shortcomings in fire safety measures or potential improvements.

A simple practical example for a small shop

The initial situation in a local news agents shop.

A plan of the newsagents shop show ing hazards

Hazards in the storage and tea area :-

  • Paper and fancy goods.
  • Gas cooker with naked flames to warm food.
  • Heaters with naked flames
  • Persons especially at risk – Should a fire occur in the shop area persons may be trapped by the fire.

Hazards in shop area :-

  • Heaters with naked flames
  • Display with disposable lighters on cards
  • Loose papers and refuse

The solution to the local news agents shop.

Plan of the news agents shop with the solutions to the hazards shown in previous drawing.

The solutions to the hazards in the previous plan :-

Storage area.

  • Shelving reduced and a partition put in place to separate the storage area.
  • A torch provided in case a fire affects the lights.
  • Gas cooker replaced by microwave cooker to warm food.
  • Naked flame heaters removed.
  • A fixed convector heater provided in safe position.

Shop Area.

  • Fire extinguisher provided for use by trained staff.
  • Disposable lighters moved to a supervised area no heat source.
  • Person at risk – Provide a main wired fire smoke alarm in the main shop area to give early fire warning.
  • Area of papers represents little fire risk as there is no ignition sources near.

Fire Risk Assessment Overview

 

Fire Risk Assessment Overview

From 1st October 2006 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the Responsible Person (RP) of any non domestic premises to carry out a fire risk assessment, including measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of fire, and identify persons at risk. Where there are 5 or more employees, a record must be kept of significant findings and a definition of a Responsible Person is contained in the above Order.

There are official guidance documents on www.gov.uk which will assist you in conducting a fire risk assessment.

Where the RP does not have control of all parts of the building and it is shared with other persons, they should be informed of significant risks identified. The person who does have control (landlord, owner, or other employer etc.) has a responsibility to make sure the regulations are complied with, in the parts they control. This may require communication and cooperation between parties to ensure coordination of fire safety provisions, fire fighting measures, evacuation procedures etc.

Knowledge and experience required

Each RP must consider his or her own circumstances and capabilities in respect of the risk assessment process. Nobody knows as much about the business/activities as the RP but if the RP is not confident in his or her own ability to complete their fire safety risk assessment then they can arrange for a suitably qualified or experienced person to complete the assessment on their behalf.

Concept of Fire Hazard

When considering fire risk assessment it is useful to understand the definition of fire hazard. A fire hazard has two components balanced against each other, one is the possibility of a fire occurring and the other the magnitude of consequences of that fire. For example a metal fabrication workshop has a high possibility of a fire due to the cutting and welding equipment. But providing the house keeping is good and no combustible substances are present, then a fire is not likely to to spread, so the consequence is low, therefore the risk can be considered to be normal or even low.

In the case of a cellulose paint spray booth an occurrence is highly likely because of the products used and the equipment required for the process. The consequences are also very high because any fire would have a rapid development, consequently it would have to be considered a very high risk.

These risks can be reduced to acceptable levels by various methods including good housekeeping, specially designed electric apparatus, equipment located away from the risk and have compressed gasses used in the processes, piped to the risk from a bulk storage or centrally located position.

When evaluating the measures needed or proposed and deciding what would be acceptable then the principle of ALARP (as low as reasonably possible) should be used and information on this subject can be found on the HSE website.

To assist in these decisions a simple matrix below can be used to estimate the level of fire risk.

Objective of a Risk Assessment.

The principles contained in the fire safety order is to use a risk assessment approach, which is goal based and flexible. The RP generates the risks in the workplace, therefore, to safeguard the safety of employees, the RP must :

  • Identify fire hazards and people at risk and to remove or reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as is reasonably practicable; and
  • to determine what fire safety measures and management policies are necessary to ensure the safety of people in the building should fire occur;by
    • Reducing the probability of a fire starting.
    • Ensuring that all occupants are alerted and can leave the premises safely its the event of a fire.
    • Limiting the effects should a fire occur.

Providing the premises have been built and maintained in accordance with building regulations and is of normal risk or lower, this should be a simple matter without significant expenditure. However if the premises are not in accordance with the building regulations, further guidance and action will be necessary, depending on the complexity, size, occupancy and consequential risks.

The RP can enlist the help of other persons who have the necessary experience or skills to assist him and is known as a competent person. The competent person does not have to be an expert to assist the RP, but he/she needs to have sufficient experience or training with regard to the problems they are assisting with. However a risk assessment on a small premises like the news agent shown in the following example, may be undertaken by the R P following the simple guidance in this document. Free fire risk assessment forms are readily available on the internet.

A single lined scaled drawing of the premises is highly desirable and drawn to a scale of 1:50 or 1:100 would be considered ideal. Super impose, using a coloured pencil, any fire safety features and take notes of any relevant information useful to the risk assessment.

Note. The Responsible Person always remains responsible for the outcome This is worth remembering, should you require help with your risk assessment.

The possible actions required when conducting a Fire Risk Assessment.

The following provides an overview of fire risk assessment and how you might go about it. Fire risk assessment should be the foundation for all the fire precautions in your premises. It is essential to read and understand the guidance documentsthat apply to your premises. Initially a simple single line drawing of the premises to scale, could be drawn, showing any relevant structural features and the use of particular areas e.g. production, storage, office accommodation, storage and plant, etc. A copy of the plan will be useful should you have a fire at your premises, to give to the fire service when they arrive to assist them in fire fighting operations. The plan can then be used to indicate hazards, and persons especially at risk. It will assist you to identify where combustibles and ignition sources come together, or are in close proximity, and the action to be taken. In very small premises a simple naught and crosses system can be used; red circles for combustibles and blue crosses for heat/ignition sources.

Identifying fire hazards and possible sources of ignition.

A knowledge of the fire tetrahedron and the most common causes of fire will assist you in identifying potential fire situations. For a fire to occur it needs a source of ignition, (heat or flame) and a potential source of fuel and oxygen. If the ignition sources and fuel can be kept apart, removed, eliminated or reduced, then the risks to people and your business is minimised. In order to do this you must first identify possible sources of ignition, fuel and oxygen in your workplace.

Identify any sources of ignition, (heat or flame). All workplaces will contain heat/ignition sources, some will be obvious such as cooking equipment or open flames (heating or process). Others maybe less obvious such as heat from chemical processes or electrical equipment.

Possible sources of ignition are:-

  • Defective electrical fittings and defective or misuse of electrical apparatus – light bulbs and fluorescent tubes too close to combustible materials, misuse or defective electrical extension leads and adapters, faulty or damaged wiring.
  • Matches, Lighters, Candles and Smoking materials.
  • Flame or sparks from a work process such as welding, cutting, grinding or the use of a hot air gun.
  • Sources of frictional heat.
  • Electrostatic discharges.
  • Ovens, kilns, open hearths, furnaces or incinerators.
  • Boilers, engines and other oil burning equipment.
  • Portable heaters.
  • Cooking equipment, including deep fat fryers.
  • The threat of arson must not be overlooked and the malicious firing of combustible materials.

Potential sources of fuel and unsafe situations:-

  • Any combustibles – These can be divided into two main groups; combustible fuels such as paper, wood, cardboard, etc.; and highly combustible fuels such as thinners, solvents, polyurethane foam, etc.
  • Any unsafe procedures or acts – Persons undertaking unsafe acts such as smoking next to combustible materials.
  • Any unsafe conditions – These are hazards that may assist a fire to spread in your workplace, e.g. if there are large areas of hardboard or polystyrene tiles etc., or open stairs that can cause a fire to spread quickly, trapping people and involving the whole building.
  • One hazard that is often overlooked is bad housekeeping and is the easiest to correct. It is responsible for many small fires either starting or certainly spreading and involving far more of the premises than was necessary.

The above list is by no means exhaustive and is provided merely as a guide.


Offices and Shops

 

Offices and Shops

Fire Safety in new and altered Offices is subject to the Building Regulations and the guidance for fire matters are dealt with by Approved Document Part B Fire Safety. Within that document appendix G and H there is a list, of other guidence documents that may be relevant.

When premises are occupied fire precautions are controlled by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and this order lays down legal requirements, check them out at the above link.

Fire Safety Guide for England and Wales

The most appropriate guide for Offices is likely to be Guide 1 – Offices and shops and can be downloaded at the Department of Communities and Local Government web site. This guidance gives advice on how to avoid fires and how to ensure people’s safety if a fire does start. It only applies to England and Wales and it does not set prescriptive standards, but provides recommendations and guidance for use when assessing the adequacy of fire precautions in offices and shops. Other fire risk assessment methods may be equally valid to comply with fire safety law.

This guide is for all employers, managers, occupiers and owners of offices and shops. It tells you about how you might comply with fire safety law, helps you to carry out a fire risk assessment and identify the general fire precautions you need to have in place. This guide is intended for premises where the main use of the building or part of the building is an office or shop. It may also be suitable for the individual units within other complexes, although consultation with the other managers will be necessary as part of an integrated risk assessment for the complex.

