Tasks of a fire safety officer

Businesses are required by law to provide appropriate fire protection. Fire safety officers are often required. Learn about the tasks of a fire safety officer and how to appoint one.

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16 December 2020 Fire Safety

A fire safety officer has a variety of tasks in the company; he or she looks after a company on all fire safety issues. The role of fire safety officer can be held by an internal employee or an external fire safety officer. In both cases, the fire safety officer must be appointed in writing by the employer in accordance with the Works Constitution Act (BetrVG). We answer the most important questions on the topic of fire safety officers: duties, tasks and appointment:

Why should you have a fire safety officer in your company?

A fire safety officer is responsible for fire safety in a building. He advises and supports a company in all areas of fire protection. He identifies risks and recommends measures for optimal and legally protected fire protection in a company. Fire safety officers must be appointed in writing by the employer in accordance with the Works Constitution Act (BetrVG). 

When do you need a fire safety officer?

A fire safety officer is always advisable, but not every company has to have one.
have one. The Occupational Health and Safety Act, the technical rules for workplaces, employers' liability insurance associations, accident insurers and property insurers all require a fire safety officer, depending on the fire hazard. Property insurers, for example, often only grant full insurance cover for companies at risk of fire if the company hires an internal or external fire safety officer.

As a rule of thumb, the following applies: For particularly fire-prone companies and workplaces with a large number of potentially number of potentially endangered persons, the fire safety officer is obligatory. These include, for example, production halls, warehouses, kitchens and workshops. The following workplaces most frequently require fire safety officers:

  • Industrial buildings with a floor area of more than 5,000 m².
  • Sales premises with a floor area of more than 2,000 m².
  • Office and administration buildings with a floor area of more than 3,000 m².
  • Special buildings (e.g. high-rise buildings, clinics, hotels, retirement homes)

Precise information on the necessity and number of fire protection officers required is provided by building regulations, state building regulations, fire protection concept, risk assessment and building permit.

What are the tasks of a fire safety officer?

He is familiar with all legal regulations and helps the company to implement the requirements of authorities and insurers. For example, he inspects the fire protection equipment in the building at regular intervals (depending on the size of the company). Furthermore, they accompany the acceptance of fire protection systems by experts and are available as contact persons for renovations and new buildings. In addition, they instruct and train employees in the company, determine fire and explosion hazards and check escape and rescue routes.

Companies that cannot provide a fire safety officer from their own staff have the option of using an external fire safety officer. This external expert advises and supports the company in all areas of fire protection.

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A total of 26 tasks are defined:

The tasks of the external fire safety officer

External fire safety officers report directly to the company management. They regularly hand over a protocol to the management that documents deficiencies and recommends appropriate measures. However, the management alone decides on their implementation.

Fire safety officer

Advantages of an external fire protection officer from CWS:

  • Many years of experience
  • Neutral view of a building from the outside
  • Reliable control through regular site inspections
  • Advice, coordination with authorities and partners or on-site inspection from a single source
  • More personnel capacities through relief of employees

How is a fire safety officer to be appointed?

The fire safety officer must be appointed by the employer in writing, taking into account the Works Constitution Act. The appointment must be made in writing, as the tasks of the fire safety officer and the provisions of the DGUV must also be stipulated in the appointment. This applies both to the appointment of an internal fire safety officer and to an external person. When appointing an external fire safety officer from CWS Fire Safety, we jointly determine which tasks the external fire safety officer must fulfil and how often he or she will be there for you. The service catalogue is part of the contract between you and our CWS Fire Safety Team.

Do you have questions about the fire safety officer?

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