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Hot and bothered?

21 October 2010

A number of high profile prosecutions involving major businesses are causing more people to evaluate their fire provision and how it really complies with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) requirements.

The introduction of a specific fire module to the Elementus Assurity Plus suite of web-based management, not only answers this question, but provides a single step solution for your ongoing fire compliance too.

Hot and bothered?

There are still those who want to debate what real changes the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) have made to practical fire compliance since its introduction some four years ago. True the RRFSO saw a significant replacement of previous regulations, for it to re appear within the contents of Articles 8 to 23 of Part 2 - Fire safety duties.

To argue this though is to somewhat miss the point of the changes the RRFSO sought to make.

Firstly 14 of the above-mentioned articles are started with or include the words “the responsible person must.” Article 10 “Principles of prevention” and Article 23 “General duties of employees at work” are the two exceptions, and the latter in fairness begins “Every employee must.” The notion that someone needs to take the responsibility for fire safety management and be recognised for it within the organisation is clear. So is the fact that they have to be active in the role as there are actions they must take, with the support of the business.

Secondly, the statistics show we have become increasingly better at reacting to fire from a life safety perspective. The now repealed 1971 Fire Precautions Act included the need for fire certification of buildings, which in turn considered means of fire detection, means of fire fighting and means of escape. These considerations still form part of the RRFSO though in Articles 13, 14, 15, 18 and 21, to name but 5 of the relevant areas. What we have been less successful at is stopping fires happening in the first place. Recorded fires by the middle of the decade were nearly four times greater than those of the 1960’s. Fires, like almost nothing else, have a long term and ongoing effect on organisations be it loss of property, loss of production or loss of plant, equipment and information. These are some of the areas, Articles 8 and 9 (Duty to take general fire precautions and risk assessment respectively), together with Article 10 above have looked to redress.

The other element to consider is that of enforcement (Articles 25 to 31), here the changes have seen a big change. Through 2010 to date, and in London alone over 440 enforcement or prohibition/restriction notices have been served. Add to this the number of high profile prosecution we’ve also seen this year and the level of fines, Tesco, Coop, Shell and New Look totalling over £1,000,000 without costs. A blocked fire exit or wedged open fire door now has a cost of £20,000.

Meeting your obligations is no easy task though, and due to the extent of fire systems, processes and people in most buildings, you can be dealing with various different contractors or departments to fulfil these needs. Identifying where your fire safety management status at any one point can be an art in itself. The newly launched Fire Safety Module on Elementus’ Assurity Plus compliance management system solves all these problems in one simple application. The real time dashboard provides up to date information on compliance status and what checks are being performed, when, how and by whom. All output information can be quickly uploaded and filed with any actions needed flagged and allocated.

For further information please contact Elementus on tel. 0844 800 7705 or email info@elementus.com or visit www.elementus.com/services/service/assurity_plus/


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