The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (RRFSO) combined a lot of fire regulations into one handy volume during 2005 and came into force in October 2006. The nice thing about the RRFSO is that is organised in very useful articles.
What you need to comply with are the Duties in section 2 and this contains Articles 8 to 23 and these 16 Articles will tell you exactly what you need to comply with.
Part 2 FIRE SAFETY DUTIES The following are the headings of Articles 8 to 23 which are the articles that impose a duty on the responsible person to comply with the RRFSO.
Article 8. Duty to take general fire precautions (Legal requirement to keep staff and visitors safe from harm due to fire) Article 9. Risk assessment (Legal requirement to establish the level/seriousness of risk in a premises and dealing with issues to prevent harm) Article 10. Principles of prevention (Legal requirement to apply the 8 principles of prevention when deciding and implementing control measures) Article 11. Fire safety arrangements (planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures) Article 12. Elimination or Reduction of Risks from Dangerous Substances (Any flammables, combustibles etc should be limited and locked away) Article 13. Fire-fighting and Fire Detection (Fire alarm system, extinguishing equipment such as risers, suppression systems and sprinklers) Article 14. Emergency Routes and Exits (Stairwells, corridors and also all doors leading to a place of safety) Article 15. Procedures for Serious and Imminent Danger and for Danger Areas (A written plan of action of who will do what and how which is practised) Article 16. Additional emergency measures in respect of dangerous substances (Special arrangements for sites with fuel or flammable storage) Article 17. Maintenance (All maintenance regimes and documents relating to fire equipment and facilities) Article 18. Safety Assistance (Who will assist in an emergency situation and how will less able persons be assisted) Article 19. Provision of Information to Employees (How the fire action and emergency plan is communicated and practised) Article 20. Provision of Information to Employers and the Self-employed from Outside Undertakings Article 21. Training (Fire marshal/warden training as well as fire extinguisher training) Article 22. Co-operation and co-ordination (This is a requirement for all staff and neighbours to work together in preventing harm, including sharing information) Article 23. General Duties of Employees at Work (Not interfering with equipment or endangering others, such as blocking escape routes etc)
How to Carry out a Fire Risk Assessment
Article 9 requires a fire risk assessment to be carried out and although there are several ways in doing this there are two basic methods.
The first is to follow the 5 steps of risk assessing which is to 1. Identify the hazards, 2. Identify who may be harmed, 3. Evaluate the risk and implement control measures, 4. Record the findings, 5. Review the risk assessment when required.
This can be done by allocating the Part 2 duties Articles of the RRFSO to the risk assessment step it applies to. A very labour intensive way of doing it but very thorough if the appropriate questions are asked and done by a very competent person.
The most widely used and recognised methodology of doing a fire risk assessment is by using PAS 79. (Publicly Available Specification) BSI published. This follows the 5 steps of risk assessing but with the added benefit of being more specific in some areas, particularly the evaluation of risk. What's more significant is that the status of PAS79 has changed and it is now a recognised Code of Practise for fire risk assessments in two parts. (Premises other than housing and Housing)
The 9 steps in carrying out a fire risk assessment in PAS 79 are:
Obtain information on the building, the processes carried out in the building and the people present or likely to be present in the building,
Identify the fire hazards and the means for their elimination or control,
Assess the likelihood of a fire,
Determine the fire protection measures in the building,
Obtain relevant information about fire safety management,
Make assessment of the likely consequences to people in the event of fire,
Make an assessment of the fire risk,
Formulate and document an action plan,
Define the date by which the fire risk assessment should be reviewed
This publication also includes a template with tick boxes and ample room for observations for each element. It also includes the most important part which is the recommendations and tabular risk assessment conclusions. Other benefits are space for building information, other relevant information and the assessor's competency statement.
In all a very good document which has been developed by a very competent individual (Mr Colin Todd) who served the industry for many years.
Both these methods are good and it has been shown that when the two are combined it produces a very suitable fire risk assessment. The addition of photos and floor plans always improves the quantity of information and demonstrates where improvement is required and the state of current provision.
A lot of guidance is freely available and a good starting point is to look at - www.communities.gov.uk/publications/fire/firesafetyrisk2
Other useful publications are BS 9999 - Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings - which provides a very detailed specification of how fire safety should be managed. Every fire risk assessor should have this at hand.