Meeting your legal obligations
It is now no longer the Fire and Rescue Service's duty to make sure that business premises are safe. Accountability now lies squarely and firmly with 'the responsible person' in all premises other than a single private dwelling.
What do you need to do?
In England and Wales, if you are an employer, owner, landlord or occupier of a business or non-domestic premises, you are responsible for fire safety and therefore known as the 'responsible person'. As the responsible person, there are certain things you must do by law under the Fire Safety Order, which is enforced by your local fire and rescue authority.
For further information on the responsibilities of the responsible person, see the 'fire safety and risk assessment' section on the Business Link website.
Make sure your staff know what do in the event of a fire
Make sure they are familiar with the evacuation drill and escape routes for the building.
- Test your fire alarm weekly
- Test your emergency lighting monthly
Carry out a fire risk assessment
Make sure you carry out a continuous fire risk assessment of your building ensuring the following points are followed:
- Never obstruct sprinkler heads and fire detectors
- Unsafe storage of waste packaging and pallets is a fire risk
- Never leave waste containers close to buildings
- Remove all sources of ignition wherever possible
- Ensure that flammable liquids are stored safely
- Make sure that machinery and equipment is maintained
Download the documents below for assistance with completing your risk assessment:
- Blank Fire Risk Assessment Proforma (Word format 135KB)
- Fire Risk Assessment (worked example for office premises) (PDF format 463KB)
- Fire Risk Assessment (worked example for House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)) (PDF format 462KB)
If you feel, having read the guidance, that you:
- do not have an appropriate knowledge or understanding of fire safety and the risk to people from fire to comply effectively with the legislative requirements, or;
- are unable to invest sufficient time and resources to do justice to this important task,
you will need to appoint a specialist to carry out the risk assessment for you. Such a specialist must identify the fire safety measures that need to be in place. You should maintain close involvement in the process.
The Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council have produced a document (a Guide to Choosing a Competent Fire Risk Assessor) for information on how to select an appropriate person or organisation to carry out the risk assessment on your behalf.
The guide and other helpful documents are available via the link below:
- Fire Industry Association - Risk Assessors
Fire Protection Officers
Our Fire Protection Officers (FPO) will audit the fire risk assessments and any relevant documentation relating to any premises.
At the end of the audit the 'responsible person' will be informed of their compliance level. The FPO will discuss any matters of concern with the 'responsible person'.
Setting up a new business?
For useful general information on meeting your obligations when going into business follow the links below:
- Northamptonshire Growth Hub
- Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership