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Kitchen Insurance – Are You Covered If the Worst Should Happen?

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Kitchen Insurance – Are You Covered If the Worst Should Happen?

October 21
20:07 2013
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Who is affected by the Act? The Act sets out the fire-safety duties for relevant premises in Scotland, excluding private homes and specifically exempted premises such as those occupied by the armed forces. With the exception of self-employed people who work alone from their own homes, all sectors of business, including the self-employed, the voluntary sector and charities, are subject to the new fire-safety regime. The Act applies to all workplaces with one or more employees, including homes licensed as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), plus those subject to certain control orders or management orders.

What are the duties under the Act? The Act introduces a fire-safety regime based on risk-assessment, and employers, staff and proprietors all have duties under the new laws. In general, the Act seeks to ensure the safety of people by setting out fire-safety responsibilities for particular premises. There are six general requirements: *Carrying out a fire-safety risk-assessment of the premises *Reducing risks and implementing the necessary fire-safety measures identified by the risk assessment *Enforcing the fire-safety arrangements for the ongoing control and review of the fire-safety measures *Complying with the fire-safety regulations *Keeping the fire-safety risk assessment and the outcome of that assessment under review *Record-keeping

How will the regime be enforced? Local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive have the power to enforce the new regime, and officers who are appointed by enforcement bodies have powers to enter premises for inspections. Enforcing authorities cannot initiate proceedings but they have wide-ranging powers including rights to enter, inspect and carry out tests in premises, to require the provision of information or assistance, to take samples and to dismantle or take possession of certain articles. These officers can require that information, documents or records be produced, and they can also serve: *A prohibition notice on the occupier where it is considered that use of the premises will involve such a serious risk that it should be prohibited or restricted. This would be the case where an escape route is affected *An enforcement notice where it is considered that a person has failed to comply with their duties under the legislation. The notice will outline the alleged breaches and provide at least 28 days for them to be rectified *An alteration notice where it is considered that there is a serious risk of harm from fire, or where a proposed alteration of the premises or change of use would result in such a risk. When such a change is proposed there is an obligation to notify the enforcing authority before it is implemented. Failure to carry out duties imposed by the legislation would constitute an offence, and where the breach could put people at risk of death or serious injury, a person found guilty could be fined up to £20,000 and/or imprisoned for up to two years. Less serious breaches could result in a fine of up £5,000.

Removal of obligation to obtain a fire certificate Fire certificates under the now repealed Fire Precautions Act 1971 have been abolished. Existing fire certificates are no longer valid.

Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 The Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations provide further guidance on what is required to comply with the Act. Much of the content replicates the current workplace legislation, and extends to non-workplaces such as Houses in Multiple Occupation. The Act imposes duties on employers and persons in control of premises to carry out and review the fire-risk assessments and to implement any necessary fire-safety measures. Part II of the Regulations includes responsibilities for considering fire- safety risks to young persons, and the duty to record information. It also incorporates the review criteria for risk assessments. Part III provides more specific requirements to implement fire-safety measures, including ways of reducing both the risk and spread of fire.

Maintaining records If an employer has five or more staff, he or she must keep a record of the fire-safety risk-assessment that was carried out. Paper or electronic records should be kept where the premises are subject to a licence or regulations, such as HMO or care home regulations.

Further information The Scottish Executive has set up a Fire-law website containing extensive guidance and assistance on the new regime. Visit: http://www.infoscotland.com/firelaw General information and advice will be also available from your local fire & rescue service. The text of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 is available from the OPSI website http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/acts2005/20050005.htm

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The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 relates to fire prevention and safety, repealing old legislation and modernising the operation of the fire and rescue service; Richard Findlay examines the Act and explain what it will mean for the Scottish hospitality industry…

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