Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service urges businesses to be prepared for new fire safety legislation

Businesses are being warned to plan ahead, as new fire safety legislation is due to come into effect from 1 October.


12/09/2023 3:23pm


Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service

Business Safety Week 2023 Logo English dates

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) wants to raise awareness of this new legislation locally, as the changes coming soon will apply to all businesses.

From 1 October, the introduction of Section 156 of the Building Safety Act means that all businesses will now need to record a fire risk assessment and fire safety arrangements in full – regardless of the number of employees, and size or type of business.  The changes in legislation also state that in residential buildings with two or more domestic premises, residents must be provided with information on the risks from fire and the fire safety measures provided to keep them safe.

The new laws are likely to impact small independent businesses, small shops and takeaways, owners of holiday lets and small blocks of flats the most, due to the new responsibilities they now have under law. Failing to get fire safety right at a business premises can put both employees and customers at risk and cost businesses in countless other ways, so it’s crucial that Responsible Persons (RPs) get this right.

Every year HIWFRS attends over 300 fires in commercial properties. Fires can lead to structural damage to buildings, loss of expensive equipment, and have a huge impact on employees, depleting morale and increasing staff absence. Businesses found to be in breach of fire safety rules could also face hefty fines.

This week is National Fire Chiefs Council Business Safety Week (11-17 September) which is held annually to encourage businesses across the UK to make sure fire safety remains a top priority.  HIWFRS wants to remind business owners across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight that the Service is available to support them.

HIWFRS supporting businesses

HIWFRS Group Manager for Protection Support Karl Manners said:

“We welcome the new legislation as this will significantly strengthen fire safety in all Fire Safety Order regulated premises, and we’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact fire can have on businesses.

“We also recognise that as the new laws now apply to all businesses, owners and Responsible Persons (RPs) of smaller premises may find these changes challenging. Although we can’t do the risk assessment for them, we want the business community to know we are here to support them.”

HIWFRS Group Manager for Protection Delivery Mark White said:

“We urge all business owners or RPs to work closely with our inspecting teams to achieve and maintain compliance with fire safety legislation, to ensure the safety of Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents. We are an empowering organisation that will always be happy to assist business owners to do the right thing.”

HIWFRS is fully committed to helping all types of businesses reduce the risk of fire in the workplace and to ensure they are compliant with the latest fire safety laws. Each year HIWFRS handles around 4,000 interactions with businesses of all kinds and sizes, supporting them through a combination of consultations, formal inspections and other educational initiatives such as free monthly webinars on the topic of business safety.

HIWFRS supporting businesses

In the dedicated ‘workplace’ area of the HIWFRS website, business owners and RPs can access clear guidance on all areas of business fire safety. The site also includes access to a handy interactive business fire safety awareness tool.

The HIWFRS Primary Authority team works with 52 partners nationally to provide tailored advice across a variety of business groups from sleeping and hospitality, to retail and warehousing, waste management and commerce.

The free business fire safety webinars are held monthly. Contact the team to find out more at csprotection.admin@hantsfire.gov.uk or book your place through the website.

Visit the Business Fire Safety section of the HIWFRS website for more information and detailed guidance on the new fire safety legislation coming into force from 1 October.

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