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OTHER ITA SITES:
Changes to Fire Safety Law (Fire Safety Reform Approved)
A leading spokesperson, speaking for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, told the Lords recently that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 amounted to the "biggest reform" of fire safety legislation in over 30 years.
"It will simplify the process for thousands of businesses," was said. "It is an enhancement of public safety and removes a substantial burden from business."
The Regulatory Reform Order, which will amend and consolidate around 79 pieces of legislation relating to fire safety, has now completed its parliamentary process.
However, the changes will not come into effect until Oct 2006, originally scheduled for April 2006 to allow time for the Government to produce considerable guidance for those affected by the Order, including businesses, fire and rescue services and local authorities.
One of the main features of the reforms will be for those responsible for mainly non-domestic premises to be required to undertake a "suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks".
Fire certificates will be abolished and have no legal status. Thus putting more onus on businesses to undertake Fire Risk Assessment.
The new, Fire risk-assessment based regime requires those persons responsible for premises used by the public (including the self-employed and employees) to take action to prevent fires, and protect against death and injury should a fire occur.
This is the same duty currently imposed on employers by the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997, but under the new Order the duty will be extended beyond workplaces to include the majority of premises to which people have access.
To support the Order, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) will be publishing a suite of eleven guidance documents. They will give advice on most types of premises where the duty to undertake a fire safety risk assessment under the Order applies. Even guides will address the following categories of premises:
• Offices and shops
Auto and Trucks
Business and Finance
Computers and Internet
Food and Drink
Gadgets and Gizmos
Kids and Teens
Music and Movies
Pets and Animals
Politics and Government
Recreation and Sports
Religion and Faith
Travel and Leisure