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Fire safety law in work and public places

Enforcement, penalties and appeals

Local fire and rescue authorities visit premises to check the fire risk assessment and fire prevention measures are appropriate. Fire safety officers should help you to understand and follow the rules.

If they think your fire safety measures are not adequate or appropriate, they may offer advice on what you can do to make things right. Depending on what is wrong, they can issue an informal notice suggesting safety measures, of one of the following formal notices:

  • an alterations notice if your premises have high safety risks or will have high safety risks if the use of the premises changes
  • an enforcement notice if there’s a serious risk that’s not being managed – it will say what improvements are needed by when
  • a prohibition notice if the fire risk is so great that access to your premises, or part of it, needs to be stopped or restricted"


You may be able to ask your fire and rescue service to review their decision if you disagree with the notice.

You can appeal to your local magistrates’ court within 21 days of receiving a formal notice.

In certain circumstances, you and the fire and rescue authority can ask for a ‘determination’ from the Communities Secretary to resolve a dispute.


Minor penalties can be up to £5,000. Major penalties can have unlimited fines and up to 2 years in prison.