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What to expect if a Fire Safety Inspector Calls
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This is a brief guide for Responsible Persons (RP) as designated under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and indicates how most UK fire authorities will conduct themselves when visiting.
Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) conduct regular inspections on high-risk non-domestic premises to ensure they comply with the above order. The inspection program is based on risk-assessed principles and high-risk premises are mostly those premises that have sleeping accommodation like hotels, hostels, and residential homes.
Responsible Person’s e.g. owners, employers, managers and those in control of non domestic premises have a duty under the above order and the following explains what you can expect when a fire safety enforcement officer visits your premises and what you may expect during a visit.
Who Enforces Fire Safety Law?
Fire safety law is enforced by Fire Safety Enforcement Officers from the local Fire and Rescue Service. They have the right to enter any workplace at any reasonable hour, without giving notice, though notice may be given where the inspector thinks it is appropriate.
The RP should establish if the EO has the authorisation to conduct an inspection before allowing him on the premises. The EO will then conduct an inspection to check out the workplace, the work activities, your management of fire safety, and audit your fire risk assessment to ensure you are complying with fire safety law.
The EO may offer guidance or advice to help you. He/she may also talk to employees or their representatives, take photographs, serve notices and take action if there is a risk to fire safety that needs to be dealt with immediately.
If the inspector finds a breach of fire safety law, the inspector will decide what action to take. The action will depend on the nature of the breach. Inspectors may take enforcement action in several ways to deal with a breach of the law.
Where the breach of the law is relatively minor, the inspector may tell the Responsible Person, what to do to comply with the law and explain why. The inspector will, if asked, write to confirm any advice.
Where the breach of the law is more serious, he EO may issue an enforcement notice to tell the responsible person to do something to comply with the law. The EO will discuss the notice and, if possible, resolve points of difference, before serving it. The notice will say what needs to be done, by when and why. The time period within which to take the remedial action will be at least 21 days to allow the duty holder time to appeal to a magistrate’s court if he/she so wishes.
The EO may issue an alteration notice if he/she is of the opinion that the premises constitute a serious risk to relevant persons.
Whether due to the features of the premises, their use, any hazard present, or;
Any other circumstances or;
May constitute such a risk if a change is made to them or;
The use to which they are put.
The notice must state that the enforcing authority is of the opinion the matters identified constitute a risk to relevant persons or may constitute such a risk
If a change is made to the premises or
The use to which they are put.
The RP will be told in writing about the right of appeal to a magistrate’s court.
The responsible person must address the risk to relevant persons and reduce it to a satisfactory level. Before making any of the changes, which may result in a significant increase in risk, the RP must notify the enforcing authority of the proposed changes. The RP will be told in writing about the right of appeal to a magistrate’s court.
Where an activity involves, or will involve, a risk so serious that people are in imminent danger, emergency powers can be used to prohibit or restrict the use of the workplace until the risk has been reduced to an acceptable level. The prohibition or restriction notice will explain why the action is necessary. The RP will be told in writing about the right of appeal to a magistrate’s court.
In some cases the inspector may consider that it is also necessary to initiate a prosecution for failing to comply with fire safety law.
So in short, ensure you keep on top of your checks and repairs to help avoid any unnecessary scares later on. If you need help with tracking these checks and repairs then contact us today, as the Pass Management System has been designed to offer a comprehensive daily tasks management systems that stores and tracks every piece of relevant information all in one secure server.
Meaning that when the Fire Inspector does come knocking you’ll be able to provide evidence of your checks within just a couple of clicks!
To find out more or for a personal WebEx demonstration contact us today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07733 268769.