The Licensing Act – Fire Risk Assessment Principles

 






Businesses which are applying for entertainment licenses will need to consider the safety of their premises as this is an important part of the application. These guidelines are issued to assist local licensees to provide suitable fire safety measures in licensed premises for applications under the Licensing Act 2003.

General
These guidelines are issued to assist local licensees to provide suitable and sufficient fire safety measures in licensed premises for applications under the Licensing Act 2003. They do not replace existing legislation.

As part of the licensing process the applicant should include in their operating schedule the steps they will take to promote the 4 licensing objectives. The licensing objectives under the Act include public safety and the fire brigade will be consulted by the Licensing Authority on this aspect ofthe application. The operating schedule should therefore contain a Fire RiskAssessment highlighting any significant findings, arising out of the assessmentand any remedial actions necessary.

In order to avoid issues arising over public safety relating to firerisk, applicants are strongly advised to submit a Plan on a minimum scale of1:100 indicating the fire safety provisions in place, this should includeavailable Exits and associated routes, Fire Alarm if fitted, Emergency Lightingand Firefighting Equipment. Regulations yet to be published may make this a requirement.

The plan should clearly state the Occupancy and how the figure had been reached. The Licensing Authority may attach conditions relating to the maximum occupancy levels after consultation with all statutory consultees, if the operating schedule does not include such details or there are objections to the proposed occupancy level.

Further information on how to compile a Fire Risk Assessment and calculate an appropriate occupancy figure is available at /downloads/small_and_medium_places_of_assembly.pdf/

Fire RiskAssessment

This guidance is intended for premises where the main use of the building or part of the building is as a small (i.e. premises accommodating up to 60 people) or a medium (i.e. premises accommodating up to 300 people) place of assembly. These include: public houses; clubs; dance halls/schools; village halls; community centres; churches;other places of religious worship or study and associated premises; temporary structures and marquees/tents.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005 applies in England and Wales. It covers general fire precautions and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect ‘relevant persons’ in case of fire in and around most ‘premises’.The Order requires fire precautions to be put in place ‘where necessary’ and to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances to do so.

 

Responsibility for complying with the Order restswith the ‘responsible person’. In a workplace, this is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, e.g. the occupier or owner. In all other premises the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more than one responsible person in any type of premises (e.g. a multi-occupied complex), all must take all reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other.

The local fire and rescue authority (the fire and rescue service) will enforce the Order in most premises. The exceptions are:

  • Crown-occupied/owned premises where Crown fire inspectors will enforce;

  • Premises within armed forces establishments where the defence fire and rescue service will enforce;

  • Certain specialist premises including construction sites, ships (under repair or construction) and nuclear installations, where the HSE will enforce; and

  • Sports grounds and stands designated as needing a safety certificate by the Local Authority, where the Local Authority will enforce.

The enforcing authority will have the power to inspect your premises to check that you are complying with your duties under the Order.They will look for evidence that you have carried out a suitable fire risk assessment and acted upon the significant findings of that assessment. If you are required to record the outcome of the assessment they will expect to see a copy.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

A fire risk assessment is an organised and methodical look at your premises, the activities carried on thereand the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the premises.

The aims of the fire risk assessment are:

  • To identify the fire hazards.

  • To reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as reasonably practicable.

  • To decide what physical fire precautions and management arrangements are necessary to ensure the safety of people in your premises if a fire does start.

The term ‘where necessary’ is used in the Order,therefore when deciding what fire precautions and management arrangements are necessary you will need to take account of this definition.

The terms ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’ are used throughout this guidance and it is important that you have a clear understanding of how these should be used.

• Hazard: anything that has the potential to cause harm.

• Risk: The chances of that harm occurring.

If your organisation employs five or more people, or your premises are licensed or an alterations notice requiring it is in force, then the significant findings of the fire riskassessment, the actions to be taken as a result of the assessment and details of anyone especially at risk must be recorded. You will probably find it helpful to keep a record of the significant findings of your fire risk assessment even if you are not required to do so.

How do you carry out a Fire Risk Assessment?

A fire risk assessment will help you determine the chances of a fire starting and the dangers from fire that your premises present for the people who use them and any person in the immediate vicinity.

It is important that you carry out your fire risk assessment in a practical and systematic way and that you allocate enough time to do a proper job. It must take the whole of your premises into account, including outdoor locations and any rooms and areas that are rarely used. If your premises are small you may be able to assess them as a whole. In some premises you may find it helpful to divide them into a series of assessment areas using natural boundaries, e.g. assembly spaces, process areas(such as cooking facilities in village halls), offices, stores, as well as corridors, stairways and external routes.

If your premises are in a multi-usecomplex then the information on hazard and risk reduction will still beapplicable to you. However, any alterations to the use or structure of yourindividual unit will need to take account of the overall fire safetyarrangements in the building.

You need to appoint one or more competent persons (this could be you) to carry out any of the preventive and protective measures needed to comply with the Order. This person could be you or an appropriately trained employee or, where appropriate, a third party.

Your fire risk assessment should demonstrate that, as far as is reasonable, you have considered the needs of all relevant people, including disabled people. The diagram below shows the five steps you need to take to carry out a fire risk assessment.

 

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