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responsible person

"Who is the responsible person?"

The role of the 'Responsible Person' in relation to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (known as the RRO or FSO) is key to understanding and ensuring the fire safety in any occupied premises. As set out in Regulation 10 of the Order, the 'Responsible Person' is designated by the employer to ensure compliance with all fire safety regulations, as well as carrying out specific operational activities related to the safety of staff, visitors and customers.


The main responsibility of the 'Responsible Person' is to implement a written fire safety policy for the premises, in line with the requirements of the FSO and any other associated fire safety regulations. This involves developing a fire safety management strategy, setting up a system of regular fire safety inspections and ensuring that staff and visitors are adequately informed and trained in how to safely evacuate the premises in the event of a fire.


The 'Responsible Person' is likely to be a building owner, a manager or supervisor of that building or a professional managing fire safety on behalf of the owner. As such, it is important for that person to have a clear understanding of the fire safety regulations that are applicable to their premises, as well as a thorough knowledge of the Approved Document B of the Building Regulations 1985.

Approved Document B covers all aspects of installation and design of fire safety measures within buildings, such as fire alarms, evacuation systems and other fire safety equipment. The Responsible Person should have a comprehensive knowledge of the safety requirements of their premises and be able to ensure that they are freely followed.


The 'Responsible Person' has specific obligations under the Order in addition to those listed in Approved Document B. For example, they are  required to keep the premises under review and act on any risks identified to ensure the safety of staff, tenants, customers and visitors. In addition, the person must ensure that building plans are kept up to date and that all necessary fire safety installations are in place and functioning correctly.


Ultimately, the 'Responsible Person' is responsible for ensuring the premises is compliant with all fire safety regulations, and for actively managing potential risks to staff, tenants, customers and visitors. The 'Responsible Person' has a legal responsibility and has significant weight with the authorities in terms of the legality of fire safety systems within buildings. Therefore, it is important that the 'Responsible Person' has a sufficient depth of knowledge and can carry out their duties with due diligence.

Who is the 'responsible person' in regard to fire safety and why the phrase 'accountable person' is going to become part of the legislation?

In the context of fire safety, the term 'Responsible Person' refers to the individual or entity who has the legal responsibility for ensuring that fire safety regulations and requirements are met within a premises. This role is typically associated with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in the United Kingdom, which places certain duties on the responsible person to manage fire safety.


The 'Responsible Person' has various responsibilities, which may include:


Conducting a fire risk assessment: The 'Responsible Person' is responsible for assessing the fire risks within the premises, identifying potential hazards, and implementing appropriate measures to mitigate those risks.


Implementing fire safety measures: They are responsible for implementing and maintaining appropriate fire safety measures, such as ensuring the availability of firefighting equipment, providing adequate fire detection and alarm systems, establishing evacuation procedures, and conducting regular maintenance and testing of fire safety systems.


Training and informing occupants: The responsible person should provide adequate training to occupants on fire safety procedures, evacuation routes, and the proper use of fire safety equipment.

Now, regarding the phrase 'Accountable Person' replacing 'Responsible Person' in the future, there is a growing emphasis on accountability and transparency across various domains, including fire safety. While the term 'Responsible Person' signifies someone who has certain duties and obligations, the term 'Accountable Person' carries a stronger implication of being answerable and liable for the outcomes of fire safety management.


The shift toward using 'Accountable Person' reflects the recognition that mere responsibility for fire safety may not be sufficient to ensure effective management and compliance. The 'Accountable Person' takes ownership not only for implementing fire safety measures but also for the overall effectiveness of those measures and the outcomes they achieve.


By emphasizing accountability, there is a stronger focus on transparency, integrity, and the willingness to answer for any shortcomings or failures in fire safety management. This shift aims to promote a higher level of commitment and ensure that the 'Responsible Person' is truly accountable for the safety of occupants and the protection of property in the event of a fire.

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