What is a “Responsible Person”?
The Responsible Person is ultimately the person who has legal responsibility for the fire safety in the building. It is highly important that all companies have an appointed Responsible Person, as they are in charge of overseeing the safety of everyone in the business. If they are not ensuring that their company is taking sufficient action for fire safety, they can be fined or sent to prison for not meeting regulations. It is common for there to be more than one Responsible Person for a building. For example, if you work in an office block where there are different businesses on each floor, there should be a Responsible Person for each separate business. In this case, the Responsible Person from each company will need to communicate about fire safety concerning the whole building.
How can you find out who the Responsible Person is for your premises?
The Responsible Person is usually the person who is in control of a building or business. For example, in a workplace it could be the owner of the company. In a property, it could be the landlord or the managing agent. If you are unsure who the Responsible Person is, you should contact the owner or manager of the business/property. If you are the owner of the business or building, then it is likely that you are the Responsible Person.
What are the duties of the Responsible Person?
- Carrying out and reviewing risk assessments on a regular basis and recording all findings.
- Ensuring that any risks that have been identified and resolved have been shared with other members of staff or occupiers.
- Communicating with other Responsible Persons for the building.
- Preparing a plan to follow in the case of emergency.
- Putting in place fire safety measures and precautions and ensure these are maintained.
- Providing fire safety information and instructions to other people in the building.
- If in a workplace, ensuring fire safety training is carried out by staff on a regular basis.
If the Responsible Person is unsure about any aspects of their role they can hire a fire safety expert, who can offer advice and carry out risk assessments.
What is the difference between a Responsible Person and a Fire Warden?
The Responsible Person has a legal responsibility to oversee fire safety for the whole business. However, some of these duties can be delegated on to the Fire Wardens. Fire Wardens assist the Responsible Person in emergency procedure planning and fire prevention. Not only this, the Fire Warden will also be in charge of helping people evacuate during a fire drill. For more in depth information about the role of a Fire Warden, click here.