H&S Legislation and HSE Information
We reproduce the main sources of legal regulations and useful practical guides on fire safety good practice in the UK.
Acts of Parliament
Also known as ‘primary legislation’, Acts are passed by the House of Parliament. Acts lay down the general duties to be followed by individuals and organisations operating in the UK.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) 2005 applies to England and Wales. It was a consolidating Statutory Instrument effective from April 2006, which replaced a number of previous Acts and brought the UK more into line with European legislation. Similar acts were passed in Northern Ireland and Scotland around the same time.
Also known as ‘delegated legislation’, Regulations are issued under the name of the Secretary of State and they seek to add more detail on how the ACT should be applied to specific hazards or activities. Examples relevant to Health and Safety include:
Government Codes of Practice
There are no general government codes of practice issued for fire safety.
The nearest equivalent official guide would be Approved Document B, which applies to the construction of new buildings.
Written as individual holistic guides that should be applied with mixing and matching, published British Standards' guides are often adopted to demonstrate compliance with the fire safety regulations. These document are not freely available and must be purchased from the BSI.
Guidance publications are issued by the Health and Safety Executive. They contain practical advice and examples of procedures and safe working practices. Guidance publications have no legal standing and are therefore not compulsory, unless specifically stated. Organisations and individuals are free to make other arrangements, but the Courts hold that if the guidance is followed then enough will be being done to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors also seek to secure compliance with the law by using guidance publications as the minimum standard to be met.
Government Fire Safety Risk Assessment Guides
Guidance from other recognised sources
The Building a Safer Future Government website reporting how they are making progress introducing new measures in response to the lessons learned from the Grenfell Tower Fire Disaster.
The Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACoRS) with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chief Fire Officers Association, the National HMO Network, the National Landlord Association, and Communities and Local Government has produced a guide Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing. It provides a useful standard of fire safety to follow for landlords whose domestic properties fall outside the legal scope of the RRFSO 2005.
The Local Government Association has published a guide to Fire Safety in purpose-built blocks of flats.
The Builders Hardware Industry Federation and the Federation and Guild of Architectural Ironmongers has published a Code of Practice called Hardware for Fire and Escape Doors.