INDUSTRIAL PROCESSING SITES COMPLIANCE WITH THE NEW REGULATORY REFORM (FIRE SAFETY) ORDER 2005

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1 INDUSTRIAL PROCESSING SITES COMPLIANCE WITH THE NEW REGULATORY REFORM (FIRE SAFETY) ORDER 2005 Steven J Manchester BRE Fire and Security E-mai: The aim of this paper is to inform Managers of industria processing sites about the fire egisation that came into force on 1st October The paper wi go through the main parts of the egisation, highighting key areas and requirements. The main body of the paper wi then discuss the responsibiities and the tasks required by Senior Managers in order to ensure a parts of the sites, incuding the administration, process and storage areas, wi compy with the new egisation. A key area that wi be discussed wi be the potentia conficts with the existing DSEAR egisation that appies to many processing sites. KEYWORDS: Process, Industria, Fire, RRFSO, DSEAR, Compiance, Responsibe Person, Competent Person, Risk Assessment, Emergency Pan. Introduction As part of a commitment to reduce death, injury and damage caused by fire, the Government has reviewed the current fire safety aw and has made a number of changes through the Reguatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) which became aw in Engand and Waes on 1st October Simiar requirements have aso been introduced in Scotand under the Fire (Scotand) Act Two thirds of a fire deaths occur in the home and the government is directing the efforts of the fire brigades in prevention strategies in this area and consequenty ess direct attention on the commercia sector. The main effect of the changes is a move towards greater emphasis on fire prevention in a non-domestic premises for offices, shops, factories, eisure and other buidings. Hence, industria processing sites come under these new reguations and it incudes a the offices, and process buidings on the premises as we as storage areas and any other paces where personne can get access. Fire certificates are aboished and cease to have ega status. Responsibiity for compying with the aw now rests with the Responsibe Person. Non-compiance coud utimatey ead to prosecution, with the maximum penaty being two years in gao. The roe of the fire and rescue service has aso changed as they become enforcers of the new reguations, in a simiar manner to the HSE with regard to DSEAR and COMAH. The new aw means a much greater emphasis on fire prevention and businesses need to be taking steps to identify and dea with fire risks. On industria processing sites the demarcation ines between what is enforced by HSE and what comes under the Fire & Rescue Service is not particuary cear to many peope. The HSE are responsibe for Process Fire Precautions (PFP) which are specific process reated fire safety requirements. Whereas Genera Fire Precautions (GFP) as defined in the Reguatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order are enforced by the Fire Service.

2 OVERVIEW OF THE FIRE LEGISLATION The new fire egisation covers a non-domestic premises and communa areas of domestic premises, e.g. bocks of fats, care homes, houses of mutipe occupancy. For processing sites this wi cover a manned operationa sites and offices. The main requirements are: Appoint a Responsibe Person Appoint at east one Competent Person Undertake a Fire Risk Assessment Take genera fire precautions Formuate an Emergency pan The RRFSO aso contains six other ega duties covering the safety of empoyees, consutation with empoyees, informing other empoyers in buidings under your contro, issues of other buidings that are in your contro, means of contacting emergency services and empoyee co-operation. Once again the onus is the Responsibe Person to ensure that their business meets the requirements of the new aw. Responsibe Person The coection of fire safety duties which form the core of the order are paced upon the person caed the Responsibe Person. As part of the requirements to compy with the Order, the Responsibe Person is required to carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises, or instruct a Competent Person to undertake this task on their behaf. The responsibe person is: a) The person who is the empoyer or has a workpace which is to any extent under his contro. b) in reation to premises not faing within a) the person who has contro of the premises in connection with carrying out a trade, business or other undertaking; or the owner, where the person in contro of the premises does not have contro in connection with carrying out a trade, business or other undertaking. For sma to medium sized companies this woud be the Managing Director or Chief Executive. For arge organisations such as utiity companies that have very arge numbers of sites, the Responsibe Person wi need to be appointed at a senior executive management eve, who wi be responsibe for ensuring compiance at a corporate eve. There wi aso undoubtedy be a Responsibe Person to ensure compiance at individua sites or groups of sites, who wi be required to ensure fire safety measures are impemented ocay. For exampe, if the enforcing authority finds that there is a probem when inspecting a site with the management systems or a company poicy reating to fire then the corporate Responsibe Person woud be informed of the non-compiance. If the probem found was a oca issue, e.g. fire exit bocked by someone pacing a fiing cabinet in front, then the oca Responsibe Person woud be informed. The Responsibe Person must: identify the significant findings of the risk assessment and the detais of anyone who might be especiay at risk in case of fire record the significant findings of the risk assessment 2

