The Role of the Responsible Individual

December 02nd, 2016

If you are reading this article, it’s highly likely that you’ve just been asked to take on the role of the “Responsible Individual’ for your company and are wondering what the role actually involves!

Alternatively, you are already doing the role and are beginning to fully understand the implications and would like to ensure you carry it out professionally!

As you are probably beginning to realise, the role of the Responsible Individual is not one to be taken lightly. Getting it wrong could mean you being found individually accountable and facing a hefty fine or maybe even a prison sentence.

In a nutshell, the role of the Responsible Individual is to ensure the company for which it has been appointed complies with Fire safety regulations as laid out in a document known as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

This means that it is your role to take general fire precautions that will ensure as much as is reasonably practicable, the safety of employees, and that the premises are safe from fire.

In practice, this means working with experts like a fire risk assessor, the fire brigade and fire safety equipment providers such as Tecserv to ensure fire alarms and any fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers are maintained in accordance with the fire alarm regulations. You must also ensure and evidence that training on fire safety is provided to all staff on a regular basis and that fire evacuation procedures are documented and practiced.

Fire alarm regulation

Adhering to fire alarm regulation involves:

  • Providing all staff with training and information on fire safety instructions.
  • Providing information on emergency procedures.
  • Having a written risk assessment document which is accessible and regularly reviewed.
  • Informing staff and their representatives about identified risks.
  • Implementing and maintaining the appropriate fire alarm regulations.

For a small business, there is usually a requirement that the business owner is the individual responsible for carrying out these requirements. However, in larger businesses that have many employees or multiple sites, this may not be one individual because fire alarm regulation requirements are coordinated and implemented by several persons or teams, who collectively ensure that all persons’ present are safe.

 Setting down The Regulations

Fire safety regulations are encapsulated in the document known as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which replaces the previous 2001 equivalent. For the majority of commercial premises, the 2005 framework replaces all previous legislation with one set of rules. In short, it requires that appropriate individuals must take all possible steps to reduce the risk from fire and ensure that all persons can evacuate should it become necessary.