The legalities of fire safety are mainly covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), and subsequent amendments. Fire safety is also covered by the Building Regulations and numerous codes of practice and guides. As a person who may be responsible for their workplace or building, it is essential that you are up to date with the principles as set out in the RRFSO and that you maintain the effectiveness of any fire fighting equipment, fire detection and alarm systems.
What are the duties of the Responsible Person
What is a Responsible Person?
Under the RRFSO the Responsible Person is deemed to be the person having control of the building, or a degree of control, and they are required to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and make sure people can safely escape in the event of a fire. This also includes all people that may visit the premises.
The general principles as laid out in the RRFSO, include the following measures:
To reduce the risk of fire on the premises and the risk of the spread of fire on the premises.
In relation to the means of escape from the premises.
For securing that, at all material times, the means of escape can be safely and effectively used.
In relation to the means of fighting fires on the premises.
In relation to the means for detecting fire on the premises and giving warning in case of fire on the premises.
In relation to the arrangements for action to be taken in the event of fire on the premises, including measures:
in relation to the instruction and training of employees; and
measures to mitigate the effects of the fire.
Fire safety system maintenance
With regard to maintaining fire safety systems, there is a general requirement to maintain fire safety systems to an efficient state, effective working order and good repair. There are several clauses that require the Responsible Person to maintain the effectiveness of any:
Fire fighting equipment
Fire detection systems
Fire suppression systems
The Responsible Person must also maintain the effectiveness of systems in place to aid the means of escape, which include:
In addition to the general principles as detailed above, the RRFSO also has more specific duties around dangerous substances such as flammable, explosives, oxidising substances etc.
Find out more about Fire Safety and your responsibilities
In our most recent eBook - A Guide to Life Safety Systems we cover the following with regard to Fire Safety:
Codes of practice
What a fire risk assessment includes
Fire safety systems, maintenance programme