Updated: Jan 26
Your local authority fire service will always do their best to help you comply with the requirements under the Fire Safety Order by offering advice, however they cannot carry out Fire Risk Assessments and work for you. This is the responsibility of the Responsible Person (normally the business owner). At times your business can be chosen to be audited where a Fire Officer will attend your premises to establish you are complaint with the FSO. They will inspect your property and records such as your Fire Log Book for evidence of equipment checks, staff training etc. If anything is picked up the normal course of action is you will be issued a letter stating the deficiencies found and a timescale to rectify them. They will also be there to assist you with any questions you may have. Fail to act on this or if they find major fire safety deficiencies then any of the following action could be brought against you and your premises.
There are three types of notices that can be served under Part 3 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005:
Constitute a serious risk to relevant persons or may constitute a risk if a change is made to them or the use to which they are put. Permission from the enforcing authority is normally required before works are undertaken.
If the enforcing authority believes that the responsible person or any other person mentioned has failed to comply with any provision of this Order or of any regulations made under it. A notice will be issued detailing the sections of the fire safety order that have been breached and how the RP should go about rectifying those breaches.
If the enforcing authority believes that the use of the premises involves or will involve a risk to relevant persons so serious that the use of the premises ought to be prohibited or restricted.
Prohibition and improvement notices are subject to the right of appeal. In each case, contravention is an offence and is one of the few offences under appropriate Acts which have penalties of imprisonment in addition to or instead of a fine.
In some cases, the inspector may consider that it is also necessary to initiate a prosecution for failing to comply with fire safety law.
There are two categories of offence in which a business may be faced with prosecution:
Summary offences: A summary offence is a criminal offence that is tried summarily, in other words, in front of a magistrate.
Indictable offence: An indictable offence is a serious criminal offence that requires trial by jury in a Crown Court.
Offences under the RRFSO are:
On summary conviction (magistrates) unlimited fine.
On conviction on indictment can result in an unlimited fine, up to two years’ imprisonment or both.
Don't let things have to get to this stage before you do something about your fire safety arrangements. We have experience in dealing with enforcement notices that have been issued so if you receive one after a fire service audit please get in touch with us for advice and assistance If you are un-sure of what is required and need advice please visit www.whiterosefiresafety.co.uk or contact us on 0800 180 4132.