Fire Risks

Offices are considered to be a moderate fire risk and fires usually occur as the result of somebodies carelessness. The risks are similar to those in day schools however the level of risk varies as a result of the number of occupants and the time the premises are occupied. the five principle risk are,

  • Carelessly discarded smoking materials especially if it is allowed to come into contact with flammable items. A lighted cigarette end could take a long time to ignite the the item, at which time the premise could be unoccupied. Use signage and constantly broadcast the dangers to the staff. A no smoking policy should be adopted throughout the premises with designated smoking areas for staff and as a result these areas can be supervised closely.
  • Electrical Appliances can be a source of fire if they have been subjected to misuse and occasionally an electrical faults on apparatus because they have not been serviced regularly. All electrical equipment should be tested annually and keep the staff informed of the possible dangers associated with the different types of equipment.
  • Kitchenettes or tea rooms can be a risk dependent on what has been provided especially if food that is cooking is left unattended. Full dining facilities and kitchens are a high risk but this is lessened by having staff in attendance at all times.
  • A higher fire risk are storerooms, rooms where the photo copying equipment and stationery is stored because flammable liquids may be present and a large quantity of flammable goods are stored with limited supervision. House keeping and ensuring the rooms are keep as tidy as possible will reduce the risk, this also applies to the premises as a whole. Also ensure the dangers are discussed at any training sessions.
  • Tradesmen on the premises, especially those that use apparatus that is capable of starting a fire, like blow lamps, gas torches, metal angle cutters, etc. One needs to ensure a high degree of supervision with suitable fire fighting equipment available during and after their presence. Give the area they have been working in a through inspection and make sure no hot spots or small fires have been missed.

Training

During training sessions as well as detailing and practicing fire procedures some time should be devoted to emphasising simple fire precautions in an attempt to stop fires happening. Not only is fire training in most premises required under law it also makes sense, half an hour spent before the fire may prevent the fire in the first place and can save lives. .

Arson Prevention

Arson is the single most common cause of fire in business premises and 45% of all serious fires are a result of arson. Much of this is not targeted and the vast majority of arson attacks are down to opportunist vandalism. Apart from the need to comply with the law the Responsible Person has a duty to himself and his business to reduce this risk to as low as reasonable possible.

 

Houses in Multiple Occupation

 

Houses in Multiple Occupation

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property that is shared by three or more tenants who are not members of the same family. HMO landlords must have a licence from the Local Council Housing Department. This ensures that the property is managed properly and meets certain safety standards. The licence will be valid for up to three years, and will then have to be renewed.

Legislation

All housing is subject to The Housing Act 2004 and this includes HMO’s. The act is enforced by the Local Housing Authority which in most cases will be the Local Council Housing Department. Also it important to understand that other pieces of fire safety legislation can be applied to HMO’s.

Fire Safety in new and altered HMO’s flats and maisonettes, is subject to the Building Regulations and the guidance can be found on my page on Fire Safety in New, Extended or Altered Buildings.

Fire safety in the common areas of HMO`s, blocks of flats or Maisonettes are controlled by Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO), and this order lays down the legal requirements. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 Guidance Note No. 1 will help you understand the Order.

Because the RRFSO applies to HMO`s the person usually the landlord or managing agent is designated as the Responsible Person under the Order and therefore that term Responsible Person(RP) is used in the following text.

Fire Safety Guidance for England and Wales

The most appropriate guide for the commons areas of HMO’s and blocks of flats or maisonettes is Guide 3 – Sleeping accommodation and can be downloaded at the Department of Communities and Local Government web site. This guide is for all managers and owners of premises providing sleeping accommodation. It tells you about how you might comply with fire safety law, helps you to carry out a fire risk assessment in the common areas and identify the general fire precautions you need to have in place

It has been written to provide guidance for a responsible person, to help them to carry out a fire risk assessment in less complex premises. If you read the guide and decide that you are unable to apply the guidance, then you should seek expert advice from a competent person. More complex premises will probably need to be assessed by a person who has comprehensive training or experience in fire risk assessment.

HMO Definition

Although the commons areas of blocks of flats, maisonettes and HMO’s are subject to the RR(FS)O It is important to know if your premises is an HMO because you will have additional responsibilities under the Housing Act 2004.

The Housing Act 2004 introduces a new definition of a HMO. The new definition is detailed and complex. Generally a house in multiple occupation will be a property occupied by more than one household and more than two people, and may include bed sits, shared houses and some self contained flats.

Houses fully converted into self contained flats will generally not be HMO’s provided that they were converted in accordance with the 1991 Building Regulation or later.

Generally the sole use of the property must be as an HMO however it may be declared a HMO where there is significant usage.

To find out whether your property is defined as an HMO under Housing Act 2004 please check out the flow chart which should help you determine whether your property is an HMO and/or eligible for Licensing.

However the final arbiters will be the Local House Authority.

Exemptions from the HMO definition

Certain types of buildings will not be HMO’s for the purpose of the Act, other than Part One (HHSRS) and are, therefore, not subject to licensing. These include,

  • Buildings, or parts of buildings, occupied by no more than two households each of which comprise a single person, for example two person flat shares.
  • Managed or owned by a public body, such as the police or the NHS or an LHA or a Registered Social Landlord,
  • Where the residential accommodation is ancillary to the principal use of the building, for example, religious establishments, conference centre’s,
  • Student halls of residence, where the universities are specified as exempt by order,
  • Buildings regulated otherwise than under the Act, such as care homes, bail hostels, and the description of which are specified in regulations,
  • Buildings entirely occupied by freeholders or long leaseholders. (But note the problem of mixed occupancy properties.)
  • For more details check out Schedule 14 of the Housing Act 2004.

Flow Chart

To assist you in determining if your premises is a HMO I have produced a flow chart which may be of some help. HMO Definition. You will require Adobe Reader to view it.

The five parts of the flow chart mirrors Section 254 (1) a – e of The Housing Act 2004 and is an attempt to simplify Sections 254 to 262. It should be read in conjunction with the act if you require a full understanding.

Fire Precautions

The document Guide 3 – Sleeping accommodation should provide all the information you require to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment.

A brief summary of what actions are required by the Responsible Person (RP) are;

  • Complete a fire risk assessment and consider the fire precautions in the common area and eliminate or reduce to the lowest possible level
  • Consider escape routes which may require the provision of a fire barrier between the common areas and the living accommodation to create a protected route to a place of ultimate safety.
  • Consider the need for a fire detection and warning system and should it be extended into the living accommodation.
  • Consider the need for emergency escape lighting.
  • Consider firefighting equipment and facilities.
  • Consider the need for signs and notices
  • Consider recording, planning, informing, instructing and training which will require producing a fire action plan.

Maintenance

Any fire precautions provided will need to be maintained and this will cause no problems in the common areas. However if they have been extended to the living accommodation this may cause problems. This is because domestic dwelling are exempt from the order and the tenants cannot be forced to co-operate with the RP. Therefore it is important that the tenancy agreement has a section devoted to Fire Safety that lays down duties the tenant has to abide by. This should include permission for the RP and any persons appointed by him/her to enter the living accommodation to carry out maintenance of any fire safety equipment.


Small Premises Providing Sleeping Accommodation

 

Houses in Multiple Occupation

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property that is shared by three or more tenants who are not members of the same family. HMO landlords must have a licence from the Local Council Housing Department. This ensures that the property is managed properly and meets certain safety standards. The licence will be valid for up to three years, and will then have to be renewed.

Legislation

All housing is subject to The Housing Act 2004 and this includes HMO’s. The act is enforced by the Local Housing Authority which in most cases will be the Local Council Housing Department. Also it important to understand that other pieces of fire safety legislation can be applied to HMO’s.

Fire Safety in new and altered HMO’s flats and maisonettes, is subject to the Building Regulations and the guidance can be found on my page on Fire Safety in New, Extended or Altered Buildings.

Fire safety in the common areas of HMO`s, blocks of flats or Maisonettes are controlled by Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO), and this order lays down the legal requirements. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 Guidance Note No. 1 will help you understand the Order.

Because the RRFSO applies to HMO`s the person usually the landlord or managing agent is designated as the Responsible Person under the Order and therefore that term Responsible Person(RP) is used in the following text.

Fire Safety Guidance for England and Wales

The most appropriate guide for the commons areas of HMO’s and blocks of flats or maisonettes is Guide 3 – Sleeping accommodation and can be downloaded at the Department of Communities and Local Government web site. This guide is for all managers and owners of premises providing sleeping accommodation. It tells you about how you might comply with fire safety law, helps you to carry out a fire risk assessment in the common areas and identify the general fire precautions you need to have in place

It has been written to provide guidance for a responsible person, to help them to carry out a fire risk assessment in less complex premises. If you read the guide and decide that you are unable to apply the guidance, then you should seek expert advice from a competent person. More complex premises will probably need to be assessed by a person who has comprehensive training or experience in fire risk assessment.

HMO Definition

Although the commons areas of blocks of flats, maisonettes and HMO’s are subject to the RR(FS)O It is important to know if your premises is an HMO because you will have additional responsibilities under the Housing Act 2004.

The Housing Act 2004 introduces a new definition of a HMO. The new definition is detailed and complex. Generally a house in multiple occupation will be a property occupied by more than one household and more than two people, and may include bed sits, shared houses and some self contained flats.

Houses fully converted into self contained flats will generally not be HMO’s provided that they were converted in accordance with the 1991 Building Regulation or later.

Generally the sole use of the property must be as an HMO however it may be declared a HMO where there is significant usage.

To find out whether your property is defined as an HMO under Housing Act 2004 please check out the flow chart which should help you determine whether your property is an HMO and/or eligible for Licensing.

However the final arbiters will be the Local House Authority.

Exemptions from the HMO definition

Certain types of buildings will not be HMO’s for the purpose of the Act, other than Part One (HHSRS) and are, therefore, not subject to licensing. These include,

  • Buildings, or parts of buildings, occupied by no more than two households each of which comprise a single person, for example two person flat shares.
  • Managed or owned by a public body, such as the police or the NHS or an LHA or a Registered Social Landlord,
  • Where the residential accommodation is ancillary to the principal use of the building, for example, religious establishments, conference centre’s,
  • Student halls of residence, where the universities are specified as exempt by order,
  • Buildings regulated otherwise than under the Act, such as care homes, bail hostels, and the description of which are specified in regulations,
  • Buildings entirely occupied by freeholders or long leaseholders. (But note the problem of mixed occupancy properties.)
  • For more details check out Schedule 14 of the Housing Act 2004.

Flow Chart

To assist you in determining if your premises is a HMO I have produced a flow chart which may be of some help. HMO Definition. You will require Adobe Reader to view it.

The five parts of the flow chart mirrors Section 254 (1) a – e of The Housing Act 2004 and is an attempt to simplify Sections 254 to 262. It should be read in conjunction with the act if you require a full understanding.

Fire Precautions

The document Guide 3 – Sleeping accommodation should provide all the information you require to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment.

A brief summary of what actions are required by the Responsible Person (RP) are;

  • Complete a fire risk assessment and consider the fire precautions in the common area and eliminate or reduce to the lowest possible level
  • Consider escape routes which may require the provision of a fire barrier between the common areas and the living accommodation to create a protected route to a place of ultimate safety.
  • Consider the need for a fire detection and warning system and should it be extended into the living accommodation.
  • Consider the need for emergency escape lighting.
  • Consider firefighting equipment and facilities.
  • Consider the need for signs and notices
  • Consider recording, planning, informing, instructing and training which will require producing a fire action plan.

Maintenance

Any fire precautions provided will need to be maintained and this will cause no problems in the common areas. However if they have been extended to the living accommodation this may cause problems. This is because domestic dwelling are exempt from the order and the tenants cannot be forced to co-operate with the RP. Therefore it is important that the tenancy agreement has a section devoted to Fire Safety that lays down duties the tenant has to abide by. This should include permission for the RP and any persons appointed by him/her to enter the living accommodation to carry out maintenance of any fire safety equipment.


Hotels, Boarding Houses and like Premises

 

Hotels, Boarding Houses and like Premises

It is important to understand that more than one piece of fire safety legislation and/or fire safety guidance can be applied to any individual premises. For instance take a school the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 applies and there could be others. Fire Safety guidance documents including Guide 5 – Educational premises, Guide 1 – Offices and shops, Guide 6 – Small and medium places of assembly or Guide 7 – Large places of assembly may apply and if the school is a boarding school then Guide 3 – Sleeping accommodation could apply.

Introduction

Fire Safety in new and altered Hotels and Boarding Houses are subject to the Building Regulations and the guidance can be found on my page on Fire Safety in New, Extended or Altered Buildings.

When premises are occupied fire precautions are controlled by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and this order lays down legal requirements, check them out at the above link.

Fire Safety Guide for England and Wales

The most appropriate guide for Hotels, Boarding Houses and like Premises is likely to be Guide 3 – Sleeping accommodation and can be downloaded at the Department of Communities and Local Government web site. This guide is for all employers, managers and owners of premises providing sleeping accommodation. It tells you about how you might comply with fire safety law, helps you to carry out a fire risk assessment and identify the general fire precautions you need to have in place. It applies to premises where the main use is for sleeping accommodation. The premises addressed in this guide include,

  • Guest houses and bed and breakfast accommodation;
  • Hotels and motels;
  • Hostels, e.g. Y.M.C.A., Y.W.C.A., youth hostels, bail hostels or homeless persons accommodation;
  • Refuges, e.g. family accommodation centre’s, halfway houses;
  • Residential health and beauty spa centre’s;
  • Residential conference, seminar and training centre’s;
  • Student halls of residence and areas of sleeping accommodation in other training institutions including military barrack style quarters;
  • Those areas of buildings in boarding schools that provide sleeping accommodation; seminaries and other religious colleges;
  • The common areas of sheltered accommodation, where care is not provided (where care is provided, see residential care guide);
  • Holiday chalets, holiday flat complexes, camping, caravan holiday parks (other than privately owned individual units); and
  • Areas in workplaces, where staff sleeping-in is a condition of the employment or a business requirement, as in licensed premises and hotels (but not including tied accommodation such as separate flats, houses or apartments)

This guide addresses:

  • Sleeping accommodation for staff;
  • Sleeping, dining or other accommodation for guests/residents; and
  • Common areas for residents.
  • This guide is not intended for use in:
  • Domestic premises occupied as a single private dwelling (which includes private flats or rooms);
  • Hospitals, residential care and nursing homes; and
  • Prisons and other establishments where people are in lawful custody.

It has been written to provide guidance for a responsible person, to help them to carry out a fire risk assessment in less complex premises. If you read the guide and decide that you are unable to apply the guidance, then you should seek expert advice from a competent person. More complex premises will probably need to be assessed by a person who has comprehensive training or experience in fire risk assessment. However this guide can be used for multi-occupied buildings to address fire safety issues within their individual occupancies.

Fire Risks

Hotels and Boarding Houses are considered to be a high fire risk, because of the life risk Fires usually occur as the result of carelessness and if some person accidentally or deliberately negates the fire precautions. This can result in serious fire situations causing the possible loss of life and the owner’s business being threatened. The risks are similar to those in domestic property however the level of risk varies defendant on the number of staff, guests and as the premises are occupied twenty four hours a day, this increases the risk.

The five principle fire risks are,

  • Carelessly discarded smoking materials if it is allowed to come into contact with combustible materials. A lighted cigarette end will take a long time to ignite combustible materials, which may occur in the sleeping hours, thereby increasing the risk. Hopefully the fire detection system would give an early warning of fire, which will not stop the fire but could reduce the damage to negligible losses. The use of signs and the prohibition of smoking in risk areas would reduce the risk and constantly broadcast the dangers to the staff and guests.
  • Electrical Appliances are now a standard provision in bed rooms and can be a source of fire if they have been subjected to misuse. Occasionally an electrical faults on electrical apparatus may be a source of fire, especially if they have not been serviced regularly. All electrical equipment should be tested annually and the staff and guests kept informed of the possible dangers associated with the different types of electrical equipment.
  • Kitchens can be a high risk dependent on the size and especially if the kitchen is not properly supervised. Full dining facilities increase the risk but this is lessened by having staff in attendance at all times.
  • There is a high fire risk is store rooms where bedding, towels, flammable materials and cleaning equipment are stored . Flammable materials in the presence of chemical cleaner may result in a higher fire risk if not store correctly. House keeping and ensuring the store rooms are keep as tidy as possible, will reduce the risk. Also ensure the dangers are discussed at any training sessions.
  • Tradesmen on the premises, especially those that use apparatus that is capable of starting a fire, like blow lamps, gas torches, metal angle cutters, etc. One needs to ensure a high degree of supervision during and after their presence. Give the area they have been working in a through inspection and make sure no hot spots or small fires have been missed.

Arson Prevention

Arson is the single most common cause of fire in business premises and 45% of all serious fires are a result of arson. Much of this is not targeted and the vast majority of arson attacks are down to opportunist vandalism. Apart from the need to comply with the law the Responsible Person has a duty to himself and his business to reduce this risk to as low as reasonable possible.

Training

During training sessions as well as detailing and practicing fire procedures some time should be devoted to emphasising simple fire precautions in an attempt to stop fires happening. Not only is fire training in most premises required under law it also makes sense, half an hour spent before the fire may prevent the fire in the first place and can save lives.


Factories and Warehouses

 

Factories and Warehouses

Fire Safety in new and altered Factories and Warehouses are subject to the Building Regulations and the guidance for fire matters can be found on my page on Fire Safety in New, Extended or Altered Buildings.

When premises are occupied fire precautions are controlled by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and this order lays down legal requirements, check them out at the above link.

Fire Safety Guide for England and Wales

The most appropriate guide for Factories and Warehouses is likely to be Guide 2 – Factories and warehouses and can be downloaded at the Department of Communities and Local Government web site. This guidance gives advice on how to avoid fires and how to ensure peoples safety if a fire does start. It only applies to England and Wales and it does not set prescriptive standards, but provides recommendations and guidance for use when assessing the adequacy of fire precautions in Factories and Warehouses. Other fire risk assessment methods may be equally valid to comply with fire safety law.

This guide is for all employers, managers, occupiers and owners of Factories and Warehouses. It tells you about how you might comply with fire safety law, helps you to carry out a fire risk assessment and identify the general fire precautions you need to have in place. This guide is intended for premises where the main use of the building or part of the building is a Factory or Warehouses. It may also be suitable where the premises adjoin other complexes, although co-operation with other managers will be necessary as part of an integrated risk assessment for the complex. Also, where you handle and store flammable materials and substances, it will help you take account of these in your risk assessment and help you determine the necessary precautions to take to minimise the likelihood of them being involved in a fire. It has been written to provide guidance for a responsible person, to help them to carry out a fire risk assessment in less complex factories and warehouses.

Fire Risks

Factories are considered, in most cases, to be a high fire risk. Fires usually occur as the result of an unforseen problem with the process or due to somebodies carelessness. The level of risk varies depending on the process being carry out and number of occupants also the times the premises are occupied.

