Legal Duties and Responsibilities Around Fire Safety
Fire safety is important for the health and safety of occupants, as well as to protect the assets of businesses. All business in Australia have a legal responsibility to provide suitable fire safety procedures and equipment. Sydney and other New South Wales areas must adhere to the following regulations:
• Regular Inspections and Certification
All fire safety measures must be inspected by a properly qualified person or persons to ensure that the appropriate fire protection measures are being maintained to the required standard of performance. Any business who is certified in Fire Risk Assessment NSW may complete the inspection, and organise certification with the Sydney council or other NSW Council as applicable.
In New South Wales an initial fire safety certificate must obtained for new buildings, and for any changes or additional fire protection measures made in the building.
An Annual Fire Safety Statement NSW must subsequently be acquired.
• Fire Safety Statements
Fire Safety Statements must be displayed in a clearly visible and prominent position inside the building at all times. They must be easily seen by Council or New South Wales Fire Brigade officers when the premises are inspected.
From 1 July 1988 onwards a Fire Safety Statement has been issued to all new business premises. This is usually organised by the developer.
• Clear Access to Exits and Corridors
All exit doors of business premises are to be kept in good working condition, and should be easily accessed by occupants. Corridors or other paths of exit are to bekept clear of any obstructions at all times.
Failure to comply with the above regulations carries heavy fines. Fire Risk Assessment NSW areas can be performed by a certified fire and safety company.
Fire Safety Certificates and Annual Fire Safety statements NSW are not mandatory if the building was built before 1 July 1988 and has never had a change in classification, addition, or alterations, or a fire safety order issued.
It is, however, recommended that owners of older buildings voluntarily obtain a Fire Certificate and Fire Safety Schedule to minimise the risk of fire to the building and to improve the safety of any occupants of the building.