Who is responsible for fire safety in the workplace?

According to the government, the most responsible party for fire safety in the workplace is the employer and owner of the building. If multiple persons meet this criteria, then they must work together to meet their responsibilities. Nobody wants to think about a fire breaking out in their workplace, but it is essential that you’re prepared. There are a variety of measures that can be taken to prevent a fire from breaking out. This includes a Risk Assessment, as well as techniques to negate the damage and destruction to all employees and facilities. Fire Safety rules do differ in Scotland and Northern Ireland; this blog relates to the regulatory conditions in England.

Do employees play a part?

The employer must ensure that all employees are aware of the fire evacuation procedures, as well as know how and when to use them. All employees must make sure that they are aware of what to do when an emergency occurs.

Although fire safety can be seen as boring and tedious by many, it can be a lifeline if the unthinkable happens. As a result, employees must ensure that their knowledge of the fire safety procedures in their workplace is complete and there are no areas of confusion. This can lead to the immediate and safe evacuation of all employees if a fire does start to burn.

Sign showing where the nearest exit is, in case of a fire

There are 5 main components of fire safety in the workplace:


Fire Alarms and Risk Assessments

A fire risk assessment measures the likelihood of a fire breaking out in the workplace; it identifies all of the potential risks and hazards that could lead to a fire starting and what could lead to continued burning.

Moreover, a risk assessment should be reviewed every 12 months, in addition to a new assessment being carried out by a competent individual or  professional every 3-4 years. All findings should be recorded and documented, irrelevant of the number of employees.

A fire risk assessment will highlight any inconsistencies or areas of concern that could and should be eradicated. The responsible person should certify that all fire alarms are installed throughout the workplace. All alarms should be marked with a European safety mark or a BSI kitemark.

Fire Doors, Drills and Extinguishers

Furthermore, all fire doors should be accessible without any obstruction at all times. They must be inspected by a professional at least every 6 months to ensure that they are fit for purpose.

The responsible person should schedule regular drills for all occupants of the workplace. This guarantees that all occupants are clear on the procedure. Another benefit of the drills is that they identify any risks or hazards that may hinder evacuation. These obstacles can then be removed safely to make sure that escape is not inhibited.

It is a statutory requirement for fire extinguishers to be serviced every 12 months. This is to make sure that there is no damage or complications with the extinguishers, so that they are effective and safe to use. It is imperative that the service is completed by a qualified individual so that it is done competently and abides by all legal requirements.

So who is accountable for fire safety in the workplace?

Overall, fire safety in the workplace is a shared responsibility that requires collaboration and coordination between all workers in the building as well as those who have an interest in the safety of the business. This includes employees, employers, building owners, management, fire service authorities, and health and safety officers. Fire safety responsibilities span throughout the hierarchy of a business, but it is up to the employer and building owner.