You may have heard in the news recently of two horrific clothing factory fires in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. In the first fire 100 workers were killed and in the second one eight workers were injured and the building completed destroyed. These types of fires in the garment manufacturing sector in Bangladeshi are common. The industry accounts for 80% of the Country's annual exports.
In the UK we still see on the news serious fires which completely destroy factories and buildings and yet we do have very tight legislation focusing on fire safety.
Any operating business in the UK they must comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which is the most up to date Fire Safety Legislation in the UK. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005 requires that anyone who is in control of premises must take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of fire and to make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire. The Regulatory Reform will apply to all premises and will cover all types of buildings, structures and open places. The Order does not apply to your home or private housing but will apply to common parts of flats such as houses in multiple occupation.
In Bangladesh the control and ownership passed onto the business owners is basically none existent, however the authorities will hold the business owners to stock and more than likely send them to prison for a number of years to save face with the general public. It seems quite odd that the Bangladeshi authorities do not enforce strict rules and regulations directly into the factories in order to reduce the risk.
Order 2005 will task the person who ‘controls' the building to be the ‘responsible person'. This would more than likely be the Business owner or director and they will be required to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment, although as a business owner you may delegate this ‘responsibility' and pass this onto your new ‘nominated' Safety Officer! This is acceptable; however the ‘nominated' person must be competent.
You are not passing on responsibility here as in the unfortunate event of a serious fire you are still responsible by law and you would need to prove that the ‘nominated' Safety Officer was competent and provide evidence of their competence. The Local Fire authority will normally enforce the Oder by way of inspections and will target buildings that present the highest risk. If you have not carried out a Fire Risk Assessment in your premises you will fail to meet the requirements of the order you will receive a formal notice of requirements needed to meet the Fire Safety Order and if not met you could face criminal proceedings .
What does the Fire Risk Assessment do?
The Fire Risk Assessment will give you the tools to identify, evaluate and record hazards and activities.
- Identify the fire hazards
- Identify the people at risk
- Evaluate, remove or reduce, and protect from risk
- Record, plan, inform, instruct and train