At Lawtons we have a dedicated division of solicitors who have the specialist technical knowledge and understanding of every aspect and requirement of UK fire safety regulations. We are able to ensure you are fully compliant with every aspect of the governing law.
Regulations surrounding fire safety have undergone significant change as a result of the introduction of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and now receive increased prominence. The new regulations means inspectors have greater powers to serve alterations and enforcements. They also have the capacity to shut down a premises with immediate effect.
With this in mind, if you are faced with an investigation or prosecution with regards to fire safety law, it is imperative to have the support of a dedicated fire safety lawyer, who has a full understanding of the implications and requirements of fire safety law.
Fire safety and the law
Fire safety is generally governed by the Fire Authority, but also involves the Council or HSE.
The Fire Authority has imposed a number of responsibilities for anyone who owns a property and has a duty of care for others – whether it be a workplace or landlord – who will be accountable to the law if any obligations are broken.
These responsibilities include:
- Regular maintenance and testing of fire safety equipment
- Providing a suitable means of escape in the event of a fire
- Planning for an emergency and training staff sufficiently
- Undertaking fire risk assessments
- Providing the necessary equipment to fight a fire
- Providing fire warnings and detection equipment
Penalties for non-compliance with any of these responsibilities – even without a fire – can start from an informal notice which would highlight safety measures that need to take place, through to more formal fire notices that will tell you exactly how to fix the issues identified.
For more serious cases, an alterations notice or an enforcement notice for any risks that have not been properly managed could be provided.
The most serious is a prohibition notice that can take effect immediately, whereby the risk of fire is deemed critical and therefore access to the premises must be restricted or completely prohibited.
Should a fire occur where people are injured, fatally or otherwise, then a criminal investigation with a dedicated court hearing will take place.
The latest reform in regulations has led to an increase in the severity of sentences imposed for breaching fire safety offences, therefore it is critical to remain aware of your responsibilities.
At Lawtons we have a dedicated team with intricate knowledge of the latest in fire safety regulations. We can help to defend investigations and prosecutions relating to fire safety from the outset of an investigation through to its conclusion.
For more information on fire safety, or to discuss an individual case, please just get in touch.