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Fire safety in the workplace: What you need to know


According to UK law, a designated ‘responsible person’ or party must be assigned in any non-domestic premises. This includes workplaces and commercial premises, premises that have public access and communal areas of shared buildings. Essentially, any shared space. This is known as the Fire Safety Order.

When it comes to fire safety in the workplace, the responsibility can lie with a variety of people. Landlords, occupiers, owners all have a stake in fire safety, and often the responsibility lies directly at the feet of the employer. For any workplace to be deemed ‘fire safe’, it has to adhere to certain requirements such as emergency planning, staff training and quality alarm systems, as well as having regular risk assessments carried out. A lot of workplaces will be shared premises or at the very least rented from an owner or landlord, so it’s important to understand right from the outset where the responsibility will lie.

What are the key responsibilities of the designated responsible person?

The designated responsible person in any business must put in place, maintain and action fire safety measures. This includes any emergency planning, regular drills, and communication with staff on fire safety in the form of training. The designated person must also carry out regular fire risk assessments on the premises and review it on a regular basis. Whenever there’s an audit, evidence of these assessments (and the action taken as a direct result) will need to be shown to avoid penalty fines and warnings. Local fire and rescue authorities have the freedom to carry out a fire inspection on short notice, and if you don’t follow regulation correctly your business or premises could receive a fire safety notice leading to a fine or even prison time.


Carrying out a fire safety risk assessment

A designated ‘responsible person’ needs to carry out regular fire risk assessments which can seem daunting at first. However, there are plenty of guides and Government packs out there to help you know what to look for. Most fire risk assessments boil down to 5 key areas. Fire Hazards need to be identified. These could be anything from obvious sources of ignition (hot areas like kitchens, naked flames etc.). People at risk then need to be identified, which may include staff, guests, residents etc. These findings then need to be evaluated and acted upon. Any actions you can think of that may reduce the chances of a fire breaking out should be taken. The next steps are simply to keep accurate records of planning and training and remember to review regularly. We’ve put together our own 5 Step Fire Risk Assessment Guide, you can access it here.

What Next?

For more information, why not use our handy 5-point checklist to ensure that your workplace is fire safe? And then take a look at our fire security service information to see how we can secure your business. Spire are experts when it comes to fire alarm installation. We pride ourselves on providing a fire safety solution that’s right for you, by balancing the individual requirements of your business with typical insurer criteria and standards. All parts and services come with a 3 year guarantee.


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