The six principle risk are,

  • Processes using flammable substances or machinery developing faults causing a fire. Many times it is a pure accident but often it is the lack of maintenance, operators error or unauthorized repairs which results in an accident which causes a fire. Training and strict procedures will eradicate many possible fires and lower the risk of fire.
  • Carelessly discarded smoking materials especially if it is allowed to come into contact with flammable items and in many factories there are highly flammable processes which give greater concern. A lighted cigarette end could take a long time to ignite any item, at which time the premise could be unoccupied. Use signs and constantly broadcast the dangers to the staff. A no smoking policy should be adopted throughout the premises ,with designated smoking areas for staff and as a result these areas can be supervised closely.
  • Electrical Apparatus can be a source of fire if they have been subjected to misuse and occasionally, electrical faults can occur on apparatus, usually because they have not been serviced regularly. All electrical equipment should be tested annually and keep the staff informed of the possible dangers associated with the different types of equipment.
  • Kitchenettes or tea rooms can be a risk depending on what equipment has been provided and especially if food that is cooking is left unattended. Full dining facilities and kitchens are a high risk but this is lessened by having fully trained staff in attendance at all times.
  • A higher fire risk are store rooms and warehouses because a large quantity of flammable goods may stored with limited supervision. House keeping and ensuring the storerooms are keep as tidy as possible will reduce the risk, this also applies to the premises as a whole. An added danger in warehouse are they are usually large undivided areas and if fire starts it will spread uncontrolled unless fixed installations are installed. Also ensure the dangers are discussed at all training sessions.
  • Tradesmen on the premises, especially those that use apparatus that is capable of starting a fire, like blow lamps, gas torches, metal angle cutters, etc. One needs to ensure a high degree of supervision with suitable fire fighting equipment available during and after their presence. Give the area they have been working in a through inspection and make sure no hot spots or small fires have been missed.

Training

During training sessions as well as detailing and practicing fire procedures some time should be devoted to emphasising simple fire precautions in an attempt to stop fires happening. Not only is fire training in most premises required under law it also makes sense,half an hour spent before the fire can save lives it may prevent the fire in the first place..

Fire Risk management

Commissioning a fire safety risk management survey aswell as those required by the above legislation will help to reduce any consequential fire losses should a fire occur. A simple thing like dividing your stock into two fire separated warehouses would mean if a fire should happen you will have 50% of your stock to carry on trading . Or producing duplicate copies of your records and storing them in separate building away from your offices. Many times consequential fire losses are not considered and can be the cause of companies being forced in to bankruptcy

Arson Prevention

Arson is the single most common cause of fire in business premises and 45% of all serious fires are a result of arson. Much of this is not targeted and the vast majority of arson attacks are down to opportunist vandalism. Apart from the need to comply with the law the Responsible Person has a duty to himself and his business to reduce this risk to as low as reasonable possible.


Educational Establishments including Schools and Colleges

 

Educational Establishments including Schools and Colleges

Fire Safety in new and altered Educational Establishments including Schools and Colleges is subject to the Building Regulations and the guidance can be found on Fire Safety in New, Extended or Altered Buildings.

When premises are occupied fire precautions are controlled by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and this order lays down legal requirements, check them out at the above link.

Fire Safety Guide for England and Wales

The most appropriate guide for Educational Establishments including Schools and Colleges is likely to be Guide on Educational premises and can be downloaded at the Department of Communities and Local Government web site. This guide is for all employers, head teachers, governors, vice-chancellors, occupiers and owners of educational premises. It is important to understand that more than one piece of fire safety legislation and/or fire safety guidance can be applied to educational premises. For instance the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 applies and there could be others. in addition to the guide on educational premises other fire safety guidance documents may apply including Guide on Offices and shops, Guide on Small and medium places of assembly or Guide on Large places of assembly and in the case of a boarding school or halls of residence then Guide on Sleeping accommodation.

The guides tell you what you have to do to comply with fire safety law, helps you to carry out a fire risk assessment and identify the general fire precautions you need to have in place. This guide is intended for premises where the main use of the building or part of the building is an educational premises. These include schools, colleges, universities, Sunday schools, academies, crèches, adult education centres, after-school clubs, outdoor education centres and music schools. It may also be suitable for the individual premises used for educational purposes within other, more complex premises used for different purposes, although consultation with the other managers will be necessary as part of an integrated risk assessment for the complex.

The guides have been written to provide guidance for a responsible person, to help them to carry out a fire risk assessment in less complex premises. If you read the guide and decide that you are unable to apply the guidance, then you should seek expert advice of a competent person. More complex premises will probably need to be assessed by a person who has comprehensive training or experience in fire risk assessment.

Fire Risks

The life risk in day schools is very low and high in boarding schools because of the sleeping hours. However the risk of fire and fire spread is high in both establishments for different reasons. Because day schools are left unoccupied for a great deal of the time they are quite often subjected to arson attacks which if a fire is started usually involves the whole of the premises. Boarding schools are considered to be a high risk because they are very much like the domestic property on a much bigger scale but this risk is mitigated because of the high standard of supervision.

Property Fire Risk Assessment

There is a legal responsibility to carry out a fire risk assessment which is designed to protect life which is the Responsible Person`s responsibility. You should also considered protecting property this could be achieved by trying to prevent a fire occurring in the first place or reducing the effects if one should occur. An additional fire risk assessment is a way of achieving this by conducting an inspection on a what if basis and try to identified any possible fire risks. You may find the local fire brigade does these type of inspections or you may employ a fire consultant. The cheaper way is to do it yourself by electing a member of staff to be responsible for fire and security matters and having him/her to research the topic and conduct a fire risk survey. He/she could also keep records on any fires and vandalism, no matter how small. This would build up a risk profile and could predict when a major crime was likely to occur. Research has found that there is a pattern prior to any major arson attack or vandalism. The police crime prevention departments will have more details on this aspect.

Fire Representative

Fire prevention is usually given a low priority in the administration of schools but it is no good buying many books if the library is likely to be razed to the ground in the immediate future. Insurance is not always the answer as it rarely covers the full cost of replacement and there is the increased premiums. Consequently a further idea worth considering is to have a person seconded to the board of governors with fire safety experience to give advice. The local fire brigade I am sure would make enquiries to see if any serving officers have any connection to the school and would be willing to serve as an adviser to the board.

Training

During training sessions as well as detailing and practicing fire procedures some time should be devoted to emphasising simple fire precautions in an attempt to stop fires happening. Not only is fire training in most premises required under law it also makes sense, half an hour spent before the fire may prevent the fire in the first place and can save lives.

 

Residential Care Premises

 

Residential Care Premises

It is important to understand that more than one piece of fire safety legislation and/or fire safety guidance can be applied to any individual premises. For instance take a school The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 applies and there could be others. Fire Safety guidance documents including Guide 5 – Educational premises, Guide 1 – Offices and shops, Guide 6 – Small and medium places of assembly or Guide 7 – Large places of assembly may apply and if the school is a boarding school then Guide 3 – Sleeping accommodation could apply.

Introduction

Fire Safety in new and altered Residential care premises are subject to the Building Regulations and the guidence for fire matters are dealt with by Approved Document Part B Fire Safety. Within that document appendix G and H there is a list, of other guidence documents that may be relevant.

When premises are occupied fire precautions are controlled by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and this order lays down legal requirements, check them out at the above link.

Fire Safety Guide for England and Wales

The most appropriate guide for Residential Care Premises is likely to be Guide 4 – Residential care premises and can be downloaded at the Department of Communities and Local Government web site. This guide is for all employers, managers, occupiers and owners of permanently staffed premises providing residential care where some or all of the residents might require assistance in the event of a fire for example where residents may not be able to make their way to a place of total safety unaided. It tells you what you have to do to comply with fire safety law, helps you to carry out a fire risk assessment and identify the general fire precautions you need to have in place. It applies to premises where the main use is the provision of residential care (where the primary purpose is to provide of personal and/or nursing care, not healthcare treatment). Typical residential care premises include those where care is provided for,

  • the elderly or infirm
  • children and young persons
  • people with special needs such as those with learning difficulties or with mental or physical disabilities, and
  • people with addictions.

This guide may also be suitable for individual residential care premises that are part of other multi-use complexes, although consultation with other people responsible will be necessary as part of an integrated risk assessment for the complex. The relevant parts of this guide can also be used as a basis for fire risk assessment in premises where care is provided on a non-residential basis, e.g. day care centres. The guide is not intended for use in,

  • sheltered accommodation, where no care is provided
  • premises where the primary use is healthcare treatment, e.g. hospitals (including private) and other healthcare premises; and
  • single private dwellings where out-posted nursing care is provided.

The guide has been written to provide guidance for a responsible person, to help them to carry out a fire risk assessment in most residential care premises. If you read the guide and decide that you are unable to apply the guidance, then you should seek the expert advice of a competent person. Premises with very large numbers of residents (e.g. greater than 60), or with complicated layouts (e.g. a network of escape routes, or split levels), or those of greater than four storeys, or which form part of a multi-occupied complex, will probably need to be assessed by a competent person who has comprehensive training or experience in fire risk assessment. However this guide can be used for homes which are part of multi-occupied buildings to address fire safety issues within the individual occupancy.

Fire Risks

Premises falling within the definition of a residential care home are both statutory homes run by local authorities and homes run by voluntary organisations. This includes childrens homes, community homes, homes for the elderly, homes for the mentally ill, homes for the mentally and physically handicapped. It also covers privately run establishments in which residential care is provided and certain voluntary and privately run nursing homes that provide nursing care, but which have a greater affinity to residential homes than to hospitals.

It is recognised that difficulties may sometimes arise in determining whether particular premises is in one of these categories and the following guidance is intended to provide a basis for discrimination. Residential care premises should be taken to include premises where residential accommodation with board (i.e. not just lodgings) is provided for persons, not being members of the proprietors immediate family, in need of care by reason of age, sickness, injury, infirmity, disablement or present or past mental disorder. The premises may be called boarding houses, rest homes, guest houses, nursing homes, hostels or hotels, or indeed homes of any of the descriptions mentioned above. They may require to be registered by local social services authorities under the Residential Homes Act 1980 or to be registered as nursing homes under the Nursing Homes Act 1975, or in Scotland under the Nursing Homes Registration (Scotland) Act 1938, or the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968.

