Are you the Responsible Person for Fire Safety?Category: Health & Safety | Bryan Richards | Published on: Sep 23, 2016 | Updated: Dec 12, 2016 Read more: Health & Safety
A recent SHP Online article highlighted the legal duties of the Responsible Person under the Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) Order 2005 (Fire Order). In Arinite’s experience, the term Responsible Person is often not understood by employers, landlords and occupiers of work premises.
Who is the Responsible Person?
If you own or lease work premises, or you work or run a business in a premises, you could be the responsible person, Examples of who may be the responsible person include:
- The employer for those parts of the premises staff may go to.
- The managing agent or owner for shared parts of premises.
- The occupier, such as self-employed people or voluntary organisations if they have any control.
- Any other person who has some sort of control over the premises.
What are your legal duties as the Responsible Person for Fire Safety?
The Fire Order places a legal duty on the Responsible person to take general fire precautions as outlined below. The following measures must be taken:
- Reducing the risk of fire and the risk of spread of fire: This includes following the principles of fire prevention, such as the safe storage of flammable materials and good housekeeping. Fire resistant structures and the use and maintenance of effective fire doors help to prevent the spread of fire.
- The provision of means of escape: Ensuring that there are enough fire exits proportionate to the fire risk and that fire exit routes are suitable, protected and lead to a place of safety.
- Ensuring that the means of escape is always safe to use: Fire exit routes must be maintained at all times so that in the event of a fire emergency occupants can safely escape the premises. Fire exit routes must never be obstructed.
- Providing means of fighting fires on the premises: Appropriate fire extinguishers should be provided and maintained at suitable locations in the premises. Fixed fire suppression systems may also be installed depending on the fire risk.
- Providing Means of detecting fire and giving warning of a fire: Appropriate fire detection and warning systems should be in place. This may range from a manual system to a fully zoned automatic alarm system.
- Establishing clear actions to be taken in the event of a fire: Employees must be given appropriate information and instruction, including how to evacuate the premises safely. Where there are several occupants, the appointment and use of fire marshals may be appropriate.
Fire Risk Assessment
The Fire Order also requires that the Responsible Person carries out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed in order to identify the general fire precautions required. Figure one shows the risk assessment process.
The responsible person must also appoint one or more competent persons to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures. A person is regarded as competent for the purposes of the Fire Order where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures.
Where there is a competent person in the responsible person’s employment, that person must be appointed in preference to a competent person not in his employment.
How Arinite can help
Arinite can assist responsible persons in carrying out fire risk assessments and/or providing fire safety training for employees.
An Arinite factsheet on the duties of the Responsible Person is available to download free here.
Arinite clients appreciate we provide practical, no-nonsense advice about what you need to do to establish and maintain a safe and healthy working environment. My team of health and safety consultants take pride in keeping health and safety simple.
If you need to call upon our expert assistance, or just for an informal chat, please call me on: mobile 0780 361 2948, office 0207 947 9581, or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bryan Richards 22nd September 2016
Arinite Ltd, Warnford Court, 29 Throgmorton Street, London EC2N 2AT