A person who has been designated by the management of a company to be in charge of safety and any emergency evacuation of a particular department is known as a ‘Responsible Person’. The term is used to describe a individual who has been given a certain amount of authority, and who is deemed to be qualified, have good common sense and be capable, hence the title responsible person.
They may also be put in charge of prevention measures, for instance checking that fire safety equipment works, and should receive the necessary fire training to be able to operate the equipment.
A responsible person will regularly meet with office management to develop a company fire policy and as such will be accountable for certain things. When doing any fire risk assessment they should concentrate on things like:
- Ensuring hallways and stairways are clear of obstructions.
- Making pre-arrangements plans for the evacuation of disabled workers.
- Keeping all air vents clear.
- Keep all electrical cables taped down.
- If a new member of staff joins the company brief them of the safety procedures, perhaps give them a manual, ensuring they understand the procedure for a fire drill.
- Make sure safety signs are stuck in the correct places.
- The responsible person should then record any of their findings and be in a position to write up reports on their findings and recommendations.
A lot of the measures they decide on will of course depend on their business activities and location. For instance they may work in a office or a factory dealing in hazardous chemicals, as you can imagine each of these examples will require a different approach.
Of course if the premises you work in are just being rented by your company then it may be the duty of the building landlord to ensure some of the precautions and safety measures. This is a point well worth checking before you start to purchase expensive fire fighting equipment.