Recent figures published by the Country’s fire and rescue authorities show that more than a third of non-residential premises were not fully compliant with the applicable legislation (Fire Safety Order 2005).
The worst performers were licenced premises where only 52% of the 8,200 premises audited satisfactorily. In addition, 30% of all offices, 29% of factories and warehouses were also found to be non-compliant. What makes these figures all the more worrying is that only 3% of applicable UK premises were checked last year. Which begs the question what were the standards like in the other 97%?
As a result it is quite possible that there are hundreds of thousands of non-domestic premises in the UK that are breaking the law, risking fines, potentially invalidating their insurance and most worryingly, endangering the safety of workers and the general public – these could include shops, factories, schools, offices, warehouses, restaurants, pubs and public buildings.
Most of the issues which were picked up on during these audit visits were failure to have a fire risk assessment, unsuitable or blocked emergency routes and exits, and failure to maintain fire safety precautions, e.g. wedged open fire doors, failure to service fire safety equipment. This is somewhat frustrating, as these common areas of non-compliance can be swiftly identified and managed with the correct advice and guidance.
It is a legal requirement to have a fire risk assessment in place and it is essential this is completed by someone who is suitably trained and experienced. In many cases it is actually the simple things that cost nothing to do – like clearing fire exit routes – which make a big difference.
If you require any help in ensuring your fire risk assessment, and wider fire safety issues are in place and up to date them contact ProAktive on (01302) 341344. We employ health and safety advisors with specific experience in fire safety management and can help you to comply with your legal duties….before the fire service visit you first!
By Simon Walsh CMIOSH