Who Is Responsible For Completing A Fire Risk Assessment?

Do you know who's responsible for ensuring your building is safe from fire hazards?


If you’re a building manager, facility owner, or safety officer, understanding the ins and outs of fire risk assessments is crucial. Not only are these assessments a legal requirement, but they also play a vital role in protecting lives and property. This blog post will help you confidently grasp who needs to complete a fire risk assessment, what the legal requirements are, and how to ensure your premises are safe.

Understanding The Responsible Person

Defining the Role

In fire safety, the ‘Responsible Person’ is someone who has legal responsibility for a building. They’re the person who is ultimately responsible for ensuring that fire safety measures are in place and adhered to. They must also organise regular risk assessments and take necessary actions to reduce or eliminate potential fire hazards.

Who Can Be The Responsible Person?

In most cases, the Responsible Person is the building owner, leaseholder, employer, or someone else with control over the premises. In shared buildings, it can be a combination of individuals as long as they fulfil their duties collectively. For example, in an office building, both the building owner and individual business owners may have responsibilities.

Examples of Responsible Persons

The responsibility for completing a fire risk assessment can fall on various individuals or entities depending on who has control over the premises. Examples include:

  • Employers: They are accountable for ensuring the safety of their employees by conducting regular fire risk assessments within the workplace.
  • Building Owners: When owning a property, the owner is typically responsible for the fire safety of the entire building.
  • Landlords: Those renting out spaces must ensure that their properties comply with fire safety regulations.
  • Occupiers of Premises: Individuals or entities occupying the premises may bear responsibility if they have control over fire safety measures.
  • Facilities Managers and Building Managers: These professionals are often designated to manage fire safety on behalf of the building owner or occupiers.
  • Freeholders and Leaseholders: Depending on the property’s structure and agreements in place, both parties can share responsibilities.
  • Tenants: If they have a degree of control over the premises, tenants may also need to conduct or partake in fire risk assessments.
  • Self-employed Individuals: Responsible for fire safety within their own workplaces.
  • Residents Management Companies and Right to Manage Companies: These entities in residential settings hold responsibility for maintaining fire safety standards.
  • Anyone Else with Control of the Premises: Any other individuals or parties who have control over particular fire safety aspects in the building.

Responsibilities of The Responsible Person

The Responsible Person must ensure that all necessary fire safety measures are in place and maintained. This includes, but is not limited to:

Conducting regular fire risk assessments

  • Implementing appropriate fire safety measures
  • Providing staff training on fire safety procedures and evacuation plans
  • Maintaining emergency exits and routes
  • Ensuring firefighting equipment is regularly serviced and in good working condition

Using a fire risk assessment template can assist in systematically identifying fire hazards and ensuring all necessary precautions are documented and implemented. It’s important to note that the Responsible Person can delegate these tasks, but they still hold legal accountability for any failures or incidents.

identify potential fire hazards

Legal Requirements for Fire Risk Assessments

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Fire risk assessments are a legal obligation for all non-single private dwelling premises in the UK. Regular fire risk assessment reviews are essential to identify any changes in fire hazards, assess the effectiveness of fire safety systems, and ensure compliance with legal guidelines. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 mandates employers, owners, or occupiers to conduct and regularly review these assessments. This applies to business premises and blocks of flats, highlighting the universal importance of fire safety.

Enforcement by Fire and Rescue Authorities

The local Fire and Rescue Service Authority (FRA) is responsible for enforcing fire safety regulations. They ensure that fire risk assessments are up-to-date and that businesses are adhering to necessary safety measures.

Who Can Conduct a Fire Risk Assessment?

The law does not specify who can carry out a fire risk assessment, but the person responsible for the premises must ensure that the chosen assessor is competent and qualified. This means they have sufficient knowledge, training, and experience to accurately identify fire hazards and recommend appropriate safety measures.

A competent fire risk assessor should have the following:

  • Knowledge of relevant legislation and fire safety standards
  • Training on how to conduct a thorough assessment
  • Experience in conducting fire risk assessments in similar premises or industries

You can learn more about what makes a competent fire risk assessor by reading our blog post.

fire risk assessment

Using Professional Services

Larger or more intricate businesses should consider professional services for fire risk assessments. If the Responsible Person lacks the necessary knowledge, a specialist’s assistance ensures compliance with legal requirements and provides peace of mind.

