Business Fire Safety - The Regulatory Reform (Fire SAfety) Order 2005 and The Responsible Person

Just like health and safety risk assessments are carried out, fire safety risk assessments should be too!

Changes in the law since The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was introduced mean that it is each individual company who are responsible for fire safety and must designate a ‘responsible person’ in order to ensure that adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.

According to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, Part 2 – Article 8 the responsible person must:

(a) take such general fire precautions as will ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of any of his employees; and

(b) in relation to relevant persons who are not his employees, take such general fire precautions as may reasonably be required in the circumstances of the case to ensure that the premises are safe.

Who is the ‘responsible person’?

  • the employer with control of the workplace or,
  • the person with overall responsibility for a building or,
  • the occupier of the premises or,
  • owners of premises such as empty buildings

The fire risk assessment should consider what the risks are and who is at risk in order to identify any precautions that need to be put into place. A professional fire risk assessor doesn’t have to be used but anyone who carries one out must be confident that they can do so correctly. To help with this guides and advise are available online including this template from the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and the government’s guidelines on Fire Risk Assessments.

Relevant, competent and experienced companies should be contracted to do any work if necessary, but it is advised that proof be obtained of their competency that can be produced at an inspection if the need should ever arise.

“Third-party certification schemes for fire protection products and related services are an effective means of providing the fullest possible assurances, offering a level of quality, reliability and safety that non-certificated products may lack.”


The penalty for not having an appropriate Fire Risk Assessment and suitable fire safety precautions can be prosecution, with severe fines and, if extreme negligence is proven, prison terms.

A few fire safety tips

  • Keep sources of ignition and flammable substances apart
  • Avoid accidental fires, eg make sure heaters cannot be knocked over
  • Ensure good housekeeping at all times, eg avoid build-up of rubbish that could burn
  • Consider how to detect fires and how to warn people quickly if they start, eg installing smoke alarms and fire alarms or bells
  • Consider how much stock and packaging material you keep, could less be stored to minimise the risk
  • Have the correct fire-fighting equipment for putting a fire out quickly, eg ensure the correct fire extinguishers are in place
  • Keep fire exits and escape routes clearly marked and unobstructed at all times
  • Ensure employees receive appropriate training on procedures they need to follow, including fire drills

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