Welcome to the latest Surveyors’ update. Our Risk Control Survey Team has remained extremely busy in the last quarter of 2023, with survey requests increasing hugely in number over the last year. But, as ever, they have found time to share some useful insights that may be of benefit to you and your clients.
FPA Gives Backing for Proposed Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Bill
The Fire Protection Association (FPA) has joined other leading fire safety bodies in extending its support for the Safety of Electric-Powered Micromobility Vehicles and Lithium-Ion Batteries Bill. If successful, the proposed bill will significantly change the way that e-scooters and e-bikes are regulated in the UK. Details can be found on the FPA website.
Home Office Releases New Guidance Following Latest Changes in Fire Safety Law
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the main piece of legislation governing fire safety in buildings in England and Wales. It applies to all workplaces and the common parts of buildings containing two or more domestic premises, and it places legal duties on persons in control of these premises (the ‘Responsible Person’ — usually the owner or landlord) to undertake and record a fire risk assessment and put in place and maintain general fire precautions.
The Fire Safety Act 2021 came into force in May 2022 and clarified that the external walls, flat entrance doors and structure of buildings are all covered by the Fire Safety Order and must be accounted for in fire risk assessments. It was implemented in Wales by the Fire Safety Act (Commencement) (Wales) Regulations 2021.
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 (operative 23 January and 1 October 2023 respectively) brought in additional duties for Responsible Persons under the Fire Safety Order. Changes introduced by Section 156 include (although not exclusively) requirements for appointed fire risk assessors to be competent and all Responsible Persons to record in full both the fire risk assessment and fire safety arrangements for the building. Previously only specific information was required to be recorded and in non-domestic premises only where five or more persons were employed.
To help duty holders comply with fire safety law, the Home Office has recently published on the website a number of new guidance documents that can be downloaded.
A number of significant differences arise in Scotland, where the primary legislation covering fire safety in buildings is the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.
NFCC Calls for Improvements to Product Safety Laws
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) recently published its responses to two new government consultations which seek to modernise product safety legislation. The Smarter Regulation: UK Product Safety Review consultation looks at the UK’s product safety framework to protect consumers and help business bring new and innovative products to market. The Smarter Regulation: Fire safety of domestic upholstered furniture consultation looks to update regulations to protect the public from injury and death arising from flammable furniture, taking into consideration present day hazards and risks. Review the NFCC responses.
FSF to Develop British Standard for Fire Risk Assessors
Following release of its Industry Standard Benchmark Standard for Fire Risk Assessors, the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) has recently confirmed its plans to develop the framework into a British Standard. Read the full Fire Protection Association article.
BAFSA Issues Detailed Response Following Luton Airport Car Park Blaze
The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) has recently issued a detailed statement following the multistorey car park fire at London Luton Airport. BAFSA believes the blaze is a “regrettable reminder” of precisely why the organisation continues to call for sprinkler systems to be installed in multistorey car parks. Read more.
FPA Introduces New Assessment Methodology for Fire Safety of External Cladding
The Fire Protection Association (FPA) has published its new fire test and assessment method for external cladding systems. Publication RISC 501 (free download) exceeds the minimum life safety requirements set out in the Building Regulations to provide a classification that protects both occupants and property.
The Six Classes of Fire
Not all fires are the same. A recent article in the International Fire & Safety Journal looks at the classification of fires and gives helpful insights into their commonality and the ease, or lack thereof, with which they are able to be extinguished. It also gives great tips on what should be used to try and extinguish each type of fire for safety reasons, given some methods could actually cause a fire to worsen.
Health & Safety
HSE publishes latest work-related ill health and injury statistics
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) published its annual statistics on work-related ill health and workplace injuries on 22 November. These include the following headline figures (Great Britain 2022-23):
- 1.8 million working people suffering from a work-related illness, including 875,000 workers suffering stress, depression or anxiety and 473,000 workers suffering from a musculoskeletal disorder.
- 2,268 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2021).
- 135 workers killed in work-related accidents.
- 561,000 working people sustained an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey.
- 60,645 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR (or, Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).
- 35.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and injury.
- £20.7 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2021-22).
Manufacturing Business Dangers from Metalworking Fluids
The Health & Safety Executive is currently undertaking targeted inspections of manufacturing business using metalworking fluids or coolants in their machining processes. This campaign started in September and will continue until March 2024. Get the details.
Police Scotland Response to Remotely Monitored Camera Systems
Following a recent enquiry, it has been established that Police Scotland do not require a Unique Reference Number (URN) to respond to remotely monitored camera systems where intrusion has been confirmed by an accredited remote video receiving centre. Issue of a URN remains a requirement for response to approved intruder and personal attack alarms in Scotland and for all security (camera, intruder and PA) systems in England and Wales.
National Flood Forum concerned by National Audit Office report
The National Flood Forum — a charity supporting individuals and communities at risk of flooding — has expressed deep concern at a National Audit Office report on the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Risk Management Strategy. The report reveals a 40% drop in the number of properties to be protected, with 500 out of 2,000 flood protection schemes cancelled. A post and related links on LinkedIn explain more.