fire safety policies

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What is a Fire Safety Policy?

A fire safety policy demonstrates fire safety procedures and what people should do during the unlikely event of a fire. A fire safety policy should include a policy statement covering immediate evacuation, raising the alarm and reporting any concerns.

Under the fire safety order, employers can still be held legally accountable for their workers' improper behaviour.

An employer may believe that he or she has put in place the best fire safety policies and practises possible. Staff may have received thorough training and been given all relevant information regarding what to do in the event of a fire. However, if a member of staff endangers the lives of others while not doing what he was ordered or trained to do, the employer may be held accountable.

Article 32 (11) states “nothing in this order operates so as to afford an employer a defence in any criminal proceedings for a contravention of those provisions (contained in the Fire Safety Order) by reason of any act or default of-an employee of his;”

Employers do not have a due diligence defence if the Fire Safety Order has been broken in the workplace.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that general fire measures are in place in the workplace to protect the safety of all employees and appropriate non-employees. In most cases, a person charged with an infraction under the FSO would be able to establish that they took all reasonable precautions and performed all necessary diligence to avoid committing the offence. However, Article 33 clearly stipulates that this defence is not accessible to employers that do not maintain general fire precautions.

If offences were committed with their consent, connivance, or neglect, directors and managers may be held personally accountable for their company's activities.

A corporation is a separate legal body that can be prosecuted separately. However, if a firm has committed an offence under the FSO and there is proof that a director’s or manager’s actions or omissions clearly contributed to the offence, the individual director/manager can be held personally accountable. While a firm can only be punished, an individual management or director might face up to two years in prison for each offence.

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Under the fire safety order, employers can still be held legally accountable for their workers' improper behaviour.