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The Responsible Person in the Workplace

The Responsible Person in the Workplace

The responsible person is someone who has overall responsibility for fire safety, in particular including the duty of carrying out or arranging a suitable fire risk assessment of their premises. The fire risk assessment must be conducted by a competent person.

They must also implement and maintain appropriate and adequate fire safety measures to minimise the risk to life from fire. If you are the responsible person you must make sure that fire risks are removed, reduced or managed to an acceptable level to reasonably protect lives.

As the Responsible Person you must also ensure that everyone who may be in, or in the vicinity of, your premises can escape if there is a fire. As part of the risk assessment you need to think about all the people who might be on your premises, including employees, visitors or members of the public. You need to pay particular attention to those who may need special help, such as elderly or disabled people or children.

The main enforcers of fire safety legislation are your local Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) who must be satisfied with your safety measures. If they are not satisfied, they will offer you advice on what you need to do. If the FRA finds major deficiencies they can serve an enforcement notice requiring you to improve the measures in place to ensure there is a sufficient level of compliance on the premises. In carrying out their enforcement duties you can expect FRAs, wherever possible, to take a supportive and proportionate approach by helping and encouraging you to understand and meet regulatory requirements.

As a Responsible Person the points listed below should be managed and considered in regards to legal requirements on Fire Safety.

Responsibilities of the Responsible Person

  • Carry out or ensure that a suitable fire risk assessment has been carried out by a competent person and identify possible hazards and risks
  • Take general fire precautions
  • Principles of fire prevention are to be applied at all times.
  • Fire safety arrangements, fire safety policy and procedures should be in place.
  • Take account of those particularly at risk, i.e. very young people; those with special needs or disabilities; and people working with dangerous substances such as flammable liquids
  • Regularly review all these processes and amend if necessary
  • Ensure capabilities of employees who are given special tasks in terms of fire safety and fi re procedures, and provide training to all employees and others who may need it in taking into account the roles of each person in regards to fire safety (example fire marshals, fire wardens etc)
  • Maintenance of all fire safety systems and equipment
  • An effective fire emergency plan to be followed in the event of a fire
  • Take measures for fire fighting e.g. provision of fire extinguishers
  • Provide adequate means of escape in the case of a fire such as sufficient and suitable fire exits; fire doors and compartments; signs, notices and emergency lighting
  • Additional emergency measures in respect of dangerous substances
  • Eliminate or reduce risk from dangerous substances (chemicals etc.)
  • Provide suitable arrangements to warn people of a fire in the building such as, a Fire Detection and Alarm (FD&A) system