Govt Calls For Fire Safety Feedback From Businesses
The Home Office has issued a call for evidence from employers and business owners, asking for their views on fire safety in workplaces across England as part of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which ensures that fire safety in places like warehouses, offices, commercial venues and shops is fit for purpose.
The order itself covers all non-domestic premises, as well as communally used parts of residential buildings, like corridors and stairwells. It states that those responsible for fire safety in regulated premises include landlords, business owners, employers, occupiers and anyone else in control of the premises, like facilities and building managers.
Anyone with paying guests also have to adhere to the regulations set out in the order, including hotel owners and those who run guesthouses, bed and breakfasts or who let self-catering properties.
Responsibilities include carrying out a fire risk assessment and reviewing it regularly, informing staff about any risks identified, implementing and maintaining proper fire safety measures, planning for emergencies and providing all staff members with information, fire safety instruction and training.
The move has come following the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review on Building Regulation and Fire Safety, government-commissioned after the Grenfell Tower fire.
Nick Hurd, minister for policing and the fire service, observed: “The Grenfell Tower fire was an unimaginable tragedy and we are determined to do everything we can to stop it ever happening again.
“The government is making good progress on improving the safety of high-rise flats, but we must also look at the wider building safety landscape, including the places where we all work. To help keep people safe, we want to ensure the Fire Safety Order is fit for purpose. To do this, we need to understand how it is working on the ground and make informed decisions in the future.”
The Hackitt review concluded that fundamental reform was required to improve building safety and rebuild trust among those living in high-rise buildings. Included will be a requirement for the construction sector to take responsibility for the provision of safe buildings, instead of waiting for others to tell them what is or isn’t acceptable.
Dame Judith explained that the problem is a systemic one, with the current system “far too complex”. She noted that as it stands, there is a lack of clarity as to who is responsible and for what – and the root causes of the issues won’t be addressed by making changes to the current system, such as prohibiting or restricting certain practices.
A new framework was recommended in order to improve standards for new and existing buildings to ensure that residents are safe. May of the ideas in the report could also be applied to a wider range of buildings, with the intention being to drive change more broadly.
According to the BBC, there are still more than 200 high-rise buildings across England that have cladding similar to what was used on Grenfell Tower that are still waiting for its removal.
Out of the 328 buildings featuring aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, work is waiting to begin on 221 of them. In all, 62 local authority areas in England have high-rise buildings with ACM, with Tower Hamlets, Greenwich and Salford all found to have at least 20 with the cladding in place.
The government has pledged a £200 million fund to help remove AMC from private residential tower blocks, but leaseholders have said this is insufficient and they will still be hit with bills of thousands of pounds to implement further fire safety measures.
Organisation Grenfell United is now calling for a social housing regulator to be introduced to make sure that tenants’ voices are heard when concerns are raised, as well as for the banning of dangerous materials like cladding.
The benefits of CIEH training courses
When it comes to fire safety, it’s essential that the appropriate training is undertaken by those in responsible positions. Following health and safety best practice is vital for the management and minimisation of risks to ensure a safe working environment, but also for complying with government regulations.
You face huge fines if you don’t comply, as well as risking the reputation of your brand – so you have to make sure that you and those you work with have the appropriate skills and knowledge in order to ensure that public health and safety is protected.
The Level 1 fire safety training course is perfect for anyone in need of an introduction to fire safety, as well as for those looking to move onto further training. It covers the essential knowledge you’ll need for fire safety, from how to prevent fires from starting in the first place to what action you need to take if a fire does break out.
The introduction to fire safety awareness covers the causes and effects of workplace fire, duties and responsibilities, fire prevention measures and what steps must be taken in the event of a fire.
The fire risk control section covers fire risk management, the fire triangle, control measures and reporting fire safety issues. And from there you can move on to the practical fire safety section, which covers portable fire-fighting equipment, fire classification systems, fighting electrical fires, the main types of extinguishers and the simple safety checks you can carry out on them.
If you’d like to find out more about online learning courses, get in touch with the team here at Learning Plus today.