Who manages a business's fire safety?

The safety of everyone within a business is absolutely crucial for the working environment and having a specific person to manage the fire safety is key. A business’s fire safety is managed by a person who the government identifies as the “responsible person”.

The responsible person is identified in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 as:

“Responsible person” means –

  1. In relation to a workplace, the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his/her control;
  2. In relation to any premises not falling within paragraph (a)
    1. The person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or
    2. the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking

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What does this mean?

For the most part businesses and premises fall into section a) which states that the responsible person is an employer who has control of the premises. In exceptional circumstances where an employer may not be in control of the premises, or its not deemed as a “workplace” it falls to the person in control of the premises or ultimately the owner of the premises.

In most organisations, there will be more than one person legally classed as the “responsible person” and they must work together to meet the requirements. This usually ends with a single person managing the entirety of the business’s fire safety on behalf of each responsible person.

What are the responsible person’s duties?

The responsible person has a number of obligations that they must meet to be compliant with the law and ensure the business and occupants are safe.

One of the most important responsibilities is to carry out a fire risk assessment and regularly review it. A fire risk assessment is an in-depth look at the fire hazards, risks and potential for harm within a business. It should, identify the risk of fire and the people at risk. It should evaluate, reduce or remove said risk and record findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training. It should also be regularly reviewed to ensure constant compliance. Click here to read our blog “What is a fire risk assessment?”.

Following on from a fire risk assessment, the responsible person must inform all staff (or their representatives) about the risks that have been identified in the fire risk assessment. Employees have a right to know the risks and hazards to their health.

You have a responsibility to put in place and maintain appropriate fire safety measures. Appropriate fire safety measures should be outlined in your fire risk assessment and will encompass aspects such as fire alarms, fire doors, fire extinguishers, sprinklers and evacuation equipment, depending on the findings of your risk assessment.

Naturally, a part of your requirement is to plan for an emergency. This includes establishing a safe assembly point, evacuation routes and protocols so that, in the event of an emergency, all staff and visitors are evacuated safely and efficiently.

Finally, you have a responsibility to provide staff information, fire safety instruction and training. Staff need to be fully trained in what to do during an emergency, including what their responsibilities are and evacuation procedures. They should also be trained in how to use appropriate firefighting equipment if your fire safety policy includes this.

Protecting a business from fire and ensuring that it’s legally compliant is a difficult task for a business already focussed on other things. Why not get in touch with a business that’s focussed on ensuring your compliance. At Red Box Fire Control we help thousands of businesses ensure safety and compliance. Get in touch today.

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