Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Fire Safety Order '05/Fire Risk Assessment

The Fire Safety Order (FSO) 2005 became law on the 1st October 2006, replacing 118 pieces of legislation, repealing the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and revoking The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations. At a stroke, all fire certificates and plans have ceased to be valid and the highly prescriptive standards set by the Fire Service have been replaced by a system of risk-based assessment, whereby accountability lies squarely and firmly with 'the responsible person' in any business.

No longer is it the fire service's duty to make sure the workplace is safe. That duty lies with 'the responsible person' and they will be held accountable under the new legislation.

Fire Protection Officers will audit the fire risk assessments and associated documentation relating to any premises and at the end of the premises' audit, the 'responsible person' will be informed of their compliance level. If there are matters of concern, then the FPO may use their powers of enforcement.

These powers vary from educating and informing (discussing action plans), notification of defects to be rectified, an alterations notice, an enforcement notice, a prohibition notice and possible prosecution.

Fire Risk Assessment

Ensuring an assessment of the fire risks within your premises has been carried out is a key part of the "responsible person's" role. Performing a thorough risk assessment and acting on your findings will help to reduce risks, ensure compliance with legislation and could save lives.

There is no set format for completing a fire risk assessment, but the guides produced to complement the order offer some suggestions. To assist you in completing a fire risk assessment and preparing you in case we choose to audit your premises we have produced a fire risk assessment proforma which is available free to download on this page along with guidance on how to complete it. However you are not obligated to use this or any other proforma. (Risk assessment proforma and guidance)

Recording Evidence of premises maintenance and staff training

If our officers visit to audit compliance with fire legislation at your premises they will ask to see evidence that you have been adequately maintaining your premises and training your staff, we have produced a log book which is available free to download on this page that can be used to assist you in recording such evidence. However you are not obligated to use it. (log book)

Changes to your Premises

In most cases you will be able to make changes to your premises but, you must remember that you will be responsible for managing the risk you create and you will still have to comply with the planning process and Building Regulations. You will need to revisit your fire risk assessment and look at how the changes will affect the risk in your premises, assess if your risk management measures are adequate and if you need to adopt further measures.

In some higher risk premises, for example, those in which the risk to life can be said to be higher than normal or where particularly complicated fire safety arrangements are required Essex County Fire and Rescue will be able to issue an 'alterations notice'. An alterations notice can require a responsible person to inform Essex County Fire and Rescue of any changes they intend to make to premises where those changes would create a significant increase in the risk.

A Worked Example of a Fire Risk Assessment

Initially, a simple single line drawing of the premises roughly to scale /proportion, should be drawn, showing any relevant structural features and the use of particular areas e.g. production, storage, office accommodation, storage and plant etc. A copy of the plan will be useful should you have a fire at your premises, to give to the fire service when they arrive to assist them in firefighting operations. The plan can then be used to indicate hazards (step 1) and persons at significant risk (step 2). It will assist to identify where combustibles and ignition sources come together, or are in close proximity and the action to be taken.


The action taken (step 3), is common sense and in the main inexpensive. Should any requirements prove to be expensive, interim measures may be put in place until they can be implemented. (PROVIDING PERSONS ARE NOT PUT AT AN UNACCEPTABLE RISK). All that remains to do is to make a record of the assessment, prepare the action plan, provide staff training (step 4), monitor and review the risk assessment as appropriate (step 5).

Support Documents

We have compiled 'Fire Risk Assessment' information to help you to comply with the new laws.

If you would like to discuss any matter relating to the FSO, please call Workplace Fire Safety at Headquarters on 01376 576000

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