six month delay for new Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order

Jan 16, 2006

England

On the 12th January 2006, the ODPM released a press release (below), which announces a 6 month delay of the commencement date of the new Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. The main reasons they stated have been that all of the guidance notes are not available for publication yet, and furthermore they want to co-ordinate with Scotland, which has already announced a date of October 2006 for their new fire legislation.


Whilst this is disappointing for us, given our efforts on communicating this date - we hope that there will be little impact on UK businesses from the delay. In order to comply with existing and future legislation, UK businesses should be undertaking a Fire Risk Assessment of their workplace that looks at removing and reducing the risk of fire.

Major fire safety reform - government gives stakeholders more time to prepare
ODPM News Release 2006/0003
12 January 2006

The Government is to give business and fire safety experts more time to get ready for new regulations. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has put back the coming into force of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, made in June 2005, which will affect all non-domestic premises in England and Wales. A new date will be announced as soon as possible.

The ODPM Minister responsible for fire safety Jim Fitzpatrick said today (12th January) in a written statement:

“During the passage of the Order it was of concern to the House that business and enforcers should have adequate time to familiarise themselves with the new regime and the guidance that will accompany it and that the coming into force date should, so far as practicable, be timed to coincide as closely as possible with reform of fire safety laws in Scotland.

Despite extensive work with stakeholders it is clear that all the guidance documents will not be ready for a full 12 week gap between publication and coming into force on 1 April 2006.

In the light of the commitments we have given to the House and our commitment to ensuring this reform is properly backed, we have therefore concluded that the coming into force of the substantive provisions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order should be put back.”

The Government will now bring an Order, under article 52 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, to amend the coming into force date of the new regime before the House as quickly as possible.

Recently, the Scottish Authorities announced that more time should be allowed for reform North of the Border and the new rules in Scotland are now expected to come into force in October 2006 at the earliest.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Health and Safety Spokesperson, Mary Boughton, said:

"This is an important reform and it is therefore vital that it is implemented successfully. People's lives could depend on it. Many of our members will be ready for the original date, which will mean that they will be compliant well in advance, but it also allows those that are coming to terms with this reform on top of their everyday business concerns more time to comply and to seek advice where necessary."

The ODPM is working with stakeholders on a publicity strategy to raise awareness of the new laws amongst those affected. There will also be a series of guides published to assist those preparing fire risk assessments.

More information is available at www.firesafetyguides.odpm.gov.uk

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