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Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006

A fire risk assessment is a legal requirement and reviewing it is now a mandatory requirement. The Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 is the legislation under which this is enforced. You should be aware that you need to keep the fire risk assessment on your premises and made available for inspection by the fire authority.

History of fire law
The regulations reform the law relating to fire safety in commercial premises for which there were two major pieces of specific fire safety legislation, the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended). Both have now been repealed.

The Act and regulations now create one simple fire safety regime applying to all workplaces in Scotland (including self-employed and those who are in control of premises) and other non-domestic premises such as care homes and houses in multiple occupation. It also impinges on premises that require a licence or certificate of registration ie, liquor, late-catering, second-hand dealer licence etc. So if you have any of these, you are required by law to have a fire risk assessment.

The regime is risk assessment-based with responsibility for the fire safety of the premises and people who might be affected by fire, resting with a defined responsible person.

There is a duty to maintain those fire precautions required under Building Regulations and other legislation such as the Houses in Multiple Occupation Order made under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, which are for the use and protection of fire-fighters.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 which imposed requirements concerning general fire precautions, were referred to as “the workplace fire precautions legislation”. This legislation required employers to carry out a fire risk assessment, identify the significant findings of the risk assessment, provide and maintain such fire precautions as were necessary to safeguard those who used the workplace and provide information, instruction and training to employees in respect of fire precautions.

The fire precautions provided in accordance with these Regulations are intended to protect employees but take account of other people who are present and those likely to resort to the premises.

Although the repealed regulations no longer exist, many of the components parts are now contained in the recent regulations. A fire risk assessment specific to your premises is still a legal requirement and applying the standards and codes of practice to your premises still applies.

Objective
The recent legislation simplify, rationalise and consolidate existing legislation. They provide for a risk based approach to fire safety but allowing more efficient, effective enforcement by the fire and rescue service and other enforcing authorities.

Application
The regulations apply to all places of work (with the exception of):
- Off-shore installations.
- A ship at sea.
- Fields, woods and other lands forming an agricultural or forestry    undertaking.
- An aircraft, locomotive or rolling stock or a vehicle for which a licence is in force.
- A mine within the meaning of the Mines and Quarries Act 1954.
- A borehole site.

Dutyholders
The main duty holder is the “responsible person” in relation to the premises.
 A responsible person is:
1. in relation to a workplace – the employer where the workplace is to any extent under his control
2. in relation to any premises not falling into (i) above, the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with him carrying on a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not)
3. the owner where the person carrying on the business does not have any control over the premises.
The requirements of the Regulations are in fact imposed on any person who has, to any extent, control of premises so far as the requirements relate to matters within his control.

Fire safety duties
The responsible person must:
a) Take such general fire precautions as will ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of any of his employees and
b) In relation to relevant persons who are not his employees, take such general fire precautions as may reasonably be required in the circumstances of the case to ensure that the premises are safe.

Self -employed
Those sole traders who occupy premises will be required to carry out a fire risk assessment for the sake of their own safety as well as others likely to resort to the premises. The regulations impose other requirements similar to existing places of work, ie fire-fighting equipment and a fire alarm system.

Risk assessment
The responsible person must carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him or her by or under the regulations.
The responsible person must review the fire risk assessment regularly.

Employing young people
Any person who has not attained the age of 18 years must not be employed unless a specific risk assessment has been undertaken with reference to the their areas of work and their supervision.

Recording the risk assessment
Where the employer employs 5 or more employees he or she must make a written record of the information gathered during the risk assessment, in particular:
- The significant findings.
- The measures taken, or to be taken, to ensure general fire safety.
- Any persons identified as being specifically at risk.

Fire safety arrangements
The responsible person must organise such arrangements as are appropriate to the size and nature of his workplace and the inherent risks within it by:
 - Effective planning.
- Organisation.
- Control.
- Monitoring.
- Review.
 of the preventative measures necessary to manage fire safety.

Where a dangerous substance is in use within the premises, the responsible person must eliminate or reduce the risks so far as is reasonably practicable. Where possible, dangerous substances must be replaced with less dangerous ones.

Fire fighting and fire detection
The responsible person must ensure that the premises are equipped with an appropriate fire detection system that raises the alarm and also suitable and sufficient fire fighting equipment.

Competent persons
The responsible persons must nominate competent persons to assist in the implementing of the measures for safety within the premises.

Emergency routes and exits
Emergency exit routes, adequate for the needs of the premises, must be kept clear and available for immediate use at all times and doors must open in the direction of travel.
Emergency routes and exits must be clearly indicated by signs and where appropriate, emergency lighting.

Maintenance
The responsible person must ensure that premises, equipment, facilities, devices etc provided for fire safety are subject to a system of suitable maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

Enforcement
The Fire Authority will enforce the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations unless the premises are the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive. Local Authorities will enforce fire safety at sports grounds which come within the scope of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975.

Powers of inspectors
An authorised inspector may do anything necessary to carry out the duties imposed by the regulations.
You should be aware that, at any reasonable time, a fire safety officer may enter and inspect the premises, make enquiries about any matter, check documents and records, identify the responsible person, take samples and extracts of documents or undertake any other task he deems necessary.

Enforcement notices
The fire authority can serve a notice on the responsible person if it is of the opinion that the responsible person is failing to comply with the regulations.

Prohibition notices
If the Fire Authority believes that the use of the premises constitutes a risk to persons so serious that the use of the premises ought to be prohibited or restricted they can serve a prohibition notice.
A prohibition notice takes effect immediately it is served if the risk to safety is considered to be imminent, otherwise the notice can be deferred.

Alterations notices
If a Fire Authority believes that fire safety may be compromised if premises are altered they may serve an alterations notice on the responsible person requiring them to inform the authority of the pending alteration.

News

New Fire Safety Legislation Out In October
The fire risk assessment is a legal requirement and reviewing it will become a mandatory requirement on 1st October 2006 when new fire law for Scotland comes into force. You should be aware that you need to keep the fire risk assessment on your premises available for inspection by the fire authority.

Fire Solutions New Website Launched
A brand new website to ensure that the people of Scotland are made aware of their responsibilities as employers. We can ensure that the information is factual and accurate and will assist your company’s responsible person in fire awareness and new legislation.

The site has links to other professional organisations based in the UK and gives an overview of new fire law in Scotland. It describes who we are, where we are and how your company can benefit using the services provided. The consultancy is of a very high standard with years of experience in fire safety law.


Copyright Fire Solutions Fife 2006