The Importance of Appointing a Competent Person for Your Fire Safety

As an employer, neglecting your fire safety responsibilities can prove to be dangerous, costly, and often fatal. That’s why you need a ‘competent person’ to liaise with, to help keep your business protected from fire risks and hazards.

On average, more than 70% of business fires are accidental and could be avoided with the correct fire safety measures in place and the right level of management – which is why appointing a competent person for your business is so important.

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, competence has been at the forefront of government discussions. So, we want to make sure you’re not making mistakes that could be jeopardising the safety of your employees or your business.

What is a competent person?

A competent person is defined as “someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly”. Keep this definition in mind when looking for the right person.

Although there is no specific skillset or training designed for someone to become a competent person, they do need to show competence in identifying a problem, assessing its importance, and providing you with guidance to maintain a safe workplace.

The difference between a competent person and a responsible person?

A responsible person can be either an employer, a person who holds control of a business or a building owner using a non-domestic premises.

As the responsible person, you must ensure all your business’s fire safety measures are up to scratch and comply with the relevant safety standards.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all responsible persons are required to make sure a Fire Risk Assessment is carried out and kept up to date, and that there are necessary safety measures in place to minimise the risk or loss of life from fire.

However, a competent person is someone who physically carries out these essential fire safety measures to minimise the risk that your people are exposed to keeping them safe and helping to keep your business compliant.

Why should I appoint a competent person?

Not only does appointing a competent person help to keep your business on the right side of the law, but it also puts your mind at ease when it comes to the safety of your employees.

What are the consequences of not appointing a competent person?

If you choose not to hire a competent person for your fire safety, you’re immediately breaching the
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 – the cost of which can be extremely high.

If a fire breaks out in your business and local authorities find that you failed to have your fire safety measures carried out by a competent person, you could be issued with a formal notice or you could be prosecuted if anyone is found to be at risk.

What do I need to look for when appointing a competent person?

When it comes to appointing a competent person, the level of competence will depend on the size and complexity of the risk. The higher the risk, or where the building is large or complex, the higher level of competence will more than likely be required.

There are a few factors you need to take into consideration when choosing a competent person for your business:

  • Be confident that the fire risk assessor providing the service is competent to do so.
  • Check that they have previous experience of conducting Fire Risk Assessments for businesses and premises like yours.
  • Request references from their previous clients, especially if their business or premises type is like yours and ask them if they were satisfied with their service and if any problems were later identified.
  • Check that those providing this service have independent registration with, or certification from a professional or certification body.

If you’re worried about finding the right competent person to carry out your Fire Risk Assessment, we recommend looking out for third-party accreditations that give you a reasonable indication of competence.

How Citation Fire & Electrical can act as your competent person

You should have complete peace of mind when it comes to your business’s fire safety. Citation Fire & Electrical have years of fire safety experience conducting Fire Risk Assessments in simple or complex premises. We are also third-party accredited, meaning we’re regularly audited by a dependant body to ensure we have the necessary skills to be a competent service provider.

Our fire risk assessors undergo regular training and upskilling programmes to make sure they maintain the highest standards of competence, so you can be confident you’re in safe hands.

As a compliance business, we provide quality that you can rely on – proved through our BAFE SP 205 accreditation. Our specialist teams not only offer a thorough and hassle-free Fire Risk Assessment service, we also offer Fire Extinguisher Servicing, Fire Alarm Maintenance, and Emergency Light Testing that allows you to focus on the most important thing – running your business!

If you want more information about how Citation Fire & Electrical can act as your competent person for your fire safety, get in touch with our team by calling 0800 055 6559. Or, if you want us to reach out to you, simply fill in the form opposite to request a call back.

Related Resources


How We Develop Our Fire Safety Risk Assessors


How the Fire Safety Act 2021 Affects Your Business

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Fire Safety Awareness Rules