Fire Safety at Work: Who is Responsible?

March 27, 2024

Fire Safety at Work: Who is Responsible?

Fire safety in the workplace is a critical aspect of maintaining a safe and secure environment for employees, visitors, and any other building occupants. Understanding who holds responsibility and how to mitigate risk is paramount to preventing accidents and ensuring compliance with the latest fire safety regulations.

Effective fire safety should include a set of practices designed to reduce the risk of fires, protect individuals in case of a fire emergency, and minimise property damage. Essentially, it involves identifying potential fire hazards, implementing preventive measures, conducting risk assessments, and establishing emergency response protocols.

But who is responsible for fire safety in the workplace?

Regarding non-domestic premises, the responsibility for fire safety in the workplace primarily falls on the shoulders of commercial landlords, business owners, and employers. These people are obligated, both morally and legally, to safeguard their premises and occupants from fire hazards.

In the case of shared premises, there is generally shared responsibility, typically between business owners and landlords. The HSE has outlined specific guidance around managing fire safety in the workplace, so employers must take heed to remain compliant.


This responsibility includes ensuring compliance with fire safety regulations by:

  • Conducting risk assessments.
  • Providing adequate training to staff.
  • Properly maintaining fire safety equipment.
  • Developing emergency evacuation plans.

At the end of the day, it’s all about protecting human life. As well as remaining compliant, employers have a duty of care to protect their staff and those working on their premises.


How can the responsible person ensure fire safety effectively?


Carry out regular fire risk assessments.

Regular risk assessments are the cornerstone of effective fire safety management. Employers should conduct thorough assessments to identify potential fire hazards, evaluate existing control measures, and implement necessary improvements.

By understanding the specific risks within the workplace, employers can tailor their fire safety measures to address vulnerabilities effectively.


Appoint fire marshals to champion fire safety.

Appointing trained fire marshals is essential for maintaining a high level of fire safety readiness. Fire marshals play a major role in emergency response by leading evacuations, conducting drills, and ensuring compliance with fire safety protocols.

All employers should select individuals who are dedicated, responsible, and willing to undergo proper training to fulfil this vital role.

Training Employees on Fire Safety: Empowering Your Team

Training is always an important part of running a business, but fire safety training for employees is even more vital. Providing appropriate fire safety training is a fundamental aspect of promoting a culture of fire safety within the workplace. It helps to educate and empower staff to stay safe and protect themselves and others around them.

Employers must provide comprehensive training sessions that cover topics such as evacuation procedures, proper use of firefighting equipment, and emergency communication protocols. By empowering employees with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to fire incidents, employers can enhance overall safety preparedness.



What will happen if the responsible person does not follow the HSE’s fire safety guidance?

The penalties for not following fire safety guidance can be severe, leading to hefty fines or, in some cases, even prison. Local fire and rescue authorities have the authority to conduct inspections of premises and issue fire safety notices that detail the necessary measures to be implemented.

However, it is not just the legal ramifications that businesses should consider. Ensuring effective fire safety measures will help to keep people safe and reduce the risk of severe, or even fatal, accidents.

How can a health and safety consultancy help improve fire safety in the workplace?

A health and safety consultancy plays a vital role in helping businesses implement effective fire safety measures through supporting regular risk assessments and providing comprehensive fire safety training.

Health and safety consultancies work closely with businesses to identify potential fire hazards, assess the level of risk, and develop strategies to mitigate these risks. By evaluating factors such as building layout, flammable materials, electrical systems, and emergency exits, consultants can create tailored fire safety plans that address specific vulnerabilities within the workplace.

Fire safety is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and improvement. Health and safety consultancies help organisations track compliance with regulations, assess the effectiveness of control measures, and identify areas for enhancement.

By regularly reviewing and updating fire safety practices, businesses can adapt to changing circumstances and maintain a high level of preparedness.

How can William Martin help you ensure fire safety at work?

By implementing proactive measures, employers can significantly reduce the risk of fire incidents and ensure a prompt and effective response in case of emergencies.

As an organisation that put people first, William Martin offers comprehensive fire risk assessments to identify the key areas within a building that require improvement and ensure safety.

We can also assist employers in developing precise evacuation and emergency plans, offering practical support to enhance fire safety measures across their properties.

We bring in-depth knowledge of fire risk assessment programmes, complex engineering solutions and unequalled consultancy services to the table. We make sure that businesses are fully compliant with the latest fire safety regulations, backed by a team of dynamic fire safety specialists, each with a minimum of 15 years’ experience in the field.

If you’re ready to improve fire safety in the workplace, get in touch with us today!


At William Martin, we bring unparalleled health & safety expertise and powerful technology to the table. Whatever your sector and wherever you are, we give you the support you need to keep compliant, strong, and successful. For all enquiries, please contact us or call our team on 0203 819 8829.

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