3 provide and maintain such genera fire precautions as are necessary to safeguard those who use your workpace provide information, instruction and training to empoyees about the fire precautions in the workpace. It shoud be emphasized that it is the Responsibe Person who is iabe in aw for ensuring their workpace is in compiance with the RRFSO. Competent Person The Competent Person may be appointed in-house from avaiabe staff with sufficient training, and/or experience, in fire risk assessment, or companies may choose to appoint an externa consutant to undertake the risk assessment on their behaf. If interna staff are tasked with undertaking these assessments then they must have sufficient training and experience to fufi this roe to the satisfaction of the enforcing Fire & Rescue Service. In appointing an externa consutant there are a number of key factors that shoud be borne in mind: Have they sufficient experience in undertaking fire risk assessments? Since the introduction of the new egisation it seems everyone is now an expert in fire risk assessment! Contractors offering this service shoud be asked to provide exampes of their previous work. For exampe, companies whose main work has been in asbestos surveying or servicing fire extinguishers may now aso be offering fire risk assessments, but have they the technica knowedge and experience in risk assessment techniques to undertake this roe? Are they truey independent? Many companies are now offering this service and a bot-on to their usua services for itte of no cost. However, the cient shoud be aware that many of these companies may be biased towards directing the assessment to focus on a certain area to the detriment of other more important areas. If a company whose main business is providing fire extinguishers or smoke detectors undertakes your fire risk assessment don t be surprised if the report recommends more extinguishers or detectors! Have they had sufficient training? Contractors shoud be abe to show that they have been through a suitabe training course and preferaby have a Certificate of Competence. There are a number of reputabe companies that are providing training on how to undertake fire risk assessments, with some aso providing an assessment of competency. Unfortunatey, there is no Government requirement or scheme to benchmark against. So it is eft to the person being trained to ensure that the training provided is by a reputabe company. Does the fire risk assessor have sufficient insurance cover? In undertaking a fire risk assessment, the assessor is taking on a certain amount of iabiity for the report produced and therefore must have sufficient Professiona Indemnity and

4 Pubic Liabiity Insurance cover. This wi be of particuar importance if, as an operator of a arge number of sites, you decide to pace a your fire risk assessments for a your sites with a singe service provider. Quaity of report The key output from the fire risk assessment exercise is the production of the report. This must stand up to scrutiny by the oca Fire & Rescue Service. If, in their opinion, the report is not suitabe and sufficient to meet the requirements of the RRFSO, then they coud issue an Enforcement Notice that wi require the assessment to be undertaken again. Fire Risk Assessment A propery carried out fire risk assessment wi hep to decide the nature and extent of the fire precautions that need to be taken. There is a genera requirement to reduce the risk to a eve which is as ow as reasonaby practicabe. Fire Risk Assessments must aso consider a empoyees and a other peope incuding contractors, visitors and members of the pubic, who may be affected by a fire in the workpace. There is aso a requirement to make adequate provision for any disabed peope with specia needs who use, or may be present, at the premises. A key point to note is that they must not be seen as one off exercises but as iving documents, and shoud be kept under review and revised where necessary. Changes may need to be made, for exampe, when the fire risk or hazard may have changed due to aterations to the buiding, the nature of the work, the number of empoyees, or changes to the fire safety management processes. The assessment must incude as a minimum the foowing: Management systems Active fire protection systems Passive fire protection systems Detection Staff Training records Maintenance records Evacuation/emergency routes Significant findings Actions and timescaes Pans/drawings of the buidings Photographs to iustrate potentia hazards or non-compiances Genera Fire Precautions There is a requirement in the reguations to undertake what is known as genera fire precautions. In reation to the premises, this means; 1. measures to reduce the risk of fire on the premises and the risk of fire spread; 2. measures in reation to the means of escape from premises; 4

