You're at Risk of Prosecution if You're Not Complying with these 3 Elements of Fire Training

The fire safety order (2005) clearly states in several sections that you must supply suitable and sufficient training for your staff.

Let's break this down and discuss each requirement.

Legal Requirement #1

Section 4 – General Fire Precautions

This requirement details the arrangements for action to be taken in the event of fire on the premises, including:

  • measures relating to the instruction and training of employees; and
  • measures to mitigate the effects of the fire

This means that every member of staff needs to be made aware of:

  • the site layout
  • the site's exits
  • the action to be taken in the event of a fire
  • where to assemble in the event of a fire
  • what fire safety features are available to help take these actions

This requirement is to ensure that everyone is aware of the risks associated with leaving fire doors open, and why they mustn't move fire extinguishers or prop fire doors open with them!

Legal Requirement #2

Section 13, 3 (b) – Competent Persons

To nominate competent persons to implement those measures in Legal Requirement #1, and to ensure that the number of such persons, their training and the equipment available to them are adequate, taking into
account the size of, and the specific hazards involved in, the premises concerned.

This section requires you to look at the specific hazards, size and complexity of your site and choose a suitable number of people to be trained (therefore becoming competent) to:

  • use fire extinguishers
  • assist in evacuating the site
  • tackle a very simple small fire 

It's a notable point that 4 out of 5 fires are extinguished before the Fire & Rescues services arrive on site, and that therefore, the risk of using the wrong extinguisher and not knowing when the fire is too large to fight could be a fatal decision. These skills are covered in a course of Fire Extinguisher Training.

Legal Requirement #3

Section 21 – Training

21.(1) states that the responsible person must ensure that his employees are provided with adequate
safety training:

  • at the time when they are first employed; and
  • on their being exposed to new or increased risks because of:
    • their being transferred or given a change of responsibilities within the responsible person's undertaking;
    • the introduction of new work equipment into, or a change respecting work equipment already in use within, the responsible person's undertaking;
    • the introduction of new technology into the responsible person's undertaking; or the introduction of a new system of work into, or a change respecting a system of work already in use within, the responsible person's undertaking.

The training referred to in paragraph 21.(1) must:

  • include suitable and sufficient instruction and training on the appropriate precautions and actions to be taken by the employee in order to safeguard himself and other relevant persons on the premises;
  • be repeated periodically where appropriate; 
  • be adapted to take account of any new or changed risks to the safety of the employees concerned; 
  • be provided in a manner appropriate to the risk identified by the risk assessment; and
  • take place during working hours.

This section sets out what exactly you need to do to meet the requirements and forms the basis of most Fire Warden Training courses.

So, are you breaking the law? Are your people and buildings safe from risk? For advice and information on Fire Training, Risk Assessments, Project Management and Consultancy contact us on [email protected] or Tel: 0843 658 1310.