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DurbsBRONZE Member
Classically British
5,688 posts
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England

Well, there's quite a few "I think...", "someone told me...", "mum says..." with regards to the legalities in terms of Health and Safety and fire spinners.

So I wrote to the Governmen and asked them what the laws are - here's there response.

I've written back asking to answer a couple more questions with regards to mentions of laws, namely; the "you have to be x meters from a road to do fire" and "the audiance has to be x distance from the performers" laws. I'll post them when the answer comes but until then *deep breath*


Thank you for your enquiry regarding health and safety during fire


There are no specific regulations or guidance set down by the HSE in

relation to your business. However, safe working practices should be

determined through the findings of a risk assessment. Risk assessments are

a legal requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work

Regulations 1999.

Regulation 3 stipulates that:

Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of -

(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are

exposed whilst they are at work; and

(b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment

arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking.

The Approved Code of Practice goes on to say:

This regulation requires all employers and self-employed people to assess

the risks to workers and any others who may be affected by their work or

business. This will enable them to identify the measures they need to take

to comply with health and safety law. All employers should carry out a

systematic general examination of the effect of their undertaking, their

work activities and the condition of the premises. Those who employ five or

more employees should record the significant findings of that risk


A risk assessment is carried out to identify the risks to health and safety

to any person arising out of, or in connection with, work or the conduct of

their undertaking. It should identify how the risks arise and how they

impact on those affected. This information is needed to make decisions on

how to manage those risks so that the decisions are made in an informed,

rational and structured manner, and the action taken is proportionate.

A risk assessment should usually involve identifying the hazards present in

any working environment or arising out of commercial activities and work

activities, and evaluating the extent of the risks involved, taking into

account existing precautions and their effectiveness. In this approved

code of practice:

(a) a hazard is something with the potential to cause harm (this can

include articles, substances, plant or machines, methods of work, the

working environment and other aspects of work organisation);

(b) a risk is the likelihood of potential harm from that hazard being

realised. The extent of the risk will depend on:

(i) the likelihood of that harm occurring;

(ii) the potential severity of that harm, i.e. of any resultant injury or

adverse health effect; and

(iii) the population which might be affected by the hazard, i.e. the number

of people who might be exposed.

Reference: L21: The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations

1999: Approved Code of Practice and Guidance, ISBN 0717624889, 8.00.

The HSE also produce the following publications on risk assessment:

HSG183, Five Steps to Risk Assessment : Case Studies, ISBN 0717615804,


INDG163, Five Steps to risk assessments, single copies are free.

INDG218, A guide to risk assessments requirements, single copies are free.

The free leaflets referenced above are available to download online at the

following web address:

The following information is taken from the publication 'Fire Safety: An

Employers Guide':

An introduction

The term 'fire precautions' includes matters which are the subject of legal

requirements under specific fire precautions legislation. These include

the Fire Regulations and the Fire Precautions Act 1971 (in Northern Ireland

the Fire Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1984 (as amended)) and, more

generally, under health and safety legislation including the Health and

Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and regulations made under that Act.

Fire precautions legislation deals with general fire precautions. These

means of detection and giving warning in case of fire;
the provision of means of escape;
means of fighting fire; and
the training of staff in fire safety.

The Fire Regulations also include a requirement to undertake an assessment

of the fire risks. (In this guide, the term 'fire risk' collectively

describes both the risk of fire occurring and the risk to people in the

event of fire.)

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and regulations made under it

cover the provision of process fire precautions which are intended to

prevent the outbreak of a fire or minimise the consequences should one

occur. Matters falling within the scope of the Act include the storage of

flammable materials, the control of flammable vapours, standards of

housekeeping, safe systems of work, the control of sources of ignition and

the provision of appropriate training.

These precautions are enforced by inspectors from the Health and Safety

Executive (HSE) or the local authority.

Between them, the Fire Regulations and the Management of Health and Safety

at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended) require you to:
carry out a fire risk assessment of your workplace (you must consider

all your employees and all other people who may be affected by a fire in

the workplace and you are required to make adequate provision for any

disabled people with special needs who use or may be present at your


identify the significant findings of the risk assessment and the

details of anyone who might be especially at risk in case of fire (these

must be recorded if you employ more than five people);

provide and maintain such fire precautions as are necessary to

safeguard those who use your workplace; and

provide information, instruction and training to your employees about

the fire precautions in your workplace.

