Business advice and guidance

Find out how fire safety legislation affects your business, workplace checklists, extinguishers, and fire log books

What is fire safety legislation?

Fire safety legislation aims to ensure the safety of employees, residents, visitors or customers. It sets out rights and responsibilities in respect of fire safety.  

Those in control of premises, to any extent, have a responsibility to ensure the safety of occupants from harm caused by fire. 

The legislation places a duty on those responsible for fire safety within relevant premises to carry out a fire risk assessment. These people are defined in the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 as Duty Holders.  

For the majority of premises, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is the authority responsible for enforcing this legislation. The Service may visit certain premises. This is to see if the fire precautions are being maintained to a satisfactory standard and that the requirements of the legislation are being met.  

Does fire safety legislation apply to you?

Fire safety legislation applies to virtually all premises and covers nearly every type of building and structure. For example:  

  • Offices and shops  
  • Premises that provide care  
  • Community halls and other public buildings  
  • Houses in multiple occupation  
  • Pubs, clubs and restaurants  
  • Schools  
  • Tents and marquees  
  • Hotels and hostels  
  • Factories and warehouses  

This is not an exhaustive list. Purely domestic premises occupied by a single family group are excluded.  

The Scottish Government has undertaken a public awareness campaign to educate the business community and other relevant organisations about the legislative requirements. To find out more, visit the dedicated Scottish Government website. It contains a wide range of information regarding fire legislation. 

Workplace checklist

There are small measures you can take which can help prevent a fire occurring at work.  

  • Store stock safely - make sure stairs and exits are clear. 
  • Do your employees know where the alarms points are so they can warn others if a fire breaks out? 
  • Closed doors hold back fires and stop them spreading.  Make sure your workplace does not have doors wedged open. 
  • Make sure you store things that catch fire away from things that cause fire. 
  • Will you be recruiting new staff for Christmas? Make sure you induct them on fire safety. 
  • Ensure staff and visitors have safe and clear routes to get out if there's a fire. 
  • Have you identified a safe fire assembly point in case you need to evacuate? 
  • Are staff told of significant findings resulting from your fire risk assessment? 


You should know the location of your firefighting equipment, how it works and what type of fire it should be used on.  

  • Fire Extinguishers 
  • Don't put yourself in danger and always keep yourself between the fire and the exit 
  • Don't place extinguishers over cookers, heaters or places of extreme heat 
  • Do read the instructions 
  • Do recharge the extinguisher if fully or partially discharged 
  • Do service properly once a year or in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations

Portable fire extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers are only designed to be used to tackle a fire in its very early stages. You should always ensure that the fire service has been called when fire breaks out. 

A fire should not be tackled if it has started to spread to other items in the room or if the room is filling with smoke. 

If you cannot put out a fire, or the fire extinguisher becomes empty, move away from the fire and close the doors behind you. 

All new fire extinguishers should comply with BS EN3:1996. This requires them to be coloured red with a zone of colour which indicates the contents. 

Extinguishers manufactured prior to 1996 should conform to BS 5423:1987. These are still acceptable, and can be used until they need to be replaced. 

Choose portable extinguishers that display a British Standards Kite Mark. 

Portable fire extinguishers can be categorised by their contents. This may make them particularly suitable for use on a particular type of fire and dangerous on others.  

Portable fire extinguishers must never be used on oil or fat pan fires in the home. The jet from the extinguisher may force burning fat out of the pan. A fire blanket is recommended for this type of fire. 

Portable fire extinguishers should be affixed:  

  • to a wall at a convenient height  
  • on escape routes  
  • outside living areas 
  • close to specific risks  
  • out of the reach of children 

Fire blankets

Fire Blankets should conform to BS-EN-1869. To keep fire blankets functional and ready for use, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Fire precautions log book 

The fire legislation requires you to carry out and record a:  

  • programme of routine inspection test and maintenance of all the fire safety features and equipment contained within your premises 
  • programme of fire safety training for your staff 

Further advice

If you need any further advice or have any questions regarding the purposes of the log book or applicable legislation, please contact your local fire safety office

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Business advice and guidance

Find out how fire safety legislation affects your business, workplace checklists, extinguishers, and fire log books