While local fire and rescue authorities can offer advice, they cannot conduct fire risk assessments for businesses. Professional services fill this gap, providing detailed guidance tailored to specific business needs. Contact our team for more information on our fire risk assessment services.

Responsibilities of Employers and Business Owners

Employers and business owners must perform and regularly review fire risk assessments, maintaining a written record of the findings. This documentation is crucial for communicating results and ensuring the implementation of all necessary fire safety measures.

Owners are responsible for:

  • Preparing emergency plans.
  • Providing fire safety training to staff.
  • Considering vulnerable individuals during the assessment.

These measures protect lives and ensure business continuity.

Role of Employees in Fire Safety

Participating in Training: Employees must participate in fire safety training and know what to do in case of a fire. Businesses must provide suitable training and ensure that all staff are familiar with fire safety procedures.

Legal Obligations: Employees are legally obligated to follow fire safety procedures and avoid actions that could endanger others. Reporting potential fire hazards to the Responsible Person is crucial.

Specific Roles Like Fire Marshal: Some employees may have specific roles, such as Fire Marshal, involving additional duties like raising the alarm, notifying authorities, and assisting in evacuations.

potential risks

Key Steps in Conducting a Fire Risk Assessment

Identifying Potential Fire Hazards

The first step is identifying potential fire hazards. This includes looking for ignition sources, fuel, and oxygen. Consider dangerous substances that need safe storage or removal.

Evaluating Risks and Implementing Measures

Next, risks are evaluated, and measures are implemented to mitigate them. This includes ensuring robust fire detection and warning systems, maintaining fire safety equipment, and conducting regular fire drills.

Recording Findings and Regular Reviews

Documenting findings and conducting a fire risk assessment review regularly is vital to ensure ongoing compliance and safety. Keep a written record and review it regularly to ensure ongoing compliance and safety. Update the assessment if there are any changes to the building, processes, or personnel.

Involving Employees in the Process

Employees should be involved in the fire risk assessment process. They can provide valuable input on potential hazards and their locations, as well as help identify vulnerable individuals who may need additional assistance during an evacuation.

Recording Findings and Reviewing Regularly

Keeping a written track of the fire risk assessment is vital for productive fire safety management. This record should include all the significant findings, such as identified hazards, escape routes, and fire protection measures. Regularly reviewing and updating the assessment is crucial, especially when significant changes occur in the building or its use.

Updates to the fire risk assessment are necessary whenever major changes are made that could impact fire safety, such as structural alterations or changes in building occupancy. Conducting a fire risk assessment regularly ensures that fire safety systems are effectively controlling fire hazards and risks.

Get in Touch

The implications of neglecting to conduct a fire risk assessment can be grave. Businesses that do not comply with fire safety regulations can face unlimited fines and increased fire risks. In extreme cases of negligence, failure to conduct a fire risk assessment can lead to imprisonment for up to two years. These penalties underscore the importance of adhering to fire safety requirements.

In addition to legal repercussions, non-compliance can result in business closure. The financial and reputational damage from such an outcome can be devastating.

For more guidance or advice, get in touch with our team of fire safety experts. We help businesses all around the North West to conduct comprehensive fire risk assessments and implement effective fire safety measures. Contact us today to ensure the safety of your building, its occupants, and your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for conducting a fire risk assessment?

The responsible person, usually the landlord or employer, is responsible for ensuring a fire risk assessment is carried out, however, they may delegate the actual fire risk assessment to a competent person.

What are the legal requirements for fire risk assessments in the UK?

In the UK, fire risk assessments are legally required for all non-single private dwelling premises and must adhere to specific guidelines for documentation and regular review.

Can a business conduct its own fire risk assessment?

Yes, a business can conduct its own fire risk assessment, provided it has a “competent person” to carry out the task.

What should be included in a fire risk assessment record?

A fire risk assessment record should comprehensively document the findings and actions taken to ensure fire safety within a premises. A fire risk assessment template can be a useful tool to ensure all necessary elements are systematically documented. Key elements include:

Identification of Fire Hazards
Identify People at Risk
Evaluation and Mitigation of Risks
Emergency Plan
Training and Information
Review and Update
Documentation and Record Keeping

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