Northern Ireland Fire Safety Legislation
The Northern Ireland Fire safety legislation regarding fire safety regulations in your premises has changed. Part 3 of the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 and the Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 came into effect on 15 November 2010. This simplifies existing fire safety legislation in non-domestic premises and reinforces the modern risk based approach to fire prevention.
The Fire Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1984 has been repealed on 15 November 2010 and the fire certification process has ceased. Existing premises that have previously been subjected to that order will most likely be compliant in terms of their fire safety measures. However, it will now be necessary for those premises to have a Fire Risk Assessment completed.
If a Fire Risk Assessment for the premises has been carried out under the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001 and this assessment has been regularly reviewed, then all that should be required is a revision of that assessment taking into account the wider scope of the new legislation as described in the guidance documents.
Who is responsible?
The Northern Ireland Fire safety legislation means significant changes to the ways in which employers and people in control of premises manage fire safety. Responsibility for fire safety in the workplace now clearly rests with the employer and those with any degree of control of the premises (deemed the appropriate person).
As an appropriate person with control over non-domestic, industrial, commercial, leisure, educational or healthcare premises, the legislation requires that you take responsibility for ensuring your premises reach the required fire safety standard.
Who will enforce the law?
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service will be the enforcing authority in respect of the majority of premises and will visit premises to ensure compliance with Fire Safety legislation.
They maintain a Public Register on their website detailing any people / businesses that fail to comply with the legislation.
Main requirements under the legislation
- Carry out a fire risk assessment for the premises over which you have control
- Identify the fire hazards and risks associated with the premises, materials / substances, activities and more
- Identify the people, or groups of people at risk and anyone who may be especially at risk
- Remove and reduce the risks as far as reasonably possible
- Put in place general fire precautions to deal with any remaining risks
- Implement additional preventative and protective measures if flammable or explosive substances are used or stored on the premises
- Develop and implement appropriate emergency procedures in the event of fire
- If you have five or more employees, or require a licence or registration, you must record the significant findings of the risk assessment and any actions you have taken to remove / reduce the risk
- Review the risk assessment periodically or after significant changes in the workplace