Fire safety seminar held for Tees Branch members

21 December 2015

The roles of fire safety risk assessors and inspectors and building fire safety standards were highlighted during a meeting of IOSH’s Tees Branch.

Line diagram of a globe

Members also heard about fire detection and alarm technology and enforcement action by fire brigades during the event, which was organised to raise awareness of the latest regulations.

Jonathan Backhouse was among the four presenters. He focused on the approaches of fire risk assessors and safety inspectors, based on findings from his Master of Research thesis.

Jonathan, a Chartered IOSH member and Education Development Adviser for Tees Branch, said the purpose of his talk was to describe the key differences between general fire safety and process fire safety, and outline the key differences between the methodology used by fire risk assessors and fire safety inspectors.

He said: “The objective of the talk was to increase the awareness of the role of the local fire authority and how they audit premises.

“General fire safety is about protection of life, meaning raising the alarm and ensuring means of escape for those within the premises, which includes maintenance of the fire alarm and detection systems.

“Whereas process fire safety is about prevention of the fire occurring in the first place and ensuring the components of a fire triangle (fuel, ignition source and oxygen) do not unite. This includes, where relevant, testing and the inspection of the electrical mains and appliances, planned preventive maintenance and general housekeeping.”

Jonathan said that fire risk assessors focus on both general fire safety and process safety, but fire safety inspectors mostly focus on the former.

The seminar was held at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, on Tuesday 15 December.

Jason Foster, of HCD Building Control Ltd, provided an overview of Building Fire Safety Standards, including Building Regulations Approved Document B and BS9999.

Ken Gordon of Gent Ltd, specialists in fire detection and alarm technology, gave a presentation on the principles of general fire safety, including the requirements of British Standards for fire alarm systems. He also looked at process fire safety, highlighting the electrical fault which caused a fire at Rosepark Care Home in Glasgow in 2004.

Noel Cornforth, of Cleveland Fire Brigade, led the final seminar, on how Cleveland Fire Brigade enforces the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005. 

He explained which premises are audited, when they are audited and how this is done. He also outlined the repercussions of non-compliance, including some case studies.