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What Governs A Business's Approach To Fire Safety?

The difference between competent and responsible ...


The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005 (RRFSO) became law in October 2006 and changed the way that the fire safety of buildings is managed and enforced. What does this mean to you?

Fire safety risk assessments do not have to be undertaken by the 'responsible person', but they certainly need to be done by a competent one!

Fire safety risk assessments do not have to be undertaken by the 'responsible person', but they certainly need to be done by a competent one!

copyright: iqoncept / 123rf stock photo (licensee)

In its simplest sense, it means that any fire risk on your premises must be managed. Local fire authorities no longer issue fire certificates so your 'responsible person' must carry out a fire-risk assessment and continually manage fire risks on your behalf.

"Who is the ‘responsible person'?"

The owner of the business or premises must nominate the 'responsible person'. This is usually the person in day-to-day control of activities within the premises such as a senior manager. If the expertise of the ‘responsible person’ is lacking in fire risk assessment , the process must be delegated to someone more competent.

Regardless, the most senior person will still be liable, in the eyes of the law, for meeting the order regardless of who performs the fire safety tasks. This is not a responsibility that can be abdicated, only delegated.

Fire risk assessments are not an annual event so should be considered on an individual, ongoing basis. This should be built into the procedures used to manage the daily activities of the premises, such as checks to keep fire exits clear and functional, ensuring extinguishers are mounted, accessible and within their certifications and training new staff in fire awareness the fire procedures specific to the building.

"Who is a ‘competent person’?"

The ‘responsible person’ must be able to prove they have delegated their responsibilities to a ‘competent person’ and show how they have checked the competent person’s competence. By definition, this is a person or company is competent in the speciality in which they are involved. The simplest proof of competence is a third party certification.

There are a number of certification schemes available:

Fire Risk Assessors:

  • Fire Risk Assessors Certification Scheme (FRACS)

  • Fire Risk Assessors and Auditors certification (IFE)

  • Life Safety Fire Risk Accessment certification (BAFE)

Fire Detection and Equipment:

  • Fire Equipment Installation And Maintenance certification (SSAIB/BAFE)

  • FIRAS Installer Certification Scheme (FIRAS)

However, certifications can be expensive and regular training and ongoing risk assessments take people away from their daily duties so why not outsource the role of your ‘competent person’ to an expert company such as Picaw?

All of our fire risk assessors and installation and maintenance engineers hold the certifications for their areas of expertise. Each certificate is renewed as required, ensuring our team is always up to date with the current standards and aware of new and updated legislation.

If you'd like to find out more about risk assessments for your premises, as well as how we can help you with fire detection equipment, alarm systems, and on-line fire safety training then do call me on 0845 287 3622, or click here to send me an email and let's talk about your specific needs.

Until next time ...



Remember, our online training courses are provided free of charge if you have a Picaw fire detection & alarm maintenance contract!

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More about Peter Williams ...

While working with Volvo in the late 70’s I realised the way forward in international component distribution was computing. I created a company distributing components for several international manufacturers using the 'new' computers of the day. I quickly realised we needed our own programs so started writing distribution software. I grew the company by developing the software until I eventually sold my shares 20 years later, but retaining the rights to the software. I continued developing the software and supplied it to several similar companies where the software is still used today.

During 1999, I was asked by a friend to develop a facility to video the live sea conditions on the south coast accessible on the internet. Working with a Linux software developer I created our first remote video application. The internet boom of 2000 allowed me to develop a commercial application forming the basis of our systems today.


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