For all businesses that employ more than five people, it is a legal requirement to appoint a ‘Responsible individual.’ These individuals have a legal responsibility to ensure their company and its employees meet fire safety legislation. In order to be fully equipped to carry out this role, these individuals should receive dedicated and ongoing fire safety training.
This legislation, known at the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (RRO) places a duty on the responsible individual (usually the employer) to carry out a fire risk assessment within their business premises. This legislation also requires the implementation of appropriate fire precaution and protection measures. This will include a detailed plan to ensure all occupants of the building can be alerted and evacuated safely.
Depending on the size of your business and how many locations you operate from, this may require the appointment of a team of Responsible Individuals. However the ultimate responsibility still rests with company directors and managers as it is their duty of care to ensure each member of the team is fully trained and capable of carrying out his/her role in accordance with the RRO.
In practice, this will probably mean working with experts such as fully qualified fire risk assessors, fire safety training organisations and BAFE approved fire alarm system maintenance providers like Tecserv UK. Accessing this expertise will help to ensure all your equipment is maintained in accordance with fire regulations and that staff have received regular training.
Ensuring that your responsible individuals are fully trained ensures compliance, but more importantly will help to ensure your people, processes and property are protected. It also means you will be able to produce documented evidence that training on fire safety for all staff has taken place on a regular basis.
It is also important that training is supported by the regular practicing of fire management plans to ensure everyone knows how to act safely, reducing the risk of injury or loss of life should an incident occur.
Neglecting to provide all staff with adequate fire safety training can have serious repercussions, particularly if they do not know how to act in the event of a fire.
As you can see, the role of the responsible individual is not one to be taken lightly. There are serious consequences of getting it wrong and being found to have failed in your duty could mean a hefty fine or even a prison sentence.
As well as the legal consequences of inadequate fire safety training, poor fire alarm maintenance can also lead to system failures and unwanted fire alarm activations that will affect production and sales as well as damage your reputation.
A fully trained fire safety individual will help you ensure your fire safety processes and equipment are compliant, working effectively and protecting your business from fire and unwanted interruptions.