Who is the ‘Responsible Person’
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, amended in 2006 came into force to simplify the fire safety legislation already in place. The order requires the ‘Responsible person’ to undertake and maintain sufficient fire precautions.
The premises to which the order applies include shops and offices, factories and warehouses, hotels, residential care premises, schools and hospitals to name but a few.
So who is the ‘responsible person’? Article 3 of the Order defines ‘responsible person’ in relation to a workplace as the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his/her control. In relation to premises that are not a workplace, the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not) is deemed the ‘responsible person’. Where the person in control of the premises does not have control in this way, the ‘responsible person’ is deemed to be the owner.
Having established who the ‘responsible person’ is, in relation to a premises, it is important to address the responsibilities they hold.
Article 8(1) of the Order requires that the ‘responsible person’ take ‘general fire precautions’. ‘General fire precautions’ as defined in article 4 of the Order, include measures to reduce the risk of fire and the risk of spread of fire, measures in relation to means of escape from the premises, including safe escape routes and emergency escape lighting, measures in relation to fighting fire and measures in relation to the detection of fire and the ability to warn of fire. Thus, ‘general fire precautions’ are not simply restricted to fire precautions identified under other articles within the Order.