5 3. measures for securing that the means of escape can be safey and effectivey used; 4. measures in reation to the means for fighting fires, 4. measures in reation to the means for detecting fires and giving warning in case of fire on the premises; and 6. measures in reation to the arrangements for action to be taken in the event of fire, incuding: instruction and training of empoyees and measures to mitigate the effects of fire. The above does not incude specia, technica or organisationa measures required to be taken in any workpace in carrying out work processes, e.g. exposion protection systems on process equipment which come under DSEAR. GUIDANCE Tweve guidance documents have been produced to assist those peope tasked with undertaking fire risk assessments. Working for the Department for Communities and Loca Government (CLG), BRE has written eight of the thirteen guides, that have been produced to date. The guides cover the foowing categories of buidings and work paces: Offices and Shops Premises providing seeping accommodation Residentia care Sma and medium paces of assemby Large paces of assemby Factories and warehouses Theatres and cinemas Educationa premises Heathcare premises (responsibiity of the Department of Heath) Transport premises and faciities Open air events Means of escape for disabed peope Anima premises and stabes For industria and processing sites the factories and warehouses guide [1] is probaby most appicabe. ENFORCEMENT For the vast majority of sites the enforcing authority is the oca Fire & Rescue Service. The inspecting officer has the power to do anything necessary for the purposes of carrying out his duties to enforce the Order. There are three Notices that can be issued to the Responsibe Person. 5

6 Aterations Notice If the enforcing authority is of the opinion that something on the premises constitutes a serious risk, they may serve an Aterations Notice to the responsibe person in order that they notify the authority of any aterations to the premises that might resut in a significant increase of the risk. Enforcement Notice If the Responsibe Person has faied to compy with any provisions of the order, the enforcing authority may issue an Enforcement Notice that requires the responsibe person to take steps to remedy the faiure. Prohibition Notice A Prohibition Notice can be served on the Responsibe Person if, in the opinion of the inspector, the use of the premises invoves or is ikey to invove a risk to persons that is so serious that the use of the premises shoud be prohibited or restricted. In effect they have the power to stop work at the site. DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES Throughout the RRFSO there is reference made to dangerous substances. These are substances that can be cassed as exposive, oxidising, extremey fammabe, highy fammabe or fammabe; a preparation that because of its physio-chemica or chemica properties creates a risk, or any gas, vapour, mist or dust that can form an exposive mixture in air. If dangerous substances are present in the workpace, their use must be eiminated or reduced as is reasonabe and have to be taken into account in the risk assessment. In addition, the use of dangerous substances comes under the Dangerous Substances and Exposive Atmospheres Reguations (DSEAR). Under these reguations a written risk assessment is aso required and, depending on the voumes and the nature of the substance and usage, coud invove hazardous area zoning. For industria processing sites typica substances that can be deemed a dangerous substance woud incude: Fammabe gases, e.g. methane, hydrogen, propane Fammabe vapours, e.g. sovents, paints Fammabe dusts, e.g. chemicas, pharmaceuticas, foodstuffs, paints, rubber A risk assessment report compied to satisfy DSEAR woud not be sufficient in itsef to meet the requirements of the RRFSO but coud inform or form part of the fire risk assessment. For those companies yet to undertake their DSEAR risk assessments on their premises, it can be usefu to have it undertaken together with the fire risk assessment, as there are areas which may overap and substantia cost savings may be made by having them done at the same time. 6

7 COMPLIANCE OF INDUSTRIAL PROCESSING SITES Industria processing sites can vary in size and compexity enormousy from simpe sma operations that may have haf a dozen empoyees in a singe buiding with an office area, to arge sites that can comprise of numerous process buidings, office bocks, power pants, storage tanks, warehouses and compex process equipment. Unmanned areas For parts of sites which are usuay unmanned but wi have personne present for short periods, these sites wi sti be required under the RRFSO to have a fire risk assessment, athough the assessment woud be expected to be quite brief. It coud take the form of a simpe checkist that may be compied in a generic form to cover these types of areas or buidings. Process buidings In the main works there can be numerous buidings in which personne wi be working and which come under the RRFSO. As we as the obvious need to assess the office accommodation and meeting rooms, other buidings that contain process pant woud aso need to be assessed as staff can be expected to undertake work activities in them. In addition, these types of buidings may contain dangerous substances which woud aso need to be assessed under DSEAR as we as the RRFSO. Buidings containing processing pant that use or produce fammabe materias coud pose particuar risks to persons working on the process pant. Some pants are arge compex processes that encompass numerous muti-storey eves and can virtuay fi a buiding. There are a number of concerns with these pants: Fires from sef-heating Dust or gas exposions Means of escape Buiding structure comprising of fammabe materias Fires from sef-heating This phenomenon occurs with certain types of materia, for exampe dried sewage sudge, due to exothermic chemica/and/or bioogica action. It can occur at numerous stages of a process either with reativey sma quantities of the materia under hot fuy oxygenated conditions for short periods or when stored in buk in sios or hoppers in cooer temperatures but for onger periods. In respect of the substance being iabe to undergo spontaneous combustion, it can be cassed as a dangerous substance and thus comes under the requirements of both DSEAR and aso the RRFSO. In either case it woud be necessary to show to the enforcement authorities that an isotherma sef-heating assessment has been undertaken to the European Standard pren 15188, which incudes testing of the

