In 2005 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order was introduced in England and Wales as part of government legislation, Peter Adams, Support Services Manager at Mackwell explains what it means to us.
Peter Adams himself
The order dictates that, to ensure the safety of occupants, tenants or workers within commercial premises, a responsible person or persons is to be appointed to carry out initial and on-going regular risk assessments. Requirements set out in the order include measures for the provision of safe means of escape. The order also states that for premises including emergency routes and exits, that these should be correctly signed. If the routes and exits are determined as requiring illumination, they must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity. This will ensure safety of all occupants in the case of failure of their normal lighting supply. Other countries including Scotland, Ireland as well as countries across Europe have their own legislation as do various Countries across Europe and the rest of the world.
Together with fire alarms, smoke alarms and sprinkler systems etc., emergency lighting is a legal requirement once the risk assessment deems that the provision of it is necessary. Failure to provide it may eventually result in prosecution including fines and even custodial sentences. For this reason it is not difficult to appreciate how the design, implementation and on-going compliance of an emergency lighting scheme may be considered an unenviable task resulting in a heavy burden for the appointed ‘responsible’ or ‘competent’ person or persons as described in the RRO (Regulatory Reform Order).
Fortunately there are numerous legislative bodies whose role amongst other things is to provide advice, guidance and safety recommendations on the design and provision of reliable and compliant emergency lighting.
These recommendations are detailed in documents such as British Standards (BS) or European Norms (EN or NORME EUROPÉENNE). Indeed many of these standards are harmonised across Europe and include essential material to ensure conformance to legislation.
The catalogue of standards or harmonised standards which may impact emergency lighting are too numerous to detail in this article but the list below provides more than a good starting point for designers, specifiers, consultants, electrical contractors and installers alike:
BS 5266-1:2016 – Emergency Lighting code of practice (UK only)
Part of BS 5266, this element provides guidance on areas that should be be considered in the design, installation and wiring of emergency lighting systems, in order to ensure the safety of people in commercial and non-residential premises in the event of a failure of the normal lighting supply. BS 5266 should be referred to in conjunction with the following standards:
BS EN 50172 (BS 5266-8) – Emergency Escape Lighting Systems
This standard specifies the provision of illumination of escape routes in the event of failure of the normal supply. It also specifies the minimum provision of emergency lighting based on the application of the premises.
BS EN 1838:2013 – Lighting Applications, Emergency Lighting
This European standard specifies the minimum lux levels for emergency escape and standby lighting systems installed in premises where they are required. It applies mainly to locations which can be accessed by members of the public and occupants such as workers or students.
BS 5499-4:2013 – Safety signs: Code of practice for escape route signing
This British standard gives guidance and recommendations on the provision of signage for escape routes as part of an Emergency Lighting design.
BS EN 60598-1:2015 – Luminaires, general requirements and tests
This standard details and specifies the tests and checks required to ensure the safety, correct functionality and performance of luminaires which include electrical light sources. It covers classification, electrical and mechanical construction, correct marking and photobiological parameters to name just a few.
BS EN 60598-2-22:2014 – Luminaires for Emergency Lighting, general requirements and tests
This standard mirrors the above but for Emergency Luminaires in particular. Some of the tests and checks in this standard are more stringent than those in part 1 due to the safety critical nature of emergency lighting.
BS EN 61347-2-7 – Particular requirements for battery supplied electronic control gear for self-contained emergency lighting
This standard lays out the safety requirements for battery supplied control gears for emergency lighting.
BS EN 62034 – Automatic test systems for battery powered emergency escape lighting
This standard specifies the performance and safety requirements of components included in automatic test systems for use with emergency lighting systems.
Safety is Critical
Emergency Lighting is safety critical resource which is a requirement within commercial and other non-residential premises which include access for members of the public, workforces, students and people who are elderly and may be infirm.
When designing and implementing an emergency lighting scheme, there are many factors which must be considered but the fundamental overriding objective is to ensure the on-going safety of the persons detailed above. The acknowledgement and use of the various standards listed above as an aid will help to guarantee compliance.
It is important to note however that like most systems which are reliant on electrical power, quality and longevity of components and shelf life of consumable items on-going compliance can only be guaranteed by effective testing, maintenance and replacement.
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