Emergency lighting: who is responsible?

Up until 2005, most significant buildings were assessed against the fire precautions act and issued with fire certificates by local authorities. To a large extent, much of the onus of fire safety compliance therefore rested on the shoulders of those issuing the certificates.

But in 2005 that all changed with the publication of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. This effectively transferred responsibility, normally to the employer who occupies the premises, who then becomes the Responsible Person and is legally obliged to ensure that the premises are safe. The responsible person could be the company CEO, or it could be another suitable member of staff with the necessary authority to carry out the role. Any responsible person must be able to authorise normal expenditure to cover service and repairs, but is often not an expert in fire safety matters, so would also be responsible for ensuring that design, installation, service and test engineers who are employed to assist are competent to perform their tasks.

A major part of the task for a responsible person is to carry out Fire Risk Assessments for any premises in which people are employed. If 5 or more people are employed this must constitute a written record of the findings of the assessment and any actions taken, and this must be available for inspection by fire authorities at any time. The risk assessment is intended to identify and reduce fire hazards in a building, and an outfall is that the employer must produce whatever policies, procedures, staff training and fire drills that are deemed necessary. Emergency lighting is not fit and forget, so part of the risk assessment will undoubtedly show up the need for regular testing, documenting and maintaining of emergency lighting, which may entail calling in outside expertise at not inconsiderable expense.

To find out more about emergency lighting, book your attendance at our CIBSE accredited Emergency Lighting CPD. You will receive two hours of your CIBSE CPD requirements for attending one of our CPDs.To download our Emergency Lighting CPD flier CLICK HERE To arrange one of our CPDs, either at your premises or at our factory in Sutton, Surrey please contact our Marketing Department at or 020 8254 2020.