They should not, however, be premises identified by the local housing authority as houses in multiple occupation for which separate guidance on fire precautions. It should be noted that nursing homes in which the nature of the care or treatment provided is akin to that of a hospital, then separate guidance is available for such premises.

Further Information

Fire Safety in Care Homes for Older People and Children by Dr S D Christian published by the British Standards Institute.

This informative book is an invaluable resource for designers, owners and managers of homes for older people and childrens homes. Also useful for anyone involved in renovation or refurbishment of care homes as it outlines the advised fire safety precautions and explains how to implement them in the planning stages. Also helpful if you are responsible for enforcing fire safety standards in both new and existing premises. ISBN 0 580 41427 2 – Price £45
Comment – It is a bit wordy but there are some really useful comments such as:’no reliance should be placed on external rescue by the fire brigade.

Training

During training sessions as well as detailing and practicing fire procedures some time should be devoted to emphasising simple fire precautions in an attempt to stop fires happening. Not only is fire training in most premises required under law it also makes sense, half an hour spent before the fire may prevent the fire in the first place and can save lives.

Arson Prevention

Arson is the single most common cause of fire in premises and 45% of all serious fires are a result of arson. Much of this is not targeted and the vast majority of arson attacks are down to opportunist vandalism. Apart from the need to comply with the law the Responsible Person has a duty to himself and his business to reduce this risk to as low as reasonable possible.


Places of Sports

 

Places of Sports

The Wheatley Committee

The Wheatley Committee was set up in 1972 in response to a large number of spectators who had died in a disaster at Ibrox Park, Glasgow. This was the result of structural failure, the steel barriers on stairway 13 gave way and a total of sixty-six people were suffocated to death and many more injured in the resulting crush. Following the recommendations of this committee the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 came on the statute books. Up to then there was no statute about sports grounds as such, though building regulations had references to specific buildings. Accidents at sports venues were dealt with on the basis of common law principles about occupiers and their visitors.

The Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975

The Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 applies to all sports grounds with accommodation for spectators. Safety controls are imposed primarily through safety certificates issued by local authorities for sports grounds designated by the Secretary of State, currently,

  1. Those grounds occupied by FA premier and football league clubs with accommodation for over 5,000 spectators.
  2. Those with accommodation for over 10,000 spectators where other sports are played, which in practice means rugby, cricket and other football matches including internationals.
  3. A ‘stadium’ was defined as a sports arena ‘substantially surrounded’ by spectator accommodation, the Act was aimed at such a stadium if it had a capacity for 10,000 or more spectators.

The Secretary of State could designate such a stadium and consequently its managers were then under a legal duty to obtain a safety certificate from the local authority. It would normally state a limit to the number of permitted spectators. It would also say how many occasions were covered or it might be for an indefinite number. It would then give details about exits, entrances, means of access, crash barriers and means of escape in case of fire. It also set up procedures to deal with amendments to safety certificates, appeals against refusals to grant them, alterations to stadiums and entry by the police and building authority representatives to inspect the premises.

It created an offence for not having a required safety certificate or for breaking its requirements. A defence was also created if the court was satisfied that the holder took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to comply with the certificate.

Duplication with other Acts of Parliament was to be avoided by providing that sections of other acts would not apply whilst a safety certificate was in force.

There was an emergency procedure available to obtain an Order from a Magistrates Court about crowd limits.

The Popplewell Report

The Popplewell Committee of Inquiry was set up after the fire disaster at the Bradford football ground in 1985. Soon after the Committee of Inquiry had been established a disaster in Belgium occurred at the Heysel Stadium which was visited and implications of the collapse of the separating wall were taken into account also. After taking a great deal of evidence, the Popplewell Committee reached the following main conclusions in its Interim and Final Report :-

  • The sports grounds dealt with by the Act of 1975 was too limited and the problem of crowd safety was serious at many other grounds.
  • The distinction should be abolished between a stadium, as defined above, and a sports ground where sports took place before spectators in the open air. Sports ground should be the general legal term.
  • The Popplewell Inquiry heard a lot about the team of officers who had to work together on the response to an application for a Safety Certificate under the Act of 1975. The Popplewell Report declined to say who should be the lead officer in such an exercise. It did however ask for a model Safety Certificate to be drafted, in order to overcome problems found in the differing levels of detail put into sample certificates studied by the Committee of Inquiry.
  • The three main potential hazards at a sports ground were fire risk, structural failure and crowd control. The legislation should be flexible enough to cater for grounds where not all three elements were present.
  • Rugby league, rugby union and cricket were the three spectator sports which were, after football, thought to display the risks for which legislation had to be framed.
  • Because of its anxiety that one authority should be responsible to inspect and certify sports grounds, the Popplewell Report recommended that all sports grounds with accommodation for 500 or more spectators should come under the Fire Precautions Act. In the same spirit the Report urged that structural risks should be handled by one authority, though the Report did not specify which this should be.
  • Because evidence showed that there were fire risks, the Report recommended that indoor sports facilities also, where 500 or more spectators were provided for, should come under the Fire Precautions Act for fire certificates.

The Popplewell Report came before Parliament and gave rise to two important steps:

  • The Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sports Act 1987, and
  • The revision of the Green Guide issued by the Home Office.

The Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sports Act 1987

The Act is in five Parts and is being brought into force in phases. Generally these parts follow the recommendations of the Popplewell Report.

  • Part I contains eighteen sections in relation to fire safety, these amend earlier provisions in the Fire Precautions Act 1971. In particular, they allow more flexibility to the fire authority about fire certificates, charging fees for certification work, power for the Secretary of State to issue Codes of Practice, the use of Improvement Notices to remedy contraventions of fire certificates and also appeals and offences.
  • Part II about safety at sports grounds, is being brought into operation first. It has seven sections and abolishes the earlier distinction between stadiums and sports grounds. It allows the Home Secretary to fix the qualifying capacity, rather than embody 10,000 or another figure in the Act. It also tightens up the law about prohibition notices, enforcement and inspectors.
  • Part III of The Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 was brought into force in 1988 and it relates to the safety of stands at sports grounds and contains sixteen sections.
    • A stand which provides covered accommodation for 500 or more spectators in a ground which has not hitherto been designated, now needs a Safety Certificate from the local authority.
    • Such a stand is called a ‘Regulated Stand’.
    • It is the duty of the local authority to decide which stands at sports grounds in their area are Regulated Stands and to issue Safety Certificates under the statutory procedure for them.
    • Safety Certificates may in future be general, if for an indefinite period, or special, if for a specified number of activities or occasions.
    • The issue of certificates is to follow a procedure which includes a preliminary determination about a stand being a Regulated Stand and then, after a two month period for representations, a final determination embodied in the Safety Certificate for that stand.
    • Safety Certificates can be amended, repealed, replaced and transferred and there is also an appeal system which may give rise to some of these modifications to the Safety Certificate as originally issued.
    • Appeals go to the Magistrates Court and orders of those courts can be further appealed to the Crown Courts.
    • There are new offences for using a stand without a current Safety Certificate and for breaching conditions in such a Certificate.
    • Offences may be punished by fine or in some cases by imprisonment. Defences are also provided, based upon ignorance of the true situation about a Regulated Stand or on having taken all reasonable precautions to avoid the breach in question.
  • Part IV introduces indoor sports licences. They are for ‘sports entertainment’ but, whilst of general application to sports complexes, do not apply if the sporting event which constitutes the ‘entertainment’ is not the principal purpose for which the premises are used on the occasion in question.
  • Part V has a small number of miscellaneous provisions about entertainment licences. These include power to charge a fee for dealing with a variation in the terms of the licence. In addition, the Royal Albert Hall is no longer exempt from the entertainment provisions in the Local Government Act 1982.

The Green Guide

Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Fifth Edition, Stationery Office, 1997, ISBN 0-11-300095-2) also known as The Green Guide. This is the Home Office publication which gives detailed advice about safety measures needed at sports grounds. Originally produced after the Wheatley Report of 1972, this Guide has been completely revised in the light of the Popplewell Report and was re-published in 1986.

Its detailed guidance relates to entrances and exits, the structure of stands and buildings, stairways and ramps, the terraces, crush barriers and hand rails and perimeter walls and fences. In addition, the Green Guide discusses management responsibility, inspections and tests, stewarding and crowd control, ground capacity estimates and flow rates for the crowd.

The main paragraph headings in the ‘Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds’ comprise of :-

  • Calculating the safe capacity of a sports ground
  • Management – responsibility and planning for safety
  • Management – stewarding
  • Management – structures, installations and components
  • Circulation – general
  • Circulation – ingress
  • Circulation – stairways and ramps
  • Circulation – concourses and promontories
  • Circulation – egress and emergency evacuation
  • Barriers
  • Spectator accommodation – seating
  • Spectator accommodation – standing
  • Spectator accommodation – disabilities
  • Spectator accommodation – temporary
  • De mountable structures
  • Fire safety
  • Communication
  • Electrical and mechanical services
  • First aid and medical provision
  • Media provision
  • Alternative uses for sports grounds

Enforcement

Safety at sports grounds is usually the responsibility of the Environmental Health Services of the Certifying Authority, and it is they who organise an “advisory group” consisting of themselves, the building authority, the fire service and the police service. The ambulance service may also be represented. HSWA enforcement officers are not part of the advisory group however they should familiarise themselves with the local arrangements within their own area, and should be aware of the certificates for each ground. HSWA enforcement officers, and advisory group colleagues, may wish to consider whether regular, formal liaison arrangements might be helpful, perhaps to coincide with the scheduled advisory group visits to relevant local grounds.

