Top 5 Questions asked following Fire Safety Regulatory Reform
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With the pending release of the 2016 UAE Fire and Life Safety Code, Restrata decided to take a look at the impact of the introduction of similar legislation on the United Kingdom. We anticipate that the new clauses and amendments that will be included in the updated version of the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code will have a similar effect as The Regulatory Reform Order 2005, which came into force in April 2006 in the UK.
The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 replaced all previous pieces of fire legislation relating to Fire Safety. Many of our team were working in the UK around this time and have valuable experience in implementing the required business process changes through the transitional period, ensuring that our clients complied with the new regulations as quickly as possible to meet deadlines.
We have compiled the Top 5 Regulatory Reform Order questions asked by our clients at the time:
- What is a Fire Risk Assessment anyway?
This was the question asked by the majority of business owners and building occupiers who, overnight became responsible for conducting a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks, and identifying the general fire precautions required under the order.
- It can’t be that difficult, can I do it myself?
Of course you can, as long as you are deemed ‘competent’. If a fire occurs at your building or you get a visit from the enforcing authority, you will be asked to produce your Fire Risk Assessment. More and more cases of prosecution due to inadequate Fire Risk Assessments and the competency of the individual undertaking the assessment are occurring in the UK.
- Ok, I have paid a competent person to carry out the Fire Risk Assessment on my behalf. I am now fully compliant and feel much safer. Can I relax now?
Not so fast. The Fire Risk Assessment is a live document and will contain recommendations and actions for you to follow. Ignore these at your own risk. The assessment will highlight hazards, identify people at risk and suggest ways to evaluate, remove or reduce the risk. The assessment will also include information relating to the review process, when and why you need to review the assessment.
- Do I need to inform anybody about the content of the Fire Risk Assessment?
That is a requirement of the order, the responsible person must provide relevant information to employees, contractors and visitors to the building. As a minimum people need to know what action to take in case of an emergency and how to evacuate the building and reach a place of safety.
- This all sounds expensive, and I have never had a fire so I must be doing the right things and the building must be safe. What are the implications for me if I don’t bother with a Fire Risk Assessment?
Doing nothing is not an option. This is government legislation and there is a legal requirement for you as a responsible person to ensure your building is safe in relation to fire. Be prepared to face a fine and possible imprisonment if you ignore this legislation. Ignorance is no defence in a court of law.
The provision of a Fire Risk Assessment, a Fire Safety Policy and a comprehensive set of fire safety records will do much to convince the enforcing authorities that fire precautions are being maintained to a reasonable standard. More importantly it will demonstrate that you care about the safety of your employees and anybody else who visits your premises.
If you have any other questions in the lead up to the introduction of the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code, please feel free to reach out: [email protected]
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