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Who is the Responsible Person under Scottish Fire Law?

Under the Scottish Fire Safety Act 2005, the ‘Responsible Person’ is required to comply with the law. But who is the ‘Responsible Person’ and what are they actually required to do?

The responsibilities and definition of this role are outlined in the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. These can be intimidating weighty documents so here’s an easy summary.  

Who is the ‘Responsible Person’

The ‘Responsible Person’ is usually one of the following:

  1. Employer: If the premises is a workplace, the employer is typically the responsible person.
  2. Owner/Landlord: In buildings where there are multiple tenants, the owner or landlord may hold responsibility for the communal areas.
  3. Occupier: The occupier or person in control of the premises.
  4. Other Person with Control: Any other individual who has a degree of control over the premises, such as a facilities manager or managing agent, can also be considered responsible.

So, a building may have more than one responsible person, i.e., a landlord/owner for communal areas and a tenant/occupier/employer for the areas they control.

Duties and Responsibilities

The ‘Responsible Person’ is legally obligated to ensure the following duties are carried out by themselves or a ‘Competent person’ (see my next blog for who is a classed as a competent person).

  1. Risk Assessments: Regular fire risk assessments are conducted to identify hazards and evaluate risks.
  2. Fire Safety Measures: Appropriate fire safety measures are implemented, such as fire alarms, extinguishers, emergency lighting, and clear escape routes.
  3. Maintenance: Fire safety equipment and measures are maintained and kept in good working order.
  4. Fire Safety Plan: A comprehensive fire safety plan is in place, covering evacuation procedures and other emergency responses.
  5. Information and Training: Relevant information, instruction, and training are provided to employees and all other relevant persons.
  6. Compliance with Law: All fire safety regulations and legal requirements are adhered to.

Enforcement and Penalties

Non-compliance with fire safety laws can lead to enforcement action by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). This can range from issuing advice or enforcement notices, prohibition notices temporarily closing premises until work is done, or to prosecute the responsible person leading to fines or imprisonment.

Questions to ask yourself

  1. Am I the ‘Responsible Person’ (if not who is)?
  2. Have I carried out all my required duties?
  3. Do I have competent people helping with those duties?
  4. Have all fire safety regulations and legal requirements been complied with?

The first step is always a good Fire Risk Assessment carried out to the required standards for your business by a competent person.  This will inform you of how to carry out and fulfil the required duties to ensure compliance.

Need advice, then get in touch with us at STL Form and Fire Services.



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