General business fire safety

How many and what type of fire extinguisher do I require?

There are various types of portable fire extinguishers for dealing with different types of fire situation. It is important that the right extinguisher is supplied for the risks involved. You should carry out a risk assessment of your workplace to ascertain the risks. In general terms you should have one general purpose fire extinguisher for every 200 square metres of floor area and at least one per floor. Specialist extinguishers should then be provided at strategic points for any special risks found.

Types of Fire extinguisher (pdf, 288Kb)


Should I wait for a visit by the Fire Officer so that he can identify any action required under fire safety law?

No. You will need to prepare a fire risk assessment and emergency plan. These should be available at any inspection.

Risk assessment example (pdf, 133Kb)

5 Step Risk Assessment – short checklist (pdf, 42Kb)


I own a building that is used as a work premises, but I lease it out and have no direct involvement. Do any regulations apply to me?

The Fire Safety Order applies to any person who has control over a workplace. You should ensure your tenants are aware of the Fire Regulations and co-operate with them to ensure compliance. In multi-occupied buildings, the owner also has a responsibility to maintain the common areas of the building.


Where can I find information on fire safety legislation with details on how to comply?

Aside from the information provided on this web site, we strongly recommend that you download a copy of the fire safety guide for your building type from the Gov.uk – website and “Management of Health and Safety at Work, approved code of practice”. Hard copy guides are available from HSE Books and through good booksellers.


I own a small guest house and don’t employ anyone. Which regulations apply to me?

The fire safety order applies to guest houses. You therefore need to carry out and record a fire risk assessment and emergency action plan as part of your Fire Safety Assessment of the building. An information booklet is available and can be downloaded from the Gov.uk – website.


Who should carry out a fire risk assessment?

The Fire Safety Order allows for any competent individual to carry out an assessment. Guidance on how to carry out an assessment can be found in fire safety guides published by the Government.

There are a number of organisations willing to undertake risk assessments for you and you may find details in the phone book business pages. If you use ‘outside’ firms to conduct a risk assessment for you, you should satisfy yourself that they are suitably competent and qualified. Any risk assessment however, is a ‘live’ document and any changes that occur in your workplace must be reflected in the assessment. It is therefore recommended that assessments are produced in house and continually reviewed. The results of which must be shared with the workforce.

Risk assessment example (pdf, 133Kb)

5 Step Risk Assessment – short checklist (pdf, 42Kb)


I am a Managing Agent. Do I have any responsibilities under the legislation?

The Fire Safety Order applies to any person who has control over a workplace or public building. You should ensure the tenants are aware of the Fire Safety Order and co-operate with them to ensure compliance. In multi-occupied buildings, you may also have a responsibility, on the owner’s behalf, to maintain the common areas of the building.


I am just one of the businesses in a large, multi-occupied building. Who has responsibility here?

Each occupier will be responsible for their areas of the building. For common areas, (escape routes/staircases) you will need to work together, where necessary with the managing agent and owner of the premises, to ensure the safety of the occupiers.


I have a small business and only employ one or two people. Do I need to comply with Fire Legislation?

Yes, you need to be aware of the Gov.uk – Fire Safety Order. As part of which, you will need to carry out and record a fire risk assessment and emergency action plan even where there is just one employee. Where you have five or more employees, the findings must be recorded in writing.


I am self-employed. How am I affected by the legislation?

The Fire Safety Order is not aimed at the self-employed, though you may be located in premises that contain employees and your safety will be maintained by the existence of the fire safety measures in place. Where possible, you should adopt fire safety practices such as those contained on the Gov.uk – website.

If however members of the public enter your premises in connection with your work the Fire Safety Order does apply.


My employer does not seem to be complying with fire safety legislation. What should I do?

You should first discuss your concerns with your employer through the appropriate channels and procedure for your place of work. If your concerns are not resolved and you feel you and your colleagues are at risk, you should contact Fire Safety on 01926 423231 or email firesafety@warwickshire.gov.uk

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General business fire safety was last updated on April 15, 2014.