Fire Safety

Fire Safety Negligence vs. Naivety What You Need To Know – Albion Detection System

By March 6, 2018 May 7th, 2024 No Comments
fire safety negligence

Fire Safety Negligence vs. Naivety What You Need To Know – Albion Detection System

In fire safety terms, there is a fine line between fire safety negligence and naivety.

However, both could see you in hot water because of non-compliance to fire safety regulations.

Here we’ll take a closer look at all you need to know about fire safety negligence and naivety, and how to avoid the damage and dangers of falling prey to either.

Fire Safety At Work

Your workplace is full of potential fire hazards.

Unlike domestic properties, commercial buildings have a heavy footfall and often lots of different staff with conflicting ideas about how to safeguard the premises from fire risks.

This is why the law demands your fire safety is centralised, streamlined and practical, led by a designated responsible person who is responsible for aspects such as:

The Legal Obligations

Legally, the responsibility for fire safety falls to the business or premises owner, and therefore it is essential this is taken seriously, as failure to do so could easily spiral into both expensive legal complications and even fatal accidents in the event of a fire.

Negligence cases can see companies stripped of their licenses, lose their premises, and be depending on the seriousness of the violation, could even lead to imprisonment.

There is lots of information available for those concerned about how to stay legal, so naivety, defined as accidentally breaching your legal requirements, is rarely accepted as a reasonable cause for a violation.

Your responsibilities extend beyond legality, and into protecting life.

How To Avoid Accidental Negligence

So, how do you avoid accidental negligence?

There are three steps all businesses must take to ensure they meet UK law:

1. Undertake Your Risk Assessment

This is an official document, stored alongside your Fire Safety Log Book.

The fire safety risk assessment is vital, as it is one of the first things a fire safety officer will ask to see should your premises receive an inspection.

Documenting your assessment means it’s always available as a reference point and source of continual improvement.

Each fire risk assessment must be reviewed regularly, and documentation is a legal requirement for companies which have more than five employees, require a licence, or is required under the instruction of your local fire brigade.

There are professional assessors who can help with this stage if required, though the assessor only needs to be confident in their own abilities and understanding.

Your responsible person must, therefore, be able to:

  • Identify risk factors and those at risk in case of fire.
  • Assess which fire safety measures could be put in place.
  • Record the findings of the assessment.
  • Implement suitable changes.
  • Continually update the assessment for improvement.

This assessment outlines the main findings of your investigations, as well as the actions which must be undertaken to improve your company’s fire safety.

You can find official documents and guidance on fire risk assessments at the Gov.uk website.

fire safety negligence

2. Install Fire Fighting and Detection Equipment

UK fire safety legislation states you must install appropriate firefighting equipment.

Higher-risk businesses would benefit from measures such as a sprinkler system and emergency lighting, whilst some smaller companies choose to limit their fire-fighting toolkit to a few key items such as fire extinguishers.

Whatever elements you choose, they must be certified to industry standards, undergo regular maintenance tests, and be kept in superb working order, after all, you never know when you might need to use them.

In addition, your company must install

  • The appropriate signage, such as guides to using extinguishers
  • Clearly demarcated exit routes
  • And fire alarm call points

Your Fire Action plan (ie. a notice stating where to assemble and what to do in the event of a fire drill or fire) should also be clearly visible on the premises.

Signage is one of the most frequently overlooked elements of fire safety equipment, but its role is no less pivotal, and the consequences of neglecting it can be just as devastating as any other missing part of your fire safety plan.

One of the most pivotal elements to avoid contravening fire safety law is your fire detection systems; every business is required to have a fire alarm unless it is so small that fire development can be easily spotted and a simple shout of ‘Fire’ will alert anyone on the premises.  

Each fire detection system must have an alarm call point on each floor of your building, ensuring it is accessible by all who could need it.  

Signage can also be accompanied by emergency lighting, designed to help guide and provide a backup should normal lighting fail during a fire.

For larger businesses, this is a legal requirement.

The most recent British Standards recommend a three-hour emergency lighting test yearly, testing to see whether the lighting system works during this time.

However, this could prove overly disruptive to business, so an hour long test should be sufficient.

3. Maintain Your Fire Safety Kit

Maintenance is critical to avoiding allegations of negligence.

Be aware of the frequency and thoroughness which is required from your fire safety maintenance checks.

You are required by law to check your fire alarm weekly – as well as servicing it every six months.

Anyone carrying out these tests and maintenance must be considered ‘competent’, and for the longer-term checks, it is often advisable to call on professional assistance.

Firefighting equipment requires maintenance checks every six months, as fire extinguishers can degrade with time even when not used, and must also be checked for signs of tampering.

Understand The Law

The latest fire safety regulation stems from the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

This legislation includes changes designed to make the law easier to understand and comply with, as well as including information on how fire safety law is enforced.

To understand the complexities of fire safety law or to report an area of particular concern, be sure to contact your local fire safety regulation team.  

However, to comply with the current legislation, you must actively undertake the above steps.  

These laws are designed to help companies keep their staff and assets safe, and once you understand how they work, fire safety legislation will become a much simpler and more straightforward task to master.

Ready To Get Fire Protection Focussed?

To ensure you’re doing all you can to remain compliant and protection your business and its staff in the event of a fire, Download our FREE Fire System Audit Checklist for business owners to get the inside track on where to start, or contact us to find out more, or book your free no obligation Fire Protection Consultation