8 materia and use of Therma Ignition Theory to cacuate the safe operating parameters, in terms of critica ignition temperature, safe storage voumes and time to ignition for the fu scae process. Dust and gas exposions Organic materias in the form of a dust coud suspended in the atmosphere can form an exposibe coud if present in sufficient concentration, typicay above 40 g/m 3. Simiary, fammabe gases and vapours can aso form exposibe mixtures in air, when present a concentration above their ower exposive imit. As such, these processes wi come under the requirements of DSEAR and thus requires a risk assessment and hazardous area zoning exercise, in addition to the other requirements of these reguations. Exposions, either gas or dust, do not expicity fa under the RRFSO. However, a consequence of an exposion in many cases eads to a subsequent fire in the buiding that contains the process. Thus, it may be argued that for processes that are inside buidings, the possibiity of a dust or gas exposion eading to a fire must be taken into account and assessed as a risk when undertaking a fire risk assessment for the buiding. Hence, some knowedge of dust and gas exposions must be required by the person undertaking the fire risk assessment in order for this risk to be adequatey assessed. Means of escape Some of the arger types of process pant have compex arrangements for access to parts of the process, which can pose probems for means of escape in case of fire. Of particuar concern are those pants that virtuay fi the buiding in which they are housed, with very itte space between the top eve of the process and the roof and/or the sides of the buiding. To make matters worse, a singe exit point from the process to ground eve coud mean excessive trave distances from certain areas of the pant to the pace of safety outside the buiding. This issue woud again need to be addressed when undertaking a fire risk assessment and in forming an emergency pan under the RRFSO. Buiding structure As part of the fire risk assessment an important area that shoud not be negected shoud be the buiding itsef. As an exampe, some buidings particuary in the food processing industry, may be constructed from insuated core panes. It is important that the nature of the insuation used is determined as typica materias used vary greaty in their behaviour. Some materias, particuary expanded poystyrene (EPS), can be particuary hazardous if ignited in a fire both from the rate of heat reease (size of the fire) and the toxic combustion products. The risk is increased significanty if the wa panes are cut through to aow the passage of equipment or services (see Figure 1). Vehices There are particuar hazards associated with the use of vehices such as fork ift trucks which must aso be considered. For exampe, battery charging can give rise to hydrogen 8

9 Figure 1. Expanded poystyrene insuation pane in therma dryer buiding cut to aow conveyor access through side wa which is highy fammabe and coud cause an exposion if it is present in sufficient concentration. Charging points shoud therefore be ocated in we ventiated areas and, if inside a buiding, sited against a 30 minute rated fire-resisting wa. Storage areas Large storage buidings and warehouses have their own particuar hazards, mainy arising due to the very arge voumes of combustibe materias present and the ack of compartmentation. Fires in these buidings can resut in very rapid spread eading to the oss of the whoe buiding and contents. For this reason extensive use of sprinkers is normay found throughout the buiding and on the storage racking in many cases. Athough, this fire protection provision is not primariy for ife safety, usuay being required by the insurance company for property protection reasons, it needs to be assessed and taken into account in the fire risk assessment. Experiments [2] have shown that fires started in boxes stored on a 10m high racking system frequenty reached to the top of the racking within two minutes.

