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Fire safety is everyone's responsibility. This page gives advice on reducing the risks of fire in the workplace and information on legal duties and responsibilities.
Fire presents significant risk to businesses. It can kill or seriously injure employees or visitors and can damage or destroy buildings, equipment and stock.
Organisations operating from single premises are particularly vulnerable as loss of premises may completely disrupt their operations. Many businesses fail to continue trading following a severe fire.
Fire may have a more significant impact on businesses that:
However, any organisation may be affected at any time.
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The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and The Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 have replaced almost all workplace fire safety legislation. Some elements of the Building Standards Regulations are also related to fire safety.
For a comprehensive guide to your responsibilities, visit the Scottish Government Website on Fire Law (external site).
Under the legislation, those who are responsible for premises, including owners, employers, managers, employees and others occupying non-domestic premises must manage fire safety on those premises.
Those responsible should:
The first step in your fire risk assessment process is to identify those people at risk and to take particular care in assessing the risks to vulnerable groups or individuals. This could include children the elderly or those with a disability.
The Equality Act 2010 ensures that disabled people should not be treated less favourably or be at a substantial disadvantage to people without disabilities.
If an employer fails to make arrangements for the safe evacuation of disabled people from their premises it could be seen as discriminatory as well as failing to comply with the current fire safety legislation. Remember that the definition of disability is wide ranging and not restricted to physical disabilities.
Individuals have different capabilities and each building will have unique characteristics so in many cases a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) will be required.
It should include clear concise instructions and evacuation maps or diagrams, detailing how disabled people can reach a place of safety.
Fire and Rescue Services will expect to see it as part of your Fire Safety Risk Assessment. They will be looking for information on how you will evacuate that person and do not expect you to leave them in a refuge to await rescue by the Fire and Rescue Service.
A refuge should only be used as a stage of a full evacuation. You may use it to determine whether a full evacuation is required or as a rest point on the route. No one should ever be left in a refuge during a full evacuation.
The Scottish Government website contains comprehensive guidance - Practical Fire Safety Guidance: The Evacuation of Disabled Persons from Buildings (external link) (external link) – which provides detailed information on the matters you should consider and includes templates to develop and record details of your PEEP.
General fire safety
Test your observation skills in identifying fire hazards
Knowing how to identify potential fire hazards in a variety of settings can help you look for hazards in your workplace and at home, in a more objective way. You could use the film in your fire training exercises. These films were created by Healthy Working Lives and the McGill Fire Safety Centre.
Emergency planning and training
Local Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) may offer training in emergency planning and fire safety.
If you're looking for further advice on fire evacuation or any other aspect of occupational health and safety, Healthy Working Lives has produced a Fire Risk Assessment Pack to record the findings of your risk assessment.
Free confidential telephone advice is also available through our Adviceline on 0800 019 22 11. Our advisers also offer free workplace visits to SMEs. The visit will include a review of your health and safety performance on all relevant issues - not only fire safety.
For a comprehensive guide to fire safety, including downloadable factsheets for specific sectors, visit the Scottish Government website on Fire Law (external site).
You can find details of your local fire and rescue service on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's website (external link).
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