Discover the key responsibilities and common errors faced by accountable persons in fire safety management. Legal expert Hannah Eales delves into the crucial aspects of compliance and the implications of recent regulatory changes.

22 April 2024

In the realm of fire safety, understanding and adhering to regulatory responsibilities is paramount. Hannah Eales, Partner at law firm Kingsley Napley, sheds light on the pressing issues surrounding compliance and accountability under the Fire Safety Order 2005 and subsequent amendments.

Eales emphasises a prevalent challenge: Many responsible persons overlook the full extent of their duties, leading to potential legal repercussions. The consequences of non-compliance extend beyond fines and imprisonment, encompassing significant implications for both life safety and business integrity.

Recent legislative changes, notably section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022, have heightened responsibilities for accountable persons. These include:

  • Comprehensive recording of Fire Risk Assessment findings
  • Identifying other responsible persons within premises
  • Cooperation with Accountable Persons under the Building Safety Act, particularly in higher-risk residential buildings

Moreover, enhanced information sharing requirements aim to ensure a continuous record of fire safety data throughout a building's lifespan. This includes providing residents with detailed fire safety instructions and maintaining open communication channels with the local fire and rescue service.

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, introduced under the Fire Safety Order, reinforce these obligations, mandating the provision of:

  • Up-to-date building plans and information on external wall systems to the fire service
  • Monthly checks on firefighting equipment
  • Installation of secure information boxes
  • Signage improvements

Despite the complexity of these requirements, Eales stresses the importance of responsible persons familiarising themselves with their duties and ensuring strict compliance. Failure to meet obligations can result in severe penalties, making it imperative for accountable individuals to demonstrate due diligence in their fire safety management efforts.

Understanding the legal framework and proactively addressing compliance gaps not only safeguards against potential legal liabilities but also fosters a culture of safety and resilience within the fire industry. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, staying informed and proactive remains the cornerstone of effective fire safety management.

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