Whether or not these formal or regular liaison mechanisms are in place, it is essential that an authority or department which notices a serious risk, alerts the relevant enforcing authority or department to the problem. They should be informed as soon as possible by telephone, if the risk appears to be a serious threat to life or serious injury, then agreed coordinated action should be taken. It is suggested that local authorities establish, contact liaison points within Fire Authorities, Districts and Counties for this purpose.

It falls to the certifying authority for a designated sports ground, to notify the district council or unitary authority, as the authority responsible for HSWA at the ground, of any serious breaches of HSWA. Conversely, the district council and unitary authority should notify the certifying authority of any serious breaches of the 1975/1987 Acts. Similarly, in London and the conurbations, the certifying department within the borough council or metropolitan authority should notify the department responsible for health and safety, of any serious breaches of HSWA at a designated sports ground, and vice versa.

Action in an emergency

Certifying authorities also have wide-ranging powers to act in an emergency. There may be exceptional circumstances in which Local Authority enforcement officers may want to use their powers under HSWA, for example to issue a prohibition notice in order to protect spectators, and LAs should consider what their policy is in those exceptional circumstances. For example LA enforcement officers might want to use their powers under HSWA if they consider a risk is such that it poses a serious imminent threat to life or of injury and requires immediate remedy in order to eliminate or reduce it.

Taylor Report

On the 15th April 1989, a tragedy took place at the Hillsborough stadium, home of Sheffield Wednesday F. C. ninety-six Liverpool fans were crushed to death on the terraces at the Lippings lane end during the F. A. cup semi final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

As a result, Lord Justice Taylor, a High Court judge, was commissioned by the Government:

“To inquire into the events at Sheffield Wednesday Football ground on 15th April and to make recommendations about the needs of crowd control and safety at sports events.” (Taylor, Final Report, HMSO, 1990)

In Lord Justice Taylor’s Final Report published in January 1990, he praised the football clubs for their positive attitude in implementing the interim recommendations. He then went on to look at the problems facing British football. The report discusses and criticises:

  • Leadership of football in Britain
  • Poor facilities and services at football
  • Old and outmoded, football grounds
  • The lack of consultation between officials and fans
  • The, sometimes, poor behaviour of players
  • The selling of alcohol at football, a possible cause of disorder
  • The attitude of newspapers and television
  • The effects of hooliganism and segregation on the general experiences of football spectators

Lord Justice Taylor then went on to make a total of 76 recommendations designed to improve the state of football in Britain. The most important of these were:

  • The gradual replacement of terraces with seated areas in all grounds by the end of the century, with all first and second division stadia being all-seater by the start of the 1994-5 season and all third and fourth division by 1999-2000.
  • Setting up an Football Stadium Advisory Design Council to advise on ground safety and construction and to commission research into this area.
  • That no perimeter fencing should have spikes on the top or be more than 2.2 metres tall.
  • Making ticket touting a criminal offence.
  • Introducing new laws to deal with a number of offences inside football grounds, including racist chanting and missile throwing.
  • Sending older offenders to Attendance Centres and using new electronic tagging devices for convicted hooligans

Further Legislation

Fire precautions in Places of Sports is also controlled by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and this order lays down certain requirements.

Further Information Links

Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 1941 – The Safety of Sports Grounds Regulations 1987

Application for a Safety Certificate for a Regulated Stand

Commencement No. 1

The Safety of Sports Grounds (Designation) Order 2002

Football Licensing Authority – Safety Certification

Football Licensing Authority – Publications

 

Child minders and Day-Care Providers

 

Child minders and Day-Care Providers

The Requirements for the Childcare Register for childcare in domestic and non-domestic premises issued by Ofsted state “The registered person must ensure that the children receiving childcare are kept safe from harm” which will include fire safety. It also says “The registered person must undertake a risk assessment of the premises and equipment at least once in each calendar year, and immediately, where the need for an assessment arises. The registered person must ensure that all necessary measures are taken to minimise any identified risks.”

Childcare facilities will be offered in a wide range of premises. These can broadly be divided into two main types:

  • Day-care providers, for example, full day care, sessional day care, out-of-school care and crèches, may be offered in non-domestic premises.
  • Child minding that takes place in domestic premises.

There is an opinion that they are both subject to the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) when used for child minding activities, but this is not absolutely clear. For non-domestic premises which are subject to the above RRFSO, the fire risk assessment conducted by the Responsible Person should be considered acceptable by the Ofsted inspectors. It is in the domestic premises where problems may arise and the childminder may not consider themselves competent to conduct a risk assessment with regards to fire safety. The previous guidance by the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers Association [CACFOA] on the provision of fire safety in premises used for the care for young children may also assist the child minder to fulfill their duties, regarding fire safety, to the satisfaction of the inspectors.

Fire Safety Standards

The above guidance note had been prepared with the objective of informing childcare providers about the fire safety standards that inspectors will expect providers to achieve. It is in the interests of childcare providers and their clients that a high standard of fire safety is maintained in childcare facilities. This does not necessarily mean that onerous measures need to be taken, but an adequate assessment of the hazards must be carried out. Once identified, risks should ideally be removed or reduced to an acceptable level. Sufficient and suitable arrangements for early detection of fire should be in place and once the alarm is raised, safe evacuation will depend upon a well-rehearsed emergency plan. There should also be adequate arrangements in place for maintaining fire safety equipment and for training staff in emergency procedures.

This guidance note gives guidance on childcare facilities which may be found in a wide variety of building types and may be ancillary to several different purpose groups (for example, a crèche in an office building or a small group in a community hall). In general these will already be subject to fire safety requirements under the RRFSO. Where a fire risk assessment already exists for the premises, it should be reviewed to take account of the childcare facility.

A fire risk assessment shall be required for domestic premises, when used as a child minding facility, but will not be as onerous as for non-domestic premises.

Non-Domestic Premises used for Childminding Activities

All non-domestic premises will already be subject to fire safety requirements under the RRFSO. If your childcare facility forms part of larger premises and is used for different purposes at different times, you will need to coordinate your planning with other Responsible Persons. In this regard, ask if you can see any existing fire risk assessment and the emergency plan for the premises and, if available, consider how it relates to your childcare facility.

If you are defined as a responsible person for the purposes of the RRFSO then a fire safety officer may need to see and discuss with you the significant findings of your fire risk assessment for your childcare facility.

If no fire risk assessment exists for the premises then you should refer to the new guidance documents

Where a fire risk assessment already exists for the premises, it should be reviewed. This review should focus on the issues that relate to the childcare provision including the following:

  • The location of the childcare facility within the building. Ideally it should be situated on the ground floor with an exit direct to the outside of the building. Where this is not possible it should be as near to the ground floor as possible.
  • The layout of the childcare facility should be conducive to a safe escape, with any cooking or heating facility being sited remote from the exits.
  • There should be adequate escape routes from the childcare facility. Fire doors protecting the escape routes should be self-closing and fire resisting. Doors across escape routes and at exits should be easily opened without the need of a key. Escape routes should be free from obstruction and adequately lit. There should be adequate signage indicating escape routes and particularly alternative routes.
  • Additional automatic fire detection may be required to ensure adequate early detection and warning of fire. If a two stage fire alarm system is installed, the evacuation of the children should commence on the first-stage alert.
  • Sufficient numbers of trained staff should be available to enable a safe and efficient evacuation, taking into account the need to assist or carry children. Parents should be advised of the procedures including the location of the assembly point.
  • There should be an induction process for new staff and regular training and fire drills for all staff and children. The importance of keeping fire doors shut should be emphasized. Training should include the means of raising the alarm, the evacuation plan, the location of the external assembly point and how to call the fire brigade. If fire-fighting equipment is provided then a suitable number of staff should be trained in its use.
  • Fire safety procedures and notices should be written and displayed to provide information to staff and visitors about emergency plans.

Domestic Dwellings used for Childminding Activities

This guidance establishes a common basic standard of fire precautions for domestic dwellings used for child minding activities. The guidance is relevant for persons who are considering applying for registration.

It is important that child minders know what to do in the event of a fire and that they make a fire plan. This should include ensuring that the escape routes are unobstructed and free from trip hazards, the means of raising the alarm in the event of fire, an evacuation plan with an external assembly point and how to call the fire brigade in the event of fire.

Escape Routes

Child minding in private dwellings does not normally present a high risk to life from fire and it is important that a homely and non-institutional environment is maintained. In providing fire protection in any kind of dwelling, it should be recognised that measures that significantly interfere with everyday convenience may be unreliable in the long term

The escape routes from one or two storey dwellings are generally straightforward. Therefore, few provisions are necessary beyond ensuring that each habitable room likely to be used for child minding either opens directly onto a hallway or stair leading to the entrance of the dwelling, or that it has a window or door through which escape could be made. All exits required for escape purposes should be easily openable by adults, preferably without the use of a key.

Newly constructed premises should automatically comply since they will have been subjected to the requirements for means of escape and structural fire precautions under the Building Regulations. In existing premises, care will be needed to ensure that areas used for child minding are not inner rooms without the adequate safeguards shown in Figure 1

Figure 1.

Inner room solution Inner Rooms NotesA room where the only escape route is through another room is termed an inner room. Occupants of the inner room may be at risk from a fire in the access room. Such an arrangement is only acceptable where the inner room is:

 

  • a) a kitchen
  • b) a laundry or utility room
  • c) a dressing room
  • d) a bathroom, WC, or shower room
  • e) any other room on the ground or first storey, which has an openable window or external door suitable for escape and which has an openable area of at least 0.33m2 and is at least 450mm high and 450mm wide. The opening should be not more than 1100mm above the floor. For dormer windows and roof lights see Approved Document B to the Building Regulations.

