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Frequently asked questions

These FAQs help illustrate the nature of some of the issues that HSE routinely gives advice on.  The list is not exhaustive and further questions and answers may be added at a later date.

General

Who is responsible for fire safety?

The fire authorities are responsible for all matters relating to domestic fire risks and precautions. They deal with fire precautions, fire fighting equipment and means of escape. HSE only deals with fire risks arising from work activities in the workplace and all fire matters at construction and major hazard sites. Further information may be found at the fire and explosion site.

Can the fire and rescue services carry out their duties effectively and comply with health and safety requirements at the same time?

The Health and Safety Executive has worked closely with Fire and Rescue Authorities to produce a set of high level principles which strike the balance between operational and health and safety duties.

Can fire and rescue personnel be prosecuted under health and safety legislation if they risk their lives to save others?

HSE fully endorses the recommendation in Common Sense, Common Safety that individual firefighters should not be put at risk of investigation or prosecution, under health and safety law, if they have put themselves at risk as a result of a heroic act.

Firefighters should not be expected to put themselves at unreasonable risk, even in the face of sometimes unrealistic public expectations. 

As an employer what do I need to do to meet my legal responsibilities for fire safety?

Fire and Rescue Authorities are the principal enforcers and have a statutory duty to enforce the requirements of the legislation.

Updated 2013-09-17