Office for Nuclear Regulation

Barrow – Inspection ID: 51425

Date(s) of inspection:

  • November 2022

Aim of inspection

The purpose of this intervention was to undertake a compliance inspection against any duty imposed by the Fire Safety Order 2005, (Articles 8 to 22) or by regulations made under article 24, to ensure that the licensee is compliant in respect of the premises, and for ONR to gain assurance that the Licensee’s arrangements associated with all applicable articles are suitable and adequate, and that the licensee is working to those arrangements.

The intervention is part of the current ONR Strategy for regulating BAE Systems at Barrow and follows earlier inspections at the site in 2021.

Subject(s) of inspection

  • Construction Fire Safety – Not rated
  • Fire (Life Safety) Compliance Inspection – Rating: Green
  • Fire Risk Assessments – Rating – Green
  • Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Rating – Green

Key findings, inspector’s opinions and reasons for judgement made

The fire risk assessments provided in advance of the inspections were found to be comprehensive and informative, and subsequent walkdowns of the facilities identified marked improvements in housekeeping and control of combustibles in designated laydown areas within D34.

The walkdown of D59 focussed upon the mitigation arrangements for the current reliability issues being experienced with the installed emergency lighting system, and found these to be suitable and adequate, with staff appropriately trained.

All fire doors in DDH have been replaced, however faults were evident with a large proportion of doors.  BAESML provided evidence that required inspection and maintenance is being undertaken.  A new regulatory issue has been raised to track progress in this area.

Many under gantry storage areas had been removed, and those that remained were limited to non-combustible item storage and fire loading assessments.  BAESML is working towards a 60-minute fire resistance standard for these storage areas.  Until achieved, enhanced control measures, including fire detection are in place.

The inspection team highlighted areas for BAESML to address, in the expectation that BAESML will take forward these areas for further improvement.


The overall assessment was that BAE Systems ensures that fire safety is taken seriously, and that a clear understanding of the requirements to ensure continued compliance at BAE Systems was adequately demonstrated. BAE Systems has identified and prioritised fire at an appropriate risk level within the facilities inspected. Throughout the inspection, all of those that I had contact with demonstrated an enthusiastic focus, support and attention to life fire safety requirements.

The inspection team were satisfied that overall the duty-holders arrangements in relation to the statutory requirements of the Fire Safety Order 2005 are suitable and adequate, and that the duty holder is working to those arrangements, and have therefore rated the intervention GREEN – No Formal Action.

This rating is in line with the established ONR guidance.

  • “Relevant good practice generally met, or minor shortfalls identified, when compared with appropriate benchmarks.”
  • “No significant shortfalls identified in the delivery of safety, safeguards or security functions.”

Sufficient evidence has been gained to allow closure of RI#8523.

RI#11147 has been opened to track maintenance and inspection of fire doors in DDH.