In cases where child minding will take place in the inner room it is recommended that a smoke detector be installed in the access room or if possible a vision panel should be fitted in the door or wall to the inner room.

Smoke Alarms (Domestic dwellings)

Other than where overnight care is provided, it is considered sufficient for smoke alarms to be installed in circulation areas only. It is recommended that they be installed in accordance with the following recommendations:

  • In a dwelling that has child minding accommodation on more than one storey, there should be at least one smoke alarm at each available floor level.
  • There should be a smoke alarm within 7m of the doors to rooms where a fire is likely to start (the kitchen or living room) and within 3m of the bedroom.
  • If more than one smoke alarm is required in the premises, consideration should be given to connecting them together so that they all operate their warning signal if any one detector operates. This should only be necessary if the building is of such a size or design that the operation of one detector may not give sufficient warning audibility throughout the premises.
  • Smoke alarms should be accessible to carry out routine maintenance, such as testing and cleaning, easily and safely. For this reason smoke alarm should not be fixed directly over a stair shaft or any other opening between floors.
  • Smoke alarms should not be fixed next to, or directly above heaters or air conditioning outlets. They should not be fixed in bathrooms, showers, cooking areas or garages, or any other place where steam, condensation or fumes could give false alarms (unless designed specifically for this use).
  • All smoke alarms need to be checked regularly at the following intervals to ensure they are in good working order
    • Weekly – press test button to ensure the circuit is operating;
    • Yearly – Replace the battery (unless it is of a longer life type) and test by pressing the test button, and otherwise as recommended in the manufacturers instructions.

Having regard to the statutory duty of Ofsted to inspect registered child minders premises, it is considered that it would be reasonable to accept battery-operated smoke alarms as an alternative to them being permanently wired to the mains.

Mains wired alarms are obviously to be preferred and will automatically be installed in newly constructed dwellings under the Building Regulations. Where mains wired smoke alarms are fitted, they should be permanently wired to a regularly used lighting circuit (when the alarm has a standby power supply) or a separate fused circuit at the distribution board (when the alarm has no standby power supply, which is not recommended). They may operate at a low voltage via a mains transformer. Cable for the power supply to, and interconnection of, self-contained smoke alarms need have no special fire survival properties. The wiring installation should conform to the Institution of Electrical Engineering Wiring Regulations.

Fire Fighting Equipment

Child minders should keep a fire blanket to BS EN safety standards in the kitchen. Other fire fighting equipment is not normally necessary and child minders should be reminded that, should a fire occur, their first priority is the safe evacuation of the children.

Reducing the Risk from Fire

Suitable Heating

Portable heaters, whether using liquefied petroleum gas, paraffin or electricity, are not regarded as safe forms of heating for child minding activities and their use should be prohibited except in exceptional circumstances (power cuts etc). On such occasions, the heater should be securely anchored in a safe and suitable position and away from draughts.

A substantial guard constructed to BS 6539 specification and securely fixed in position should enclose solid fuel fires and heating appliances, other than low-pressure hot water radiators. No part of the guard should be closer than 200mm from the heat source, otherwise the guard may get dangerously hot.

Cooking

Children should be kept out of the kitchen area unless they are well supervised and constantly monitored. There should be no deep fat frying cooking when any children are in the kitchen. Matches should not be used for lighting gas cookers. (See also smoking materials).

Smoking Materials

Under the Welfare Requirements smoking in front of children is prohibited by any member of the household. Cigarettes, lighters and matches must always be kept out of sight, out of reach and preferably in a secure cabinet. In the event of concerns being found over a child’s fascination with fire, many Brigades offer a juvenile fire counseling service. Your local Fire and Rescue Service can offer you further information.

Foam Filled Furniture

Upholstered furniture should comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations. In general, the Regulations require that upholstered articles must have a fire resistant filling, most cover fabrics must have passed a match resistance test and the combination of the cover fabric and filling material must have passed a cigarette resistance test.

Electrical Wiring

There should be no obvious defects in the electrical wiring system. Sockets and switches should be securely fixed to the wall and sockets should be of a safety pattern. Flex to electrical appliances should not be run under carpets. The use of multiple adapters should be discouraged, however, where their use is unavoidable, care should be taken that they are not overloaded. It is recommended that covers should be provided to electrical sockets not in use. Fuses should be correctly rated for the appliance in use,

  • Up to 700 watts – 3 amp fuse
  • 700-1000 watts – 5 amp fuse
  • over 1000 watts – 13 amp fuse

Overnight Care

Additional considerations should be given for overnight care because fire risks are potentially greater at night when people are asleep. In addition to the detailed guidance in this note, those offering overnight care need to ensure that:

  • There is adequate automatic fire detection (smoke alarm/detector) to ensure early detection of a fire, including coverage of the areas used for overnight care and the escape routes from it. Where more than one alarm/detector is required, it will be necessary to link them together so that the operation of one actuates the alarm signal in them all. In a dwelling that has child minding accommodation on more than one storey, there should be at least one smoke alarm at each available storey level. There should be a smoke alarm within 7m of the doors to rooms where a fire is likely to start (the kitchen or living room) and within 3m of the bedroom.
  • A bedtime routine is followed ensuring that gas and electrical appliances are turned off and that all smoking materials are safely extinguished.
  • All doors should be closed and checked before retiring.
  • Sufficient adults are available to ensure a safe and efficient evacuation taking into account the need to assist or carry children.

Further Information

National Childminding Association of England and Wales

Freephone: 0800 169 4486

Website: www.ncma.org.uk

Scottish Childminding Association

Tel: 01786 445377

Website: www.childminding.org

Northern Ireland Childminding Association

Tel: 028 9181 1015

Website: www.nicma.org

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Ofsted Web site


Small Construction Sites

 

Small Construction Sites

Fire can break out on most construction sites. There are around 11 construction fires every day. As you read this publication there is probably a fire on a construction site. Not only can people be killed or injured, but fires can also be financially devastating to those involved.

This page sets out some basic measures for construction fire safety and is aimed mainly at those managing and working on smaller sites where risks are relatively low (but it should not be assumed that risks are low merely because a site is small). More detailed guidance is also available aimed at higher risk sites and there is much in it that is relevant for any construction site. Its reference is given at the end of this information sheet.

Legal requirements

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007) came into force in Great Britain on 6 April 2007, and is divided into 5 parts:

  • Part 1 deals with the application of the Regulations and definitions.
  • Part 2 covers general duties that apply to all construction projects.
  • Part 3 contains additional duties that only apply to notifiable construction projects, i.e. those lasting more that 30 days or involving more than 500 person days of construction work.
  • Part 4 contains practical requirements that apply to all construction sites.
  • Part 5 contains the transitional arrangements and revocations.

Background to the new Regulations

Construction remains a disproportionately dangerous industry where improvements in health and safety are urgently needed. The improvements require significant and permanent changes in dutyholder attitudes and behaviour. Since the original CDM Regulations were introduced in 1994, concerns were raised that their complexity and the bureaucratic approach of many duty holders frustrated the Regulations underlying health and safety objectives. These views were supported by an industry-wide consultation in 2002 which resulted in the decision to revise the Regulations.

The new Regulations revise and bring together the CDM Regulations 1994 and the Construction (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 into a single regulatory package.

The new regulations require measures both to prevent fires happening and to make sure all people on construction sites (including visitors) are protected if they do occur. The relevant fire safety sections are 38 to 41 inclusive which are,

Regulation 46 Enforcement in respect of fire

(1) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3)

  • (a) in England and Wales the enforcing authority within the meaning of article 25 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005(a); or
  • (b) in Scotland the enforcing authority within the meaning of section 61 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005(b)

shall be the enforcing authority in respect of a construction site which is contained within, or forms part of, premises which are occupied by persons other than those carrying out the construction work or any activity arising from such work as regards regulations 39 and 40, in so far as those regulations relate to fire, and regulation 41.

(2) In England and Wales paragraph (1) only applies in respect of premises to which the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies.

(3) In Scotland paragraph (1) only applies in respect of premises to which Part 3 of the Fire Scotland) Act 2005 applies(c).

Note. In an existing non domestic premises in which the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RR(FS)O) or Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 applies and is undergoing contruction work the Order or Act is enforced by the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS).The Fire and Rescue Service is also the enforcing authority for sections 38 to 41 of the CDM 2007.

In a new build sections 38 to 41 of the CDM 2007 is enforced by the HSE.

Regulation 38. Prevention of risk from fire etc

(1) Suitable and sufficient steps shall be taken to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risk of injury to any person during the carrying out of construction work arising from

  • fire or explosion;
  • flooding; or
  • any substance liable to cause asphyxiation.

Regulation 39.Emergency procedures

(1) Where necessary in the interests of the health and safety of any person on a
construction site, there shall be prepared and, where necessary, implemented suitable and
sufficient arrangements for dealing with any foreseeable emergency, which arrangements shall
include procedures for any necessary evacuation of the site or any part thereof.

(2) In making arrangements under paragraph (1), account shall be taken of,

  • the type of work for which the construction site is being used;
  • the characteristics and size of the construction site and the number and location of places
    of work on that site;
  • the work equipment being used;
  • the number of persons likely to be present on the site at any one time; and
  • the physical and chemical properties of any substances or materials on or likely to be on the site.

(3) Where arrangements are prepared pursuant to paragraph (1), suitable and sufficient stepsshall be taken to ensure that,

  • every person to whom the arrangements extend is familiar with those arrangements; and
  • the arrangements are tested by being put into effect at suitable intervals.

