Who Is Responsible?

‘Who is responsible?’ – a frequently asked question when it comes to assessing the safety and security of a building.
The answer isn’t always clear.

Across the West Midlands, we’re continuing to build increasingly taller buildings which are to be occupied by multiple business owners, facilities managers or health and safety managers. This makes the question of responsibility all the more important to effectively ensure safety of every occupant.

According to GOV UK, you’re responsible for fire safety within a building if you’re an employer, owner, landlord, occupier or anyone else with control over the building

e.g. a facilities manager, building manager or risk assessor.

If you fall into the above categories, you may be termed the ‘responsible person’. If there are multiple people within your building, they should work together to ensure your building meets its legal requirements and protects occupant safety and wellbeing.

The responsible person

The responsible person, or people, have a number of duties which they may be held accountable for. They should:

  • Organise a regular risk assessment to be carried out to identify any vulnerabilities within their safety or security procedures.
  • Inform the relevant people within the building of the risks identified and put in place appropriate measures to resolve
  • Plan for every emergency – each type of emergency, e.g. fire, security threat, flooding, is different and should be planned for accordingly.
  • Communicate clearly the emergency procedures and organise regular training for the relevant team members.

Assessing your risks

There are several things you should consider when assessing your building’s fire and security risks. A specialist fire and security engineer can often help.

  1. Identify the hazards – think about the ways in which a fire or security risk might arise, put measures in place to reduce the risk of these occurring.
  1. Identify who might be at risk – consider everyone within your building – even those who visit for short periods of time. If they’re at greater risk – e.g. living with mobility impairments, visual impairments or hearing impairments – you should tailor your emergency processes and procedures around this.
  1. Reduce the risks – evaluate the risks you face, focus your emergency processes and procedures on mitigating or removing these.
  1. Prepare your plan – use your findings to fuel your plans. Implement these plans with regular training of team members and testing of emergency equipment.
  1. Review and update – repeat this process regularly to ensure your protection measures remain up to date and fit for purpose.

When carrying out your risk assessment, you should consider: emergency routes/exits, fire and security detection and warning systems, firefighting equipment, evacuation plans, the needs of vulnerable occupants, clear communication and training.

Do you need help in identifying if your building is both safe and secure? Get in touch with today to book your free risk assessment today.

At IGNIS, we’re dedicated to delivering safe buildings, easily and affordably in and across the West Midlands. Take a look at what our customers across Birmingham, Solihull and Warwickshire think.

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