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Your legal responsibility

Information on your legal responsibilities for carrying out a fire risk assessment.

A 'responsible person' must carry out, or appoint a 'competent person', to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the risks to your employees and other 'relevant persons' from fire. This is a requirement under the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Who is the 'responsible person'?

If you are the employer, owner, landlord, occupier, building manager, managing agent or anyone else with control of business or non-domestic premises, you are known as the 'responsible person'. This means that you are responsible for fire safety in the property.

If there’s more than one responsible person, you have to work together to meet your responsibilities.

As a responsible person you must:

  • regularly assess and review fire risks for your premises
  • tell staff and/or their representatives about the risks you’ve identified
  • put in place and maintain adequate and appropriate measures to remove or reduce the risk to life
  • plan for an emergency
  • provide staff with information and training around fire safety.

As from 1 October 2023, changes to fire safety legislation make it a duty of the responsible person to record the fire risk assessment in full (including all the findings) and the fire safety arrangements for the premises in all circumstances, regardless of the number of employees.

Find out more about the changes to fire safety legislation.

Who is the 'competent person'?

In terms of fire risk assessment, a 'competent person' needs to:

  • understand the relevant fire safety legislation
  • have appropriate education, training, knowledge and experience in the principles of fire safety
  • understand how a fire develops and how people behave during a fire
  • understand the fire hazards and other relevant factors to occupants at special risk within their building
  • have appropriate training and/or experience in carrying out fire risk assessments.

We cannot recommend a competent person to carry out your Fire Risk Assessment to you, but you can find guidance on the National Fire Chiefs Council website.

Who are 'relevant persons'?

Anyone lawfully on your premises, or within the immediate vicinity of the premises, who may be at risk from fire is known as a 'relevant person'.

Further information for those with legal duties for fire safety is available on GOV.UK.

Last updated:
15 May 2024
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