The risk assessment will help you decide the nature and extent of the

general and process fire precautions which you need to provide.

There are six other legal duties you need to know:

Where it is necessary to safeguard the safety of your employees, you

must nominate people to undertake any special roles which are required

under your emergency plan (you can nominate yourself for this purpose).

You must consult your employees (or their elected representatives or

appointed trade union safety representatives) about the nomination of

people to carry out particular roles in connection with fire safety and

about proposals for improving the fire precautions.

You must inform other employers who also have workplaces in the

building of any significant risks you found which might affect the safety

of their employees - and co-operate with them about the measures proposed

to reduce/control those risks.

If you are not an employer but have any control of premises which

contain more than one workplace, you are also responsible for ensuring that

the requirements of the Fire Regulations are complied with in those parts

you have control over.

You must establish a suitable means of contacting the emergency

services, and ensure that they can be called easily.

The law requires your employees to co-operate with you to ensure the

workplace is safe from fire and its effects, and not to do anything which

will place themselves or other people at risk.

In some workplaces you may need to apply for a fire certificate, a licence,

or other form of approval before using the workplace.

Reference: Fire Safety: an employers guide, ISBN 0113412290, priced at


However, as an information service we are only able to provide information

that is published in HSE regulations or associated guidance.

For advice/ interpretation on the above subject you will need to speak to

your enforcing authority for health and safety.

The enforcing office which covers your workplace is dependent on the nature

of the activities carried out at that workplace.

The Environmental Health Department of the Local Authority enforce over

premises such as retailing, some warehouses, most offices, hotels and

catering, sports, leisure, consumer services and places of worship.

The telephone number for the Environmental Health Department of the Local

Authority should be available from your local telephone directory.

Alternatively, the details of all local authorities can found via the A-Z

of local authorities facility of the following website:

All HSE documents are available from HSE Books. The contact details are as


HSE Books

PO Box 1999,


Suffolk, CO10 2WA.

Tel: 01787 881165

Fax: 01787 313995


There are three methods of payment currently available from HSE Books:

1. Via the post, bank cheques/ postal orders made payable to HSE Books

2. Via the telephone, American Express, Master Card or Visa

3. Existing approved credit account customers may use the Banks Automated

Clearing System

(BACS).However, new accounts are not being set up.

Alternatively the fire document can be viewed and downloaded free of charge

from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website:

Further information on this subject can be obtained from the Fire Policy

Division of the Office of the Deputy Prime

Minister :

Fire Policy Division

Horseferry House

Dean Ryle Street



Tel: 020 7944 8104

Alternatively you could speak to your local fire authority. Their contact

details can be located in your regional directory

or from the following URL address:

Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

EeraBRONZE Member
old hand
1,107 posts
Location: In a test pit, Mackay, Australia

Does this mean that if you're not doing it professionally you can be as dumb as you like and no-one officially cares?

Man, imagine having to read that stuff for a living. Solicitors have my admiration.

Thanks for taking time out to ask, anyhoo.

There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

DurbsBRONZE Member
Classically British
5,688 posts
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England

If you're not doing it professionally, it's a completely different kettle of fish and subject to a lot more complex stuff (liability being the main one) - it means that Health & Safety won't have anything to do with it, but the law might smile (Endagering others for example)

Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

Mint SauceBRONZE Member
1,453 posts
Location: Lancs England

aggggg help!!! cant i just go round spinning with my lets burn everything atituide DAM will have to start being considerate to the children now

any info on amture spinning would be most helpfull (pleed beg beg sniffel) help sunny

before i met those lot i thought they'd be a bunch of dreadlocked hippies that smoked, set things on fire ,and drank a lot of tea but then when i met them....oh wait (PyroWill)

caz86Twister Fire Starter ridin on a tratter
156 posts
Location: Bristol/Exeter UK

Yeh I think if your not a professional then you can only get in trouble undercivil law. So if you failed to show enough precaution for others safety and someone got hurt, or someone's property got damaged then you would have to pay enough money for that "person's life to be returned to the state it was before the accident"....or something like that. So be careful! Or get insurance!

When does spinning for fun become a profession tho?! Do firespinners have a union?! And why is insurance sooooo expensive!?

Caz x


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