10 Areas which aren t buidings as such but woud aso come under the DSEAR and possiby the RRFSO are items such as fammabe materia storage tanks. This woud be due to the presence of a fammabe materia which coud form an exposive atmosphere or fire hazard in case of eakage or spiages. In most instances this woud not ead to a subsequent fire but this woud sti need to be taken into consideration when assessing the risk to ife safety of personne working on top of or around these tanks. If fire is a potentia hazard then a fire risk assessment of the tanks woud need to be undertaken to compy with the RRFSO, perhaps as part of an overa site fire risk assessment. MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS A key eement of the RRFSO is the requirement to have in pace suitabe management systems. This encompasses keeping records and information in a number of areas, incuding having a written record of the Responsibe and Competent person(s). Specific documentation that the Fire and Rescue Service may wish to see during a site visit coud incude: Fire Safety Poicy Emergency Pan Fire Risk Assessment Permit to work system for hot working Staff training Evacuation dris Maintenance records Fire Safety Poicy Most responsibe companies wi have a written statement outining their corporate poicy on fire safety, either specificay or perhaps as part of a genera Heath & Safety Poicy. Many arge companies wi aso have a Heath & Safety Manua which woud be expected to cover fire issues. Emergency pan This wi detai the expected actions on personne in the event of a fire occurring. It woud be expected to be specific to a buiding or site, athough it may aso contain corporate safety instructions as we. For exampe, an interna emergency phone number for personne to use in the event of a fire that aerts a receptionist to ca the fire service may be a corporate action, but specifics assemby points for staff to evacuate to woud be specific to a buiding. Fire Risk Assessment As described in detai in this paper, a fire risk assessment for each buiding on a site woud be expected to be made avaiabe to the Fire and Rescue Service when requested. These documents shoud aso be avaiabe for staff. 10

11 Permit to work Where hot working may be undertaken, particuary in high risk areas such process buidings, it is good practice to use a permit to work scheme. These can hep to reduce the risks from fire started accidentay by repair and maintenance works. Staff training A requirement of the egisation is that staff know what to do in the event of a fire and where they are expected to muster on evacuation of the buiding. For process areas other specific tasks may aso be required of the staff. If staff are expected to use a fire extinguisher they shoud be trained in their use and must know what type of extinguisher to use for the different casses for fire. A higher eve of training woud obviousy be required for those staff given specific fire fighting roes. Records of the staff training can be expected to be requested by the enforcing authority. Training It is important that personne undertaking duties under the RRFSO have training to undertake these tasks. In particuar, depending on the nature of the buidings being assessed, the fire risk assessment may be quite a compex document requiring knowedge of a wide range of fire safety systems such as detection, passive and active fire protection, means of escape and trave distances, dangerous substances, human behaviour and the abiity to interpret buiding pans and drawings. There is guidance avaiabe, as described earier, to assist in this process, but specific training may be required if a suitabe and sufficient assessment is to be made that satisfies the enforcing authority. The roe of the Responsibe Person is fundamenta to compiance with the RRFSO and they need to be cear what their duties entai and the possibe penaties they coud face by not undertaking them to the requirements of the egisation. Training in the duties of this roe is another area for consideration. Evacuation dris These are a key part of ensuring everyone knows what to do in the event of the fire aarm sounding and where they need to evacuate to so that everyone can be accounted for when the Fire Service arrive. These dris shoud be undertaken at east annuay and records kept detaiing when they were undertaken and any outcomes or actions to be taken from them. Maintenance records It is important that records are kept showing that the fire safety systems used are propery maintained. This incudes portabe fire fighting equipment, automatic fire detection systems and fixed fire fighting instaations (e.g. sprinkers). Passive systems, such as fire doors, shoud not be overooked. It is aso important when purchasing fire protection systems, 11

12 that they have been independenty certified, by a body such as LPCB, which wi assess the performance of the system or component against a standard. CONCLUSIONS The new fire egisation is aimed at cutting deaths from fires in non-domestic premises and indirecty this wi reduce damage to buidings and reduce business interruption. The responsibiity is aid squarey at the door of the Responsibe Person to ensure the reguations are met. A key part of interpreting the RRFSO is recognising who the Responsibe Person is for different types of business. For arge businesses with many sites there wi need to be an overa corporate Responsibe Person but with specific sites aso having a Responsibe Person to ensure oca compiance. Many industria processing sites wi come under DSEAR as we as the RRFSO. A DSEAR risk assessment aone wi not cover a the requirements of the RRFSO. There wi be some overap between DSEAR and the RRFSO but with someone who is competent in both these areas, conficting risk assessments shoud be avoided. A key aspect of the new fire egisation is the need to maintain good records, have suitabe management procedures in pace and to ensure adequate staff training and awareness for fire. The importance of good Management Systems shoud not be underestimated. REFEReNCES 1. Fire Safety Risk Assessment: Factories and Warehouses. Department for Communities and Loca Government, Sprinkers: High pied and rack storage. Fire Surveyor, Vo. 9 No. 1, February

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