Fire safety on construction sites is a heavy responsibility but help is readily available to ensure you comply with the relevant regulations and keep your workers as safe as possible. Navigating the many guidance and legislative documents issued can be quite a minefield though, so we have put together a few points to assist you to understand the JCOP and your FRA (Fire Risk Assessment) duties.
The Health & Safety publication, ‘Fire Safety in Construction’ (HSG 168) [http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg168.htm] & the JCOP (Joint Code of Practice – Fire Prevention in Construction Sites’) are not ‘law’, but they provide guidance which, if followed, will help you comply with the law.
LEGAL & ENFORCEMENT
The specific Regulations (law) which cover fire safety on construction sites include:
• The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (often called ‘The RRO’ or ‘FSO’) – England & Wales
• The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (The FSA)
• The Dangerous Substances & Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (‘DSEAR’)
• The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 (‘CDM’) (Download the full document at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l153.htm, where you’ll also find other useful documents to help you comply)The ‘Responsible Person’ (this is usually the Principle Contractor, working with their client and other dutyholders. Ultimately the person(s) that have control of the site/premises) has an overarching duty to provide adequate measures to enable people on the construction site to safely and promptly escape from a fire or explosion and reach a place of safety.
Key people involved in fire safety arrangements under the CDM Regulations:
• The Client
• The Principal Designer
• Principal Contractor (basically carries day-to-day responsibility on site)
• Contractors and Workers
Enforcement is carried out by:
• The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) – within the curtilage of the construction site
• Local Authorities
• Local Fire & Rescue Authorities – outside the curtilage of the construction site
THE FIVE STEPS OF FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT
In addition, you may find the following process chart useful, to assist you in undertaking and understanding your fire risk assessment responsibilities.