Changes to building fire regulations – stay in the know

10 October 2023

A photo of a fire on farm.

From 1 October 2023, changes to the Building Safety Act came into force. These changes require all non-domestic premises, such as where people work, visit or stay, including workplaces, to produce a fire safety risk assessment. Find out what you need to know to stay legal. 

What should a fire safety risk assessment contain? 

As with any risk assessment, a fire safety risk assessment should be an examination of what in the workplace could cause harm to people, so that you can see whether you have taken enough precautions or if you should do more to prevent potential harm from occurring. 

A fire safety risk assessment should:

  • Identify any hazards and potential sources of ignition or flammable substances
  • Mention any persons at risk who may be present on farm, with specific references to vulnerable persons
  • State any actions that remove or reduce the identified risks
  • Mention records of the risk assessment, plans if a fire were to occur and trainings for persons in the event of a fire
  • State a date or timeframe for when the risk assessment will be reviewed

The change to the legislation also puts increasing responsibility on the employee(s) responsible for the completion of risk assessment and the safety of those they are responsible for.

Actions that remove or reduce fire risks

There are a number of actions that you can include in your fire safety risk assessment which remove or reduce the risk of fire on farm. These include: 

  • Escape routes – multiple identifiable routes of escape can provide alternatives to reach a safe area. 
  • Identifying potential ignition sources and sources of flammable material 
  • Safety points – provide a dedicated, identifiable safe space for people to report to.
  • Fire alarms or warning sounds – these can help identify a fire outbreak
  • Access to fire blankets, fire extinguishers and water sources – these all provide a means to fight a fire. 

Help with creating a risk assessment

To help you create your checklist, you can use the UK government's 5-step checklist for fire safety risk assessments: GOV.UK | Fire safety risk assessment: 5-step checklist

Remember that your fire risk assessment also needs to be reviewed and updated regularly if there are any significant changes to the place of work.

NFU members can also log in and read more information on risk assessments in our business guide: Risk assessments: key advice for farmers and growers

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