Legal Requirements for “Fire Safety Training” in the Workplace under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Document for Guidance  by KAP – The requirement to provide Fire Safety Training in the workplace.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.  (RRO 65 pages.)

The main section concerning ‘training’ in the RRO is Section 21, and that is detailed towards the end of this document, but there are other mentions of ‘training’ in the legislation and they are all listed and discussed below, in document and section order.

 [My general comments and opinion to each section regarding ‘training’ are made in red.]

Section 4.—(1) In this Order “general fire precautions” in relation to premises means, subject to paragraph (2)

4(f)(i): measures relating to the instruction and training of employees;

Comment by KAP: A requirement in the Legislation of the responsible person to implement training of employees.

Section 13(3): The responsible person must, where necessary:

Comment by KAP: This indicates that it is clearly a requirement (must).

(b) nominate competent persons to implement those measures and 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;

Comment by KAP:  This is interpreted commonly in the Fire Safety Industry, as the appointment of ‘Fire Marshals’ or ‘Fire Wardens’.  The numbers of ‘Fire Marshals’ appointed from the workplace depends on many factors, but includes but not confined to:  complexity of the layout of the building (is the workplace a simple square box or a complex warren of rooms and corridors), is the workplace a ‘life risk’ (such as a nursing home or hotel), do the processes in the workplace have an inherent fire risk (such as hot processes in a factory or the use of flammable materials such as in a garage or vehicle workshop).
I personally recommend a figure of between 1:10 or 1:15 ‘Fire Marshals’ are appointed, depending on these complexities and coverage of staff during shift and holiday periods.

Section 13(4):  A person is to be regarded as competent for the purposes of paragraph (3)(b) where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to implement the measures referred to in that paragraph.

Comment by KAP:  Indicating that the appointment of ‘Fire Marshals’ should not be an arbitrary selection, but that the ‘Fire Marshals’ should be appointed with some thought as to their capabilities, competency and qualities at undertaking the role and responsibility as a ‘Fire Marshal’,  additionally I would also recommend documenting the reasons for the selections.

Section 15(1):  The responsible person must:

(a)   establish and, where necessary, give effect to appropriate procedures, including safety drills, to be followed in the event of serious and imminent danger to relevant persons;

Comment KAP:  Undertake safety drill training, again a must.

(b) nominate a sufficient number of competent persons to implement those procedures in so far as they relate to the evacuation of relevant persons from the premises;

Comment KAP:  Again, a must, and referring to the appointment of competent persons (‘Fire Marshals’) to assist in the evacuation of the workplace.

Section 18(1): The responsible person must, subject to paragraphs (6)and (7), appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in undertaking the preventive and protective measures.

Comment by KAP: parag. (6) and (7) indicate that this does not apply in places of work for the self-employed or partnerships when at least one is deemed to be competent.
For any other places of work, this is again a must, and is interpreted commonly in the Fire Safety Industry as defining some of the additional responsibilities of the appointed ‘Fire Marshals’, in that the ‘Fire marshals’ role is not just a practical role in the event of a fire, but involves giving assistance to senior management in the implementation of the fire prevention and protective measures in the workplace, very simply by being observant and proactive in recognising fire safety deficiencies in the workplace and actively correcting and/or reporting those deficiencies.

Section 21.

(1) The responsible person must ensure that his employees are provided with adequate safety training—

(a) at the time when they are first employed; and

Comment KAP:  This is commonly referred to as induction training, and should be undertaken as soon as possible once employed, please note this is again a must do, and in my opinion includes any contractors using the premises.

 (b) on their being exposed to new or increased risks because of;

(i) their being transferred or given a change of responsibilities within the responsible person’s undertaking;
(ii) the introduction of new work equipment into, or a change respecting work equipment already in use within, the responsible person’s undertaking;
(iii) the introduction of new technology into the responsible person’s undertaking; or
(iv) 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.
Comment KAP:  If the employee is subjected to any kind of change to the working conditions that could alter their safety (should a fire occur), then additional training must be given.

(2) The training referred to in paragraph;(1) must:

(a) 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;

Comment KAP:  Highlighting that training should include instruction that highlights that employees have a responsibility to act safely to protect themselves and others in the workplace.

(b) be repeated periodically where appropriate;

Comment KAP:  This period is commonly accepted to be yearly.

(c) be adapted to take account of any new or changed risks to the safety of the employees concerned;

(d) be provided in a manner appropriate to the risk identified by the risk assessment; and

Comment KAP: Confirming that training should be provided in a manner appropriate to the risk identified in the Fire Safety Risk Assessment.

In my professional opinion, that this paragraph confirms, a bespoke training system teaching specific hazards is essential in premises where there are for example:

  • Unique Fire Safety procedures,
  • Peculiar features of the building or business practices,
  • High Risk with regard to content, flammable materials or processes,
  • High life risk or a life risk with peculiar requirements, less able bodied or mentally impaired persons for example.
  • Unusual processes or materials that are highlighted in the Fire Safety Risk Assessment.

Regarding these types of buildings or risks, I hold the professional opinion that “one size does not fit all” with regard to ‘Fire Safety Training’ for people in buildings or premises of this nature.  I hold that a bespoke training package and systems is the only solution to satisfying this part of the legislation.

(e) take place during working hours.

Section 24(h) as to the keeping of records of instruction or training given, or other things done, in pursuance of the regulations.

Comment KAP: This provision confirms that records of training are required.

We can provide all levels of Fire Safety Training including ‘bespoke training’, please contact us to discuss more fully or to discuss potential costs.
© K.A. Parkes 10th June 2018.
© K.A. Parkes 10th June 2018

A Guide to Choosing a Competent Fire Risk Assessor

Published by the: FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT COMPETENCY COUNCIL, through the Chief Fire Officers Association Web site.  This document gives a wealth of professional advice on the appointment of a competent Fire Risk Assessor.  Please follow the link at the bottom to download their 5 page document in PDF format.


“The Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council is a workstream consisting of the major stakeholders concerned with this aspect of the fire safety Sector.  It works within the wider Fire Sector Federation and has published a set of criteria against which the competency of those undertaking fire risk assessments can be judged.  This guide is intended to be an easy to read introduction to choosing a competent fire risk assessor.”

My comment: Currently, it really is a minefield in the Fire Safety Sector for selecting a ‘Fire Safety Risk Assessor’.  There are companies producing Fire Safety Risk Assessments in complex buildings and life risks for as low as £100 , I have examined some of those fire risk assessments, first hand and they are not worth the paper they are written on.

My best advice is to; read the document published by the FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT COMPETENCY COUNCIL, then seek out a reputable Fire Safety Risk Assessor or company and ask for their qualifications, competencies and experience.
Any reputable company should be able and willing to supply this type of assurance.

Following this link will allow you to download the 5 page PDF file to your computer: <LINK to the document published by the FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT COMPETENCY COUNCIL

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