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Legislation around Health and Safety at Work and Fire 

The safest way to deal with fire is to prevent it.

Fire poses a significant risk in the workplace.

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) states that Employers must ‘ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her Employees’. The person in control to any extent of the workplace should ensure a safe workplace, safe access, safe egress and safe articles or substances.

Section 8 of the 2005 Act also requires Employers to obtain, where necessary, the services of a Competent Person. A definition of competent person is included in Section 2(2) of the 2005 Act – A Competent Person should possess sufficient training, experience and knowledge having regard to the task and the size or hazards (or both) of the undertaking. Suitability must be assessed in the light of the specific intended functions. The Competent Person should demonstrate knowledge of current best practice in the sector and be prepared to supplement gaps in training. The appointment of a Competent Person does not absolve the Employer of his or her responsibilities under the legislation.

Section 11 of the 2005 Act states that Employers are required to prepare and revise adequate emergency plans and procedures and provide the necessary measures for fire fighting and the evacuation of the workplace. Consideration for all Employees and everybody connected with the workplace must form part of how an Employer addresses the area of safety, health and welfare and particularly the provision of emergency access and egress.

Section 12 of the 2005 Act clarifies that consideration must also be given to the safety of persons other than Employees within the workplace. Everything reasonably practicable must be done to ensure that all individuals at the place of work are not exposed to risks to their safety and health. In addition, section 15 places obligations on landlord’s who own (but are otherwise unconnected with) a workplace to ensure that there is safe access and egress from the place of work.

Under Section 19 of the 2005 Act, Employers are required to carry out risk assessments and to record these in the Safety Statement. A risk assessment should be conducted and should include:

  • Fire Prevention
  • Fire Detection and Warning
  • Emergency Escape and Fire Fighting