The LWF Blog
Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Fire Safety Management – Part 2April 16, 2018 10:08 am
In LWF’s blog series for those who work in Facilities Management, or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at responsibility for fire safety management in an organisation. In part 1, it was established that in the absence of a suitably qualified and resourced ‘responsible person’, the directors of a company are held responsible for fire safety. In part 2, LWF will look at how the task of taking or delegating the responsibility should be approached.
In a large organisation, it is commonplace for there to be a dedicated fire safety manager or officer who, along with other relevant and closely-related duties, will manage fire safety provision within the organisation. In a smaller business, that control should be given to the most appropriate position in the company – this may be a director, manager or health and safety officer. While the job title of the person taking on the responsibility isn’t so important, the person responsible must be adequately prepared, trained and resourced in order to carry out the required tasks with authority.
As a basis for the role, the following terms are required:
– The manager must be aware of the responsibilities involved
– They must have the appropriate level of authority to be able to influence and make decisions regarding all aspects of fire safety
– They must have sufficient time to dedicate to the necessary duties
– The officer should be suitably trained or have access to specialist advice, such as fire engineers or professional advisors
– They should have the full support of senior management to develop and implement necessary policies
Fire safety policies should be formed based on the understanding that fire risk is a pure risk. A pure risk is one that can only result in loss, whereas a speculative risk can result in profit or loss. This means that the policies formed should be designed purely for the needs of the organisation and the potential for loss it faces if a fire occurs.
The company (or in this case, the responsible person along with the backing of the company) must decide what level of risk is acceptable and what is unacceptable. For instance, the bare minimum risk that the fire safety policy must look to mitigate is life. So, the fire safety precautions required by law to safeguard the lives of those within a building are the minimum level that should be attained. Prevention of damage to property, stock, equipment or the ongoing viability of the business are all additional risks which should be mitigated by additional precautions being undertaken as required, or by simply taking out the appropriate insurance. However, insurers often insist on further fire safety measures being put in place before they will grant cover.
In part 3 of this series, the use of fire risk assessments will be discussed. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.
Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.
While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.