Who’s responsible, Goverment Guide Lines.
The following people are responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:
- an employer
- the owner
- the landlord
- an occupier
- anyone else with control of the premises, for example a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent or risk assessor
You’re known as the ‘responsible person’. If there’s more than one responsible person, you have to work together to meet your responsibilities.
The Fire Safety Order also applies if you have paying guests, for example if you run a bed and breakfast, guesthouse or let a self-catering property.
As the responsible person you must:
- carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly
- tell staff or their representatives about the risks you’ve identified
- put in place, and maintain, appropriate fire safety measures
- plan for an emergency
- provide staff information, fire safety instruction and training
You can read about how to make sure your premises are safe from fire.
Non-domestic premises are:
- all workplaces and commercial premises
- all premises the public have access to
- the common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings
In shared premises it’s likely there’ll be more than one responsible person. You’ll need to co-ordinate your fire safety plans to make sure people on or around the premises are safe.
For common or shared areas, the responsible person is the landlord, freeholder or managing agent.
Alterations, extensions and new buildings
When building new premises or doing building work on existing premises, you must comply with building regulations. This includes designing fire safety into the proposed building or extension.
Read the fire safety building regulations.
Penalties and enforcement
You could be fined or go to prison if you don’t follow fire safety regulations.
Fire risk assessments
As the responsible person you must carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment of the premises. This will identify what you need to do to prevent fire and keep people safe.
You must keep a written record of your fire risk assessment if your business has 5 or more people.
Carrying out the assessment
- Identify the fire hazards.
- Identify people at risk.
- Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks.
- Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training.
- Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly.
The fire safety risk assessment chart gives more detailed information about these steps.
You’ll need to consider:
- emergency routes and exits
- fire detection and warning systems
- fire fighting equipment
- the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
- an emergency fire evacuation plan
- the needs of vulnerable people, for example the elderly, young children or those with disabilities
- providing information to employees and other people on the premises
- staff fire safety training
Fire safety and evacuation plans
Your plan must show how you have:
- a clear passageway to all escape routes
- clearly marked escape routes that are as short and direct as possible
- enough exits and routes for all people to escape
- emergency doors that open easily
- emergency lighting where needed
- training for all employees to know and use the escape routes
- a safe meeting point for staff
People with mobility needs
You should also make special arrangements for people with mobility needs, for example make sure there are people to help wheelchair users get downstairs if there’s a fire.
Fire safety equipment, drills and training
Fire detection and warning systems
You must have a fire detection and warning system. You may need different types of detectors, depending on the type of building and the work carried out in it.
Fire fighting equipment
The types of equipment you need depend on your business premises. You’ll need to have any equipment properly installed, tested and maintained and train your staff to use them if necessary.
Maintenance and testing
You must carry out regular checks to make sure that:
- all fire alarm systems are working
- the emergency lighting is working
- you record any faults in systems and equipment
- all escape routes are clear and the floor is in good condition
- all fire escapes can be opened easily
- automatic fire doors close correctly
- fire exit signs are in the right place
Fire drills and training
You need to train new staff when they start work and tell all employees about any new fire risks.
You should carry out at least one fire drill per year and record the results. You must keep the results as part of your fire safety and evacuation plan.