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London, UK, 31 October 2016

Fire Safety in the Food Industry

Fire Safety in the Food Industry
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The Fire Protection Association (FPA) has produced a useful and informative paper that highlights 14 core requirements for the minimisation of fire risks in the food industry.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 became law in October 2006, and since its introduction fire safety certificates have been abolished, with the new regulatory regime introducing the concept of “responsible person” within the organisation, placing more emphasis on employers to ensure compliance with the Order.

This legislation affects all non-domestic premises in England and Wales, with similar legislation also introduced on Northern Ireland and Scotland. While it is primarily focused on life safety, the legislation will give employers the opportunity to improve their approach to fire risks, which should also benefit property protections and business continuity.

Garry Moseley, who leads Arthur J. Gallagher’s specialist Food and Drink team, commented “A fire could cause significant disruption to a business and a major fire could in some cases prevent a business from re-opening.  The FPA’s “Food for Thought” article contains pragmatic advice and is a recommended read for all those involved in risk control in the food sector no matter the size of the business.”

“A comprehensive and pro-active loss prevention and business recovery programme will help to demonstrate to your insurer, and prospective insurers, the risk management culture within your business, differentiating your business and helping underwriters to take a more favourable underwriting stance. Some things to consider;

  • Identify and analyse conditions that could result in property damage and/or business interruption. Your insurance broker should help your team to assess;
    • Fire initiation, growth and spread potential
    • Structural weaknesses in construction
    • Fire protection equipment
    • Protection against dust, flammable liquids or other chemicals
    • Equipment integrity of safety and control devices
    • Adequacy of preventive maintenance programmes and operating procedures
    • Loss potential due to natural hazards
  • You can’t underestimate the importance of a strong business continuity plan; some important considerations;
    • Communication failure 
    • Loss of admin function and IT systems
    • Communication with customers and any other key stakeholders, e.g. intercompany contacts
    • Are there temporary premises available?
    • Lead-in times for a vital pieces of machinery
    • Re-build costs of a property
    • How long will it take to build the business back up to full capacity?
  • Test incident scenarios; an incident assessment including which business critical activities (e.g. internal and external communications, information technology) have been affected and the probable duration of the incident, Agreeing an action plan to respond to the incident, based on your priority activities, customers or markets.”

The 14 core requirements highlighted in the FPA’s document cover a full range of issues, from arson and willful fire raising, through to electrical maintenance and fire safety training.

Click here to download the Fire Protection Agency article: Food for Thought 

The FPA also provides fire risk management consultancy services and has experts who are experienced in the food production industry. They can be contacted on for further advice.

The content of this bulletin is for general information purposes. For more specific advice bespoke to your business, please contact Arthur J. Gallagher.

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