BSI sets out new specification for a fire risk management system

Published:  19 September, 2013

Until now there has been no holistic management system available that looks at fire safety across the entirety of an organization. 

Often fire safety gets confused with management systems such as health and safety, however these are two separate disciplines. To address this, BSI, the UK’s National Standards Body, developed PAS 7, Fire risk management systems – Specification , in association with BB7 Fire Risk & Resilience.

Most of the visible fire precautions in premises are fire protection measures, and it is with these measures that the Building Regulations are primarily concerned.  However in modern premises the risk to people (and property) from fire is often governed more by the quality of fire risk management than the level of fire protection.   Indeed significant factors in most non-domestic, multiple fatality fires, particularly those involving say ten deaths or more are failures in fire risk management rather than in the design of premises or fire protection measures.

PAS 7 can help organizations to implement a clear, formally documented system to reduce their fire risk. This can help to safeguard employees, customers and the general public as well as property, and assets. It can also minimize the impact of fire on business continuity. The recent blaze at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya, the busiest airport in east and central Africa, caused costly disruption and closure, though thankfully no loss of life. A fully implemented fire risk management system could potentially minimize the impact of such incidents as well as reduce the likelihood of them occurring in the first place.

PAS 7 applies the “plan, do, check, act” model and has been developed so that it can integrate easily with other management systems that might already be in place within an organization, such as BS OHSAS 18001, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements and BS ISO 22301, Societal security – Business continuity management system – Requirements.

It can be applied in:

  • Organizations that operate on multiple sites
  • Separate management divisions within an organization
  • Individual  premises within a single organization

In addition, the requirements of PAS 7 provide a framework for the management levels contained within BS 9999 Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings. 

PAS 7 was technically authored by BB7 Fire Risk & Resilience. Several leading organizations were also involved in the development of the PAS, including Association of British Insurers, Chief Fire Officers Association, Fire Sector Federation and the Institution of Fire Engineers amongst others.

Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development for Governance & Risk at BSI says: ‘Management systems standards have been adopted successfully in areas such as health and safety, quality and business continuity for organizations to demonstrate that they are willing to mitigate risks. They are relatively new to the fire safety arena, but as change sweeps through the construction and property sector, PAS 7 will demonstrate that a business is taking responsibility for preventing fire risks.’

Ben Bradford, Founder of BB7 Fire Risk & Resilience says: ‘Fire risk management (FRM) within our built environment is evolving and many are discovering that it is a much broader discipline than simply documenting fire risk assessments. We must acknowledge FRM as a discipline in its own right with differing competency requirements for those involved. PAS 7 can help by setting out a framework for organizations wishing to formalize their fire risk management system, demonstrate compliance more holistically and take a more strategic approach to managing the risks posed by the threat of fire.’

  • Operation Florian

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