What are the responsibilities of a workplace fire marshal?

Fire safety is a big consideration for every workplace, and this involves a number of measures and procedures – one of which is nominating a fire marshal. However, unless you are specifically trained for the role, you may not understand what the role entails. As such, what are the duties of a fire marshal?

The importance of fire safety procedures in the workplace 

Fire safety procedures keep employees and customers safe, prevent disasters and damage to company property. It is therefore very important to pay attention to the right procedures and follow any rules carefully. While the fire marshal is the assigned officer, the responsibility to ensure effective fire safety measures still falls to employers, owners and landlords of a property or building, as well as any managers. Anyone who is responsible for assessing the risk also needs to be informed about existing procedures and rules. 

Some devices may be a potential source of ignition and should be handled with care. This may apply to certain electrical devices and even lighting. Fires could spread by coming in contact with paper, wood furniture and rubbish, among other things. 

The role of the fire marshal

Fire prevention 

Identifying risks and hazards, preparing risk assessments and reporting hazards to the relevant people are all key elements of fire prevention. As previously stated, sometimes the person responsible for implementing fire safety measures will be the building owner or business owner.

Emergency preparation 

Regular checks should be carried out of emergency exits, signage, fire drills, fire safety logbook, paperwork and testing of fire alarms. Running fire drills is an important fire safety procedure, usually the fire marshal would lead this and highlight themselves with a high-vis vest

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Fire safety training 

The fire marshal is also the most likely to conduct fire safety training for new starters or update existing employees on new policies and procedures. Ensuring that all employees are aware of the relevant procedures is key to ensuring an effective response in the event of a fire.

Duties if a fire does break out 

Sometimes prevention is not enough – in this case, the marshal needs to ensure everyone safely evacuates the building and meets at the designated assembly point. If not done so already, the fire marshal should raise the fire alarm and contact the relevant emergency services.

If you are assigned the fire marshal role in your workplace or you volunteer for it, researching your new role is absolutely essential to get you up and running. Much of the information you need is available through the GOV.UK website or the Health and Safety Executive website.

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