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Who is Responsible for Fire Safety at your Workplace?

Posted on Friday, 10th July 2020

Who is Responsible for Fire Safety at your Workplace?

No matter what industry, sector, or environment you work in, there are always fire hazards and risks that must be managed. Having the correct fire safety procedures and training is vital to ensure workers are protected and businesses remain compliant with the law.

In today’s blog, we look at what fire safety involves, who is responsible for putting it in place, and the training needed to ensure your workplace is fulfilling its legal obligations.

Who is responsible for your safety at work?

Under British law, employers are responsible for all health and safety matters in their workplace. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974  sets out the key responsibilities of employers to protect their workers, and what information they need to provide employees with. Measures highlighted in this act include:

  • Conducting and acting on regular risk assessments
  • Appointing competent people to oversee health and safety
  • Setting-up emergency procedures
  • Providing training to employees necessary for their roles

Employees also have responsibility to themselves and their co-workers to ensure they are working safely. This includes complying with health and safety procedures within their company and reporting any concerns they may have to a health and safety representative.

Why is fire safety important in the workplace?

One of the biggest dangers in any workplace is the threat of fire. In the UK alone, there were over 300 fire-related deaths in 2019, with many more being seriously injured. Fire is a particular threat in workplaces due to how quickly a small fire can spread across a building, blocking exits and causing visibility issues. This is why every workplace needs to have a thorough fire strategy in place and designated fire marshals to oversee procedure.

Who is responsible for fire strategy?

As laid out in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, employers, owners or landlords are responsible for the fire safety of anyone working or living on their premises. Their duties to those under their provision include:

  • carrying out fire risk assessments of the premises with regular reviews
  • telling staff about the risks they’ve identified
  • putting in place appropriate fire safety measures
  • planning for emergencies
  • providing staff with fire safety information, instruction, and training

Depending on the size and nature of the business in question, employers will often assign a member of staff in the role of fire marshal/ warden to oversee all fire strategies. This would include conducting fire risk assessments and establishing evacuation procedure. These wardens usually report directly to the employer to ensure company-wide fire safety practise is being implemented.

Fire marshal training

What should fire safety training at work cover?

The Fire Safety Act 2005 states that all workers should have ‘training on the appropriate precautions and actions… to safeguard themselves and other relevant persons on the premises.’ Simply put, it’s the employer’s legal duty to ensure that workers receive fire safety training relevant to their working environment when they first start working there.

Workers will need further training if they are transferred to a new place of work, if they have a change of responsibilities, or if they are introduced to new equipment that may pose a fire risk.  This training should inform learners as to potential fire risks, steps they can take to reduce the chances of fire, and how they should act in the event of fire.

What training do I need to be a fire marshal?

Anybody who is fulfilling the role of overseeing fire safety at an organisation needs to have suitable training. At Essential Site Skills, we provide expert fire safety training via our Fire Marshal / Warden course.

This half-day course provides all the essential information needed to perform this role in accordance to the latest laws and legislation. Over the duration of the training, learners will acquire essential knowledge in topics such as:

  • An overview of how to identify fire hazards and conduct risk assessments
  • The principles of fire evacuation and co-ordination, including fire drills
  • How to practise safe and effective use of fire extinguishers
  • An overview of the different classes of fire and their individual properties
  • Using and checking fire/ smoke alarms

At the end of the course, learners will be asked to sit a short multiple-choice paper. If successful, they will be awarded with an ESS certificate to prove they have the knowledge required to fulfil the role of a fire warden.

Level 2 Award in Fire Safety Training

In addition to our fire warden training course, we also provide the Level 2 Award in Fire Safety qualification from Qualsafe. This training covers many of the same areas as the fire marshal course, but goes into more detail on topics such as fire law. The Level 2 Award is perfect for anybody who has interest in pursuing fire safety qualifications further.

Fire Safety Awareness

For a more generalised introduction to workplace fire safety, our Fire Safety Awareness course is a great entry point. Learners will develop theoretical knowledge on key topics such as:

  • The common causes of fire
  • The behaviour of fire
  • Fire prevention
  • What to do if a fire breaks out
  • How to use fire extinguishers
  • Emergency evacuation procedures

This course is recommended for every member of staff as it meets employer’s obligations to provide fire safety training to all workers at the point of employment. This might also serve as good introduction to fire safety for anyone looking to further their education and become a designated fire warden.

Fire warden training

How often do you need to do fire marshal training?

Our fire warden certificates are valid for three years, at which point training will need to be retaken by the individual.

Do I need training to use a fire extinguisher?

Before using a fire extinguisher, it is important that you have a basic understanding of the different types of fires and extinguishers available in order to avoid making the situation worse. Our Fire Extinguisher Training offers our expert knowledge and training in how to effectively use this equipment. Check out our blog for more information on using fire extinguishers in the workplace.


As well as face-to-face learning with our expert trainers, ESS also provide a range of online training options through our suite of e-learning courses. Our fire safety e-learning courses include:

If you want to know more, our e-learning blog takes an in-depth look at how online learning works, and how it can benefit you. You can also find a full list of our e-learning courses on our website.

If you have any further questions about our courses and would like to speak to a member of our team, you can contact us by calling 0115 8970 529. You can also get hold of us by emailing [email protected].


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