Legal advice: an update about fire safety

Pharmacy owners, as owners or occupiers of commercial property and as employers, need to be aware of their duties to comply with fire safety legislation. Here is a quick reminder on what’s required.

Obligations relating to fire safety are set out in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the RRO). Pharmacists are responsible for complying with the RRO in relation to both the internal pharmacy and any external areas, such as car parks, loading bays and pathways.

The RRO requires pharmacists, as employers and/or owners and/or tenants of premises, to:

  • Carry out a fire risk assessment and keep this under review. The standard to which a risk assessment must be carried out is “suitable and sufficient”. This means that the assessment needs to be proportionate to the size and type of the pharmacy premises
  • Take general fire precautions to ensure that employees, customers or any other person lawfully in, or in the vicinity of, the pharmacy are safe in the event of a fire
  • Keep written records of all assessments and actions taken
  • Make and give effect to fire safety and fire-fighting arrangements, such as planning emergency exit routes, and installing and maintaining fire safety equipment, such as fire alarms and extinguishers
  • Appoint competent persons to help discharge certain duties, such as fire wardens, where necessary
  • Provide information and safety training to employees and provide information about fire safety risks to third parties who may be affected
  • Consider any risks arising from any dangerous substances at the property and take steps to eliminate or reduce those risks.

It is an offence not to comply with the provisions of the RRO, and contractors could be liable for a fine or even imprisonment.


The above is a general overview and we recommend that independent legal advice is sought for your specific concerns.

Charlotte Boyd is a solicitor and member of the pharmacy transactions real estate team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

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