When a bill is enacted it doesn't necessarily become law straight away. In fact, some parts of it may come into force at different times. This is certainly true of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005. While much of the Act, and certainly the more controversial parts, dealing with the Fire Service, became law in August 2005, it was only yesterday that Part 3 of the Act came into force.
Part 3 of the Act deals with fire safety in relation to premises other than private dwellings. This means most of the buildings we visit on a daily basis are covered. Our own workplace, the newsagents where we pick up our morning paper, the sandwich shop where buy our lunch, the residential home where we visit our relatives and the pub where we meet our friends, all now have to comply with the new law.
It is important that the employers, owners and those who have control of premises are aware of the new duties that the Act imposes on them. Broadly there are seven general fire requirements under the act.
- A fire safety risk assessment of the premises must be carried out.
- The outcome of the assessment should be used to identify the fire safety measures required.
- The fire safety measures must be implemented using the principle of risk reduction.
- Arrangements must be put in place for the ongoing control and review of the fire safety measures.
- The specific requirements of the fire safety regulations must be complied with.
- The fire safety risk assessment and outcome must be kept under review
- Records must be maintained.
Employees are also under duty to take "reasonable care" for their own safety and that of others, and to co-operate with their employer to enable them to comply with their duties.
To read more about the Fire (Scotland) Act visit the Property Division e-bulletin.