Fire safety in the workplace guide

  • Part 1: Who is responsible?

In England and Wales if you’re an employer, owner, landlord, occupier of business or other non-domestic premises, you are responsible for fire safety and are known as the ‘responsible person’.

As the responsible person there are certain things you must do by law under the Fire Safety Order. These are enforced by your local Fire and Rescue service.

The Fire Safety Order also applies if you have paying guests e.g. if you run a bed and breakfast, guest house or let self-catering property.


Rules in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Fire safety rules are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The responsible person

The responsible person must:

  • carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment
  • tell staff and/or their representatives about the risks you’ve identified
  • put in place, and maintain, adequate and appropriate fire safety measures
  • plan for an emergency
  • provide staff information, fire safety instruction and training

Non-domestic premises

Non-domestic premises are:

  • all workplaces and commercial premises
  • all premises the public have access to
  • the common parts of multi-occupied residential buildings

Shared premises

In shared premises it’s likely there’ll be more than one responsible person. You’ll need to coordinate your fire safety plans to make sure people on or around the premises are safe.

For common or shared areas, the responsible person is the landlord, freeholder or managing agent.

Alterations, extensions and new buildings

When building new premises or doing building work on existing premises, you must comply with building regulations. This includes designing fire safety into the proposed building or extension.

Find more fire safety information on the Planning Portal website.

Penalties and enforcement

If you don’t follow fire safety regulations you could get fined and/or go to prison.

Local fire and rescue authorities inspect premises and can issue fire safety notices telling you about changes you might need to make to your premises.