Regulation 40. Emergency Routes and Exits

(1) Where necessary in the interests of the health and safety of any person on a construction site, a sufficient number of suitable emergency routes and exits shall be provided to enable any person to reach a place of safety quickly in the event of danger.

(2) An emergency route or exit provided pursuant to paragraph (1) shall lead as directly as possible to an identified safe area.

(3) Any emergency route or exit provided in accordance with paragraph (1), and any traffic route giving access thereto, shall be kept clear and free from obstruction and, where necessary, provided with emergency lighting so that such emergency route or exit may be used at any time.

(4) In making provision under paragraph (1), account shall be taken of the matters in regulation 39(2).

(5) All emergency routes or exits shall be indicated by suitable signs.

Regulation 41. Fire detection and fire-fighting

(1) Where necessary in the interests of the health and safety of any person at work on a construction site there shall be provided suitable and sufficient,

  • fire-fighting equipment; and
  • fire detection and alarm systems, which shall be suitably located.

2) In making provision under paragraph (1), account shall be taken of the matters in regulation 39(2).

(3) Any fire-fighting equipment and any fire detection and alarm system provided under paragraph (1) shall be examined and tested at suitable intervals and properly maintained.

(4) Any fire-fighting equipment which is not designed to come into use automatically shall be easily accessible.

(5) Every person at work on a construction site shall, so far as is reasonably practicable, beinstructed in the correct use of any fire-fighting equipment which it may be necessary for him to use.

(6) Where a work activity may give rise to a particular risk of fire, a person shall not carry out such work unless he is suitably instructed.

(7) Fire-fighting equipment shall be indicated by suitable signs.

Guidance on The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

The new regulations are supported by an Approved Code of Practice (ACoP).

The Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) has special legal status and gives practical advice for all those involved in construction work. If you follow the advice in the ACoP you will be doing enough to comply with the law in respect of those specific matters on which it gives advice and includes a copy of the Regulations.

The ACoP explains:

  • The legal duties placed on clients, CDM co-ordinators, designers, principal contractors, contractors, self-employed and workers.
  • The circumstances in which domestic clients do not have duties under CDM 2007 (but that the regulations still apply to those doing work for them).
  • Gives information on the new role of CDM co-ordinator – a key project adviser for clients and responsible for coordinating the arrangements for health and safety during the planning phase of larger and more complex projects.
  • Which construction projects need to be notified to HSE before work starts and gives information on how this should be done.
  • How to assess the competence of organisations and individuals involved in construction work.
  • How to improve co-operation and co-ordination between all those involved in the construction project and with the workforce.
  • What essential information needs to be recorded in construction health and safety plans and files, as well as what shouldn’t be included.

What the law requires in practice will vary depending on the risks. Erecting a simple steel framed building in the middle of a field will only require simple precautions because fire risks are low. Higher risk work such as refurbishing floors in an occupied office block, will need many more precautions because the risk of fire occurring and the difficulties of escaping from it are much greater.

Prevent fire occurring

Most construction fires have simple causes and can be dealt with by simple precautions. The following are particularly important:

  1. Make sure that LPG cylinders and other flammable materials are properly stored. LPG should be stored outside buildings in well-ventilated and secure areas. Flammable materials such as solvents and adhesives should be stored in lockable steel containers;
  2. LPG supplies should be turned off at the cylinder when not in use. This is particularly important out of hours. Serious explosions have occurred after site huts have gradually filled with gas because an LPG heater has not been turned off. Also make sure site huts are adequately ventilated and do not keep LPG in them if it is not needed;
  3. Make sure that LPG equipment and fittings are properly maintained. Damaged hoses and fittings or makeshift connections are extremely dangerous because they can easily lead to leaks in tough construction conditions;
  4. If there is any suspicion that LPG is leaking stop using it and check. Leaks can be identified by hissing, smell or using soapy water, but never with a naked flame. Only light up when you are certain that there are no leaks and that any vapour which has leaked has dispersed;
  5. Follow clear rules for hot work such as welding. Formal permit-to-work systems are often appropriate. In particular, make sure extinguishers are at hand and that sparks or heat cannot set fire to surrounding materials. After the work has finished (usually an hour later) check the worksite to make sure that there is no smouldering;
  6. Do not leave tar boilers unattended;
  7. Keep a tidy site and make sure rubbish is cleared away promptly and regularly;
  8. Avoid unnecessary stockpiling of combustible materials, e.g. polystyrene, and store what is necessary away from ignition sources. Limit what is taken onto site from the store to what is needed for a day’s work;
  9. Consider the need for special precautions in areas where flammable atmospheres may develop, such as the use of volatile solvents or adhesives in enclosed areas;
  10. Avoid burning waste materials on site wherever possible. Never use petrol or similar accelerant’s to start or encourage fires;
  11. Make sure everyone abides by site rules on smoking.
  12. Site rules for preventing fire are useless unless they are followed. Employers and construction managers should monitor their worksites and take appropriate action when breaches are found.

Preparing for fire if it happens

Fires can grow extremely rapidly. If a construction fire occurs the primary aim is to ensure that all those on site reach safety as soon as possible. Delay can be fatal. Site staff may need to fight a fire to enable their escape, but tackling larger fires is the fire brigade’s task.

Raising the alarm

  • If fire breaks out the alarm should be raised as soon as the first person discovers it.
  • The type of alarm needed can range from a simple shout of ‘fire’, to manual bells or klaxons or to sophisticated automatic systems. Whatever system is chosen make sure that it:
    • Can be heard by everyone working on site over normal background noise;
    • Will work when needed (check that existing building alarm systems have not been disconnected if you rely on them during refurbishment work);
    • Can be activated immediately (delay can be fatal).

Means of escape

Construction sites can pose particular problems because the routes in and out may be incomplete and obstructions may be present. Open sites usually offer plentiful means of escape and special arrangements are unlikely to be necessary. In enclosed buildings people can easily become trapped, especially where they are working above or below ground level. In such cases means of escape need careful consideration. Make sure that:

  • Wherever possible, there are at least two escape routes in different directions;
  • Travel distances to safety are reduced to a minimum;
  • Enclosed escape routes, for example corridors or stairwells, can resist fire and smoke ingress from the surrounding site. Where fire doors are needed for this make sure they are provided and kept closed (self-closing devices should be fitted to doors on enclosed escape routes);
  • Escape routes and emergency exits are clearly signed;
  • Escape routes and exits are kept clear. Emergency exits should never be locked when people are on the site;
  • Emergency lighting is installed if necessary to enable escape. This is especially important in enclosed stairways in multi-storey structures which will be in total darkness if the normal lighting fails during a fire;
  • An assembly point is identified where everyone can gather and be accounted for.

Fire-fighting equipment

The equipment needed depends on the risk of fire occurring and the likely consequences if it does. It can range from a single extinguisher on small low-risk sites to complex fixed installations on large and high-risk sites. Whatever equipment is needed make sure that:

  • Fire equipment is located where it is really needed and is easily accessible;
  • The location of fire-fighting equipment and how to use it is clearly indicated;
  • The right sort of extinguishers are provided for the type of fire that could occur. A combination of water or foam extinguishers for paper and wood fires and CO2 extinguishers for fires involving electrical equipment is usually appropriate;
  • The equipment provided is maintained and works.
  • Fire-fighting equipment should be checked regularly by a competent person – often from the manufacturer;
  • Those carrying out hot work have appropriate fire extinguishers with them and know how to use them.

Emergency plans

The purpose of emergency plans is to ensure that everyone on site reaches safety if there is a fire. Small and low-risk sites only require very simple plans, but higher risk sites will need more careful and detailed consideration. An emergency plan should:

  • Be available before work starts;
  • Be up to date and appropriate for the circumstances concerned;
  • Make clear who does what during a fire;
  • Where CDM applies be incorporated in the construction phase health and safety plan;
  • Work if it is ever needed.
  • On larger high risk sites fire drills may be appropriate.
  • On smaller sites, you should know what you need to do if there is a fire;
  • Managers need to make sure that everyone on their sites knows what to do;
  • Regular checks should be made to ensure that fire precautions are in place.

Providing information

Fire action notices should be clearly displayed where everyone on site will see them, for example at fire points, site entrances or canteen areas.

Check List

Emergencies

  • Are there emergency procedures, eg for evacuating the site in case of fire?
  • Do people on site know what the procedures are?
  • Is there a means of raising the alarm, and does it work?
  • Is there a way to contact the emergency services from site?
  • Are there enough suitable escape routes and are these kept clear?
  • Is the first-aid provision good enough?
  • Are suitable fire extinguishers provided?

Fire

  • Is the quantity of flammable materials, liquids and gases kept to a minimum?
  • Are they properly stored?
  • Are flammable gas cylinders returned to a ventilated store at the end of the shift?
  • Are smoking and other ignition sources banned in areas
  • Where gases or flammable liquids are stored or used?
  • Are gas cylinders, associated hoses and equipment properly maintained and in good condition?
  • When gas cylinders are not in use, are the valves fully closed?
  • Is flammable and combustible waste removed regularly and stored in suitable bins or skips?
  • Are suitable fire extinguishers provided?

References

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007)

Managing health and safety in construction. Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. Approved Code of Practice L144 HSE Books 2007 ISBN 978 0 7176 6223 4

Health and safety in construction HSG150(Third edition) HSE Books 2006 ISBN 978 0 7176 6182 4

Fire safety in construction work HSG168 HSE Books 1997 ISBN 0 7176 1332 1

Workplace health, safety and welfare. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Approved Code of Practice L24 HSE Books 1992 ISBN 978 0 7176 0413 5


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