Farm fire safety regulations

Farm fire safety regulations

The Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) Order (RRO) has a long reach and virtually all types of business premises are required to comply. Some may be surprised to learn that this fire safety legislation also applies, with few exceptions, to all farm buildings where people work even if the “work” involved is occasional or limited to seasonal activity.  Packing sheds, barns, milking parlours, enclosed livestock sheds and chicken houses all fall into the RRO net. Barns converted for holiday lets and farm houses used for providing bed and breakfast are more obvious candidates.

If your farm employs five or more people, you are also required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment of your farm buildings and record the findings or risk a hefty fine or even a jail term, either of which could bring your business to its knees. We offer an extensive range of fire safety training and fire risk assessment guides on CD and DVD together with basic fire training via e-learning to ensure RRO compliance.

Here are 10 essential tips to maximize farm fire safety

  • To prevent arson hay and straw should be removed from fields as soon as possible after harvesting. Store well away from other buildings and any livestock housing in manageable and stable stacks spaced at least 10 metres apart.
  • Only bale and stack hay when it’s dry to prevent spontaneous combustion.
  • Clearly label all fuels and chemicals and store them securely. Petrol, diesel and other fuels should be stored in secure designated areas and entirely separate to fertilisers and pesticides which should be segregated in a locked COSHH cabinet or store and clearly labelled as to the contents.
  • Clean and service all tractors and farm machinery regularly and don’t house in barns holding hay, straw or other highly combustible materials where the risk if ignition from the engine and heated exhausts is high.
  • Check all firefighting equipment regularly to ensure it will work in an emergency.  It is advisable to service fire extinguishers annually to comply with your responsibilities under the RRO.
  • If you have Holiday Lets provide a safe designated area for the lighting of open fires and barbecues well away from buildings and potential fire risks and clearly signpost restricted areas for holiday tenants or visitors.
  • Display no smoking signs on access doors and gates to all fire risk areas and ensure cigarettes and matches are extinguished carefully.
  • Only allow camping and picnicking in monitored areas.
  • Ensure any open water supplies suitable for firefighting are regularly checked and maintained.
  • Finally to minimize the opportunities for arsonists conduct a simple survey to identify areas where an arsonist may strike. You can ask the local crime prevention officer or your insurance adviser for their assistance.

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Comments (2)

  • Vicki Jordan Reply

    Is there a standard minimum fire break between a residential building and a hay barn? We are trying to propose to planning a location for a new farmhouse in relation to existing buildings.

    May 27, 2015 at 2:09 pm
    • admin Reply

      Many thanks for your comment, unfortunately we are unable to advise on specific sites due to not being at your location. We would always advise a risk assessment is carried out on site in order to determine the fire requirements and regulations that need to be adhered to on that particular site. We can provide this as a service if you would like to call our office on 01724 281044.

      June 1, 2015 at 10:50 am

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