Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations

Applies to EnglandApplies to WalesApplies to Scotland

Title: Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations

Category: England, Wales and Scotland Regulations

Date: 1997 (amended 1999)

Reference: SI 1997/1840 [Full text] (1999/1877 [Full text])

General Description:

These regulations apply to any workplace where staff are employed. There are exempt areas, however which include the following:

  • Workplaces only used by self-employed people
  • Private dwellings
  • Workplaces covered by a current fire certificate under the Fire Precautions Act 1971
  • Workplaces to which the Fire Certificates (Special Premises) Regulations 1976 apply
  • Construction sites
  • Means of transport used outside the workplace
  • Agricultural/Forestry land situated away from the undertaking's main buildings

The following text consists of suggestions, rather than actual legal requirements, of the regulations:

Risk assessment

  • Identify any sources of ignition which could start a fire
  • Identify any combustible materials & store them away from ignition sources
  • Identify any personnel at risk and try to reduce that risk. Make staff aware of potential risks
  • Identify structures which could promote fire spread (e.g. ducts, flues, openings)
  • Monitor the introduction of heat sources during periods of maintenance & refurbishment

Detection and warning

Fit detection and warning systems to workplaces. Unoccupied buildings/quarters may especially need automatic detection and warning systems, whereas occupied areas with people in close proximity may only need someone shouting a warning. Larger occupied areas mat benefit from hand operated bells, sirens or gongs. All workplaces providing sleeping accommodation should provide automatic detection and warning systems.

Means of escape

This should be adequately covered by previous fire safety regulation. Lighting and marking exits should be considered in case of power failure. When the workplace is inhabited, these doors should not be locked or exits hindered. If you are unsure as to whether your provision is adequate, ask the fire service to do an inspection.

If a single direction escape route is a corridor, this may need protection through partitions and self closing fire doors. Most stairways need to be separated from the workplace by fire resisting partitions. This may not be required if the stairway only links two open areas.

Areas of concern should include doors (width and direction of opening), escape routes, lighting, signs, & escape times.

Provision of fire fighting equipment

General guidance stipulates one 13A rated fire extinguisher per 200 square metres (2150 square feet), and a minimum of one extinguisher for every floor. Hose reels may negate the need for extinguishers. Special risk materials (e.g. fats & oils, electrical equipment) require special extinguishers (e.g. carbon dioxide, or dry powder). Extinguishers should be sited near to exit points, or near to the particular hazards they guard against. All staff must be aware of the location of fire fighting equipment.

Planning for an emergency and training staff

All workplaces should have an emergency plan. This should include action to be taken, evacuation procedure, and arrangements for calling the fire brigade. In small workplaces a simple fire action plan notice could be all that is needed.

Maintenance and testing of fire safety equipment

One way to ensure proper maintenance is to obtain third party assurances from accredited organisations. There is no legal requirement to do this, however your fire service can give details. Detection and warning systems, & lighting should be regularly checked by a competent person.

Pertinence to Agriculture: Health and Safety

ADLib logo Content provided by the Agricultural Document Library
© University of Hertfordshire, 2011