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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
New fire regulations
New fire regulationsKeywords: Fire safety, Legislation, Employers
The newly amended Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations, which now require all employers to carry out a fire risk assessment, are a potential major headache for managers with health and safety responsibilities.
Workplaces must comply with the new regulations regardless of whether they are covered by fire or safety certificates issued under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 or other similar pieces of legislation.
Employers are responsible for the safety of all employees and visitors to the workplace; however, it is the fire risk assessment and the requirement to keep a record of the findings (where five or more are employed) which are causing the greatest confusion.
To help tackle the problem, Chubb Fire, one of the UK's foremost fire protection companies, is launching The Practical Guide to Fire Risk Assessment, which they believe will help employers in low or medium risk premises to fulfil their fire precaution responsibilities themselves. Those with a high fire risk, who do not employ in-house "experts" such as fire safety managers of risk surveyors, will probably need help from a qualified fire consultant or the fire brigade.
No one should under-estimate the potential risk of fire to personnel and business continuity. Despite a downward trend in UK fires in the workplace, according to Home Office statistics, in 1998, 34,510 fires were recorded – which injured 1,582 people and killed 20.
In commercial terms, the Association of British Insurers reports that workplace fires cost £4 billion every year – and that's not counting lost profits or the damage to staff and customer loyalty. Also, the ABI estimates that 80 per cent of businesses suffering fires never fully recover.
Fire risk assessment is an essential part of managing a business, and a mandatory requirement. It involves understanding how to identify fire hazards and who could be harmed, consulting staff, evaluating the risks, recording findings and actions, then reviewing and revising plans.
Chubb Fire's Practical Guide comprises easy-to-follow, illustrated guidance on the regulations and fire risk assessment, including user-friendly flow charts and "photocopiable" checklists that provide a record of findings. The guide is also designed to record fire safety procedures such as weekly fire alarm tests, site inspections, fire extinguisher maintenance visits, or staff fire drills.
It costs £95 including postage and packing but excluding VAT and can be ordered from the Chubb Web site (www.chubbfire.co.uk) – which provides visitors with useful fire safety advice as well as information about fire safety products and services.
"Chubb Fire is committed to improving fire safety and therefore we developed this detailed but non-technical manual on fire prevention to help reduce confusion about the workplace regulations – at the same time providing employers with a really useful tool", said Chubb Fire Director, David Bonnett.
For further information please contact: Alec Saxon at Chubb Fire on: +44 (0) 1932 776836.