DIY MOT? SOS!

Suppose you opened your newspaper today and read a headline that proclaimed “DIY MOTs!” Just suppose that the article went on to explain that in future car owners would be required to carry out their own annual MOT and write their own certificate.  I am guessing you would be surprised, perhaps concerned because maybe you don’t know much about cars and then very alarmed to think that you could be sharing the roads with some very dodgy vehicles.

What if the article went on to explain that the now redundant MOT testers would be redeployed to undertake spot checks on vehicles and, if the owner had not done the MOT or had not done it properly, large fines would be imposed?  How would you feel to read that, if the defects were deemed serious, your vehicle would be taken off the road?  Oh, and incidentally, if you did have an accident and faults were found, you would be held criminally liable, could go to prison and your insurance company would almost certainly refuse your claim.

My guess is that you would be pretty incensed and, given that MOT testers are rigorously trained and regulated, you would demand to know how you could possibly be competent to undertake an MOT yourself.  Well, worry not, because the Government had anticipated that problem and thoughtfully issued a book explaining how to undertake an MOT, complete with a tick list, easy!

Couldn’t happen?  Oh really.  Well, until the enactment of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, your local friendly Fire and Rescue Service would inspect your premises, advise you on how to make your premises fire safe and compliant and then issue you with a certificate.  A bit like an MOT really.

The Order changed all that and now every business in the UK is required by law to carry out and record a Fire Risk Assessment; act on the findings of the assessment and train all staff in basic fire safety.  What is more The Health & Safety Executive and the Fire & Rescue Service may carry out a spot check on your company at any time, and if you haven’t carried out (and recorded) a Fire Risk Assessment you will be breaking the law and liable to prosecution. Further more, an increasing number of insurance claims are failing because of non-existent or non-complaint Fire Risk Assessments.

 My guess is that you when you were told of these changes back in 2006 you were pretty incensed and, given that Fire Safety Engineers are rigorously trained and regulated, you demanded to know how you could possibly be competent to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment yourself.  Well, you didn’t need to worry because the Government had anticipated that problem and thoughtfully issued a book explaining how to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment, complete with a tick list, easy!

If only it were that easy.  The two things that scare me are firstly, that enormous numbers of business owners are completely unaware of this responsibility and so could be operating out of premises that are death traps and secondly, any person who is deemed ‘competent’ (and there is no definition of competent) can undertake a Fire Risk Assessment on anything from a corner shop to a shopping centre; on a care home, a hotel, a factory, in fact any premises caught under the Act and that is just about every building that you and I walk into every day.  You thought the MOT thing couldn’t happen?  Well, in terms of fire it has but too many people are unaware of the situation.

Naturally there are professional, highly trained experts who work in this field and help to ensure that the buildings that you and I visit every day are compliant and as safe as they can be.

As a business, we were so concerned when we came to understand the issues, that we have associated with a company that undertakes comprehensive Fire Risk Assessments, offers pragmatic solutions to overcome defects and reports to business owners in a pretty unique way.

The full story is on the website http://www.fcs-oxford.com/ .  Please check it out and please get in touch if you have any concerns about your premises, the premises that you occupy or premises that you visit.  Never has it been more important to say “Better safe that sorry”.

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