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This Order reforms the law relating to fire safety in non-domestic premises. It replaces fire certification under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 with a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of employees, a general duty, in relation to non-employees to take such fire precautions as may reasonably be required in the circumstances to ensure that premises are safe and a duty to carry out a risk assessment. The Order imposes a number of specific duties in relation to the fire precautions to be taken. The Order provides for the enforcement of the Order, appeals, offences and connected matters. It amends or repeals other primary legislation concerning fire safety to take account of the new system and provides for minor and other consequential amendments, repeals and revocations. The Order also gives effect in England and Wales to:
(a)Council Directive 89/391/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (O.J. No. L 183, 29.6.89, p. 1) (“the Framework Directive”) (except for provisions on accident reporting (article 9(1)(c) and (d) and (2)), employment protection rights (articles 7(2), 8(4) and (5) and 11(4)), and use of personal protective equipment (article 13(2)(b)));
(b)Council Directive 91/383/EEC supplementing the measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of workers with a fixed-duration employment relationship or a temporary employment relationship (O.J. No. L 206, 29.7.91, p. 19) (“the Temporary Workers' Directive”) (except for provisions on the responsibility of host undertakings to temporary workers (article 8));
(c)article 6 of, together with paragraphs 4 and 5 each of the annexes to, Council Directive 89/654/EEC concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace (O.J. No. L 393, 30.12.89, p. 1) (“the Workplace Directive”);
(d)articles 6 and 7 of Council Directive 94/33/EC (O.J. No. L216, 20.8.94, p.12) on the protection of young people at work;
(e)Council Directive 98/24/EC on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work (O.J. No. L 131, 05.05.98, p. 11 ) (“the Chemical Agents Directive”); and
(f)Council Directive 99/92/EC on minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres (O.J. No. L 23, 28.01.00, p. 57) (“the Explosive Atmospheres Directive”),
in so far as those provisions relate to general fire precautions to be taken by employers and in so far as more specific legislation does not make appropriate provision.
The Order applies to all non-domestic premises other than those listed in article 6. The main duty-holder is the “responsible person” in relation to the premises, defined in article 3. The duties on the responsible person are extended to any person who has, to any extent, control of the premises to the extent of their control (article 5).
Part 2 imposes duties on the responsible person in relation to fire safety in premises. Article 23 imposes various duties on employees. Article 24 gives the Secretary of State power to make further regulations about fire precautions.
Part 3 provides for enforcement. The enforcing authority is defined in article 25 and article 26 imposes a duty on the authority to enforce the Order. Articles 27 and 28 set out the powers of inspectors. Articles 29 to 31 provide for the service of alterations, enforcement and prohibition notices in certain circumstances.
Part 4 (articles 32 to 36) provides for offences and appeals. Part 5 (articles 37 to 53) provides for miscellaneous matters including fire-fighters' switches for luminous tube signs (article 37), maintenance of measures provided to the ensure the safety of fire-fighters (article 38), civil liability for breach of statutory duty by an employer (article 39), special requirements for licensed premises (article 42) and consultation by other authorities (article 46).
Schedule 1 sets out the matters to be taken into account in carrying out a risk assessment (Parts 1 and 2), the general principles to be applied in implementing fire safety measures (Part 3) and the special measures to be taken in relation to dangerous substances (Part 4). Schedule 2 amends various enactments, including amendments to limit the scope for other public authorities to attach conditions to licences in respect of fire precautions to be taken in premises and amendments to local acts to remove reference to fire safety. The remaining amendments in Schedule 2 and those in 3 are minor or consequential. Schedules 4 and 5 contain repeals and revocations.
A regulatory impact assessment has been prepared in respect of this Order. A copy may be obtained from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Fire Legislation, Safety and Personnel Division, Fire Safety Legislation Branch, Zone 17C, Portland House, Stag Place, London SW1E 5LP.
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