Every year people die or are seriously injured as a result of fires in non-domestic properties.
A fire, in addition to being a serious risk to human life and wellbeing can result in financial disruption of a business. Every year a fire costs UK business millions of pounds due to property damage, lost profit, fines, compensation, and insurance premiums. Around 40% of businesses never recover from the effects of a fire.
Fire legislation is about preventing fires occurring and reducing the risk of harm and injury . Anyone who has some control over a premises must take reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood of fire and ensure people can safely escape the premises in the event of a fire. If you are an employer, have control over the premises or any activities on the premises, then you have responsibilities under fire safety legislation to ensure the safety of the people in the premises.
The law applies to you if you:
- Have control of a premises.
- Provide accommodation.
- Are responsible for a part of a dwelling that is used for business purposes.
- Are a charitable or voluntary organisation.
- Are a Contractors or consultants carrying out fire risk assessments.
As an employer or a person having control over premises, you are legally responsible for the safety of everyone who might lawfully be on your premises. This includes employees, visitors or members of the public in the immediate vicinity of your premises who could be affected by a fire.
The Responsible Person must ensure that everyone on the premises, or nearby, can safely escape in the event of a fire. It is important to ensure arrangements are in place for those who may have a disability or require special help.
Duties imposed by the legislation are:-
- Carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and identify possible hazards and risks
- Identify and implement the fire safety measures as necessary as a result of the fire risk assessment outcome.
- Implementing these fire safety measures using fire reduction principles.
- Fire safety arrangements, fire safety policy and procedures to be implemented.
- Comply with specific requirements of the fire safety regulations.
- Ensure those at particular risk i.e. special needs or disabilities have been identified in the assessment and arrangements made for their safe evacuation.
- Provide suitable arrangements to warn people of a fire in the building e.g. Fire Detection and alarm system.
- Eliminate or reduce risk from dangerous substances e.g. chemicals.
- Provide adequate means of escape in the event of a fire e.g. sufficient and suitable fire exits; fire doors, compartments; signs, notices and emergency lighting.
- Implement measures for fire fighting e.g. fire extinguishers provided in appropriate locations and numbers.
- An effective fire emergency plan to be followed in the event of a fire.
- Schedule fire drills at least annually.
- Maintenance of all fire safety systems and equipment.
- Provide training to all employees and others who may need it.
- Regularly review and monitoring of all procedures and amend as required.
The main requirements to manage fire safety are:
- Completion of a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment.
- Suitable information, instruction and training given to staff.
- Appointment of competent persons to manage fire organisation and control.
- Providing information and instruction to any visitors.
- Maintenance of your plant and equipment.
- Sufficient fire fighting equipment that is protected from accidental damage, maintained and suitably located within close proximity of area with fire risk e.g. co2 available to electrical fire hazards.
- Routine workplace inspection to identify any potential fire hazards.
- Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) for any staff who require assistance in an emergency evacuation.
- Maintenance of alarm system on a routine basis.
- Completion of fire drill exercise annually as a minimum (ideally 6 monthly).
- A written fire evacuation procedure.
- Routine sound function testing of your fire alarm system (weekly).
- Designated evacuation meeting point.
- Maintenance of emergency lighting systems which includes daily visual checks, monthly tests and annual discharge tests.
- Implementation of clear fire exit routes throughout the premises.
- Ensuring that exit routes are kept clear from obstruction.
- Identification of any high risk areas such as storage of highly flammable goods like petrol, diesel, butane gas, etc.
- Good housekeeping and fire prevention measures.
- Arson prevention procedures.
Questions to Consider
- Are all fire doors kept closed or automatically close in the event of an emergency?
- Are all combustible materials kept to a minimum?
- Are combustible materials kept separate from sources of ignition?
- Are staff trained on the usage of firefighting equipment?
- Is compartmentilisation compromised by gaps in ceilings or doors which would assist fire and smoke travel?
- Is there adequate and clear signage in place to assist persons who are unfamiliar with the layout to safely evacuate the premises in an emergency?
- Are all self closing devices in working order?
- Are all highly flammable good appropriately protected from sources of ignition?
The above guidance provides an introduction on the main requirements needed to adequately manage this health and safety topic. If you require further guidance, risk assessments or template documentation on this subject please consult your relevant full guidance health and safety website (BIGGA, England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf). If you do not hold the log in details for this website, for your club, please speak to your golf club management team to identify who the account administrator is and request the details.