The devastating fire which engulfed Grenfell Tower in June 2017 was a stark reminder that catastrophic fires can and do occur, causing loss of life, injury, and millions of pounds worth of damage. As a fire safety lawyer, I can assist your organisation in the event of an investigation or prosecution. I can respond swiftly to your calls, providing an emergency response as soon as it is safe to do so.
In the event of a fire, it is imperative to ensure you have your own lawyer present to make an independent assessment of evidence in case a prosecution is brought against you. I understand how important a well organised emergency response is. My experience allows me to take the stress off your shoulders and ensure all actions are taken to protect your immediate and long-term best interests.
Who investigates fire safety incidents in the UK?
The local fire brigade will normally investigate the cause of non-domestic fires. However, the Health and Safety Executive HSE) will probe into fires at building sites and the Office for Nuclear Regulation will examine fires at designated nuclear sites. Local authorities may also conduct investigations.
Regardless of who the investigating body is, I will provide expert advice and representation, giving you confidence that your best interests are being looked after. I have the technical knowledge and understanding of fire safety regulations to support you throughout the investigation and, if necessary, defend you in a fire safety prosecution.
What is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Order) consolidated fire safety laws in England and Wales. Most non-domestic premises are subject to the Order. Under the Order, every business must have a designated ‘Responsible Person’ whose responsibility it is to makes sure certain duties are carried out, and that positive action is taken to both prevent fires and prevent injury or death if a fire occurs.
A Responsible Person is defined under the Order as, “the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his control”. The duties of a Responsible Person are extensive. Article 8(1) of the order requires the person to “take general fire precautions”, which are defined in Article 4(1) and include:
- measures to reduce the risk of fire on the premises and the risk of the spread of fire on the premises;
- measures in relation to the means of escape from the premises;
- measures for securing that, at all material times, the means of escape can be safely and effectively used;
- measures in relation to the means for fighting fires on the premises;
- measures in relation to the means for detecting fire on the premises and giving warning in case of fire on the premises; and
- measures in relation to the arrangements for action to be taken in the event of fire on the premises, including—
(i) measures relating to the instruction and training of employees; and
(ii) measures to mitigate the effects of the fire.
I have years of experience in advising on compliance with the Order. And if a fire incident does occur, I will move quickly to gather evidence to support the fact you have complied with your duties under the Order.
What is a Fire Risk Assessment?
A Fire Risk Assessment records possible fire risks within a premise and the actions taken to negate or minimise those risks. A fire risk assessment should:
- identify potential causes of fire
- identify people who are at risk of injury or death, especially those who are vulnerable such as the elderly and disabled
- evaluate the suitability of the fire safety measures in place, such as alarms, sprinkler systems and escape routes as well as the regularity and effectiveness of fire safety drills and training
- develop and carry out an action plan, if changes are required
- record all major findings
Your Fire Risk Assessment should be reviewed annually.
By instructing me as soon as a fire incident occurs, you can focus on your employees and customers, leaving me to manage any investigation and/or prosecution.