Who is responsible for evacuation plan?

Who is responsible for evacuation plan?

By Gaby Grammeno on 9 July 2018 Who is responsible for fire fighting equipment and emergency evacuation plans in buildings?
This question was recently sent to our Ask an Expert service.

Q As the tenant of a building, are we required to supply our own fire fighting equipment and emergency evacuation plans/ drills?

A Under work health and safety laws, the owner of a building is responsible for ensuring the premises are safe. This includes ensuring there are sufficient and functioning emergency exits (eg that the exits are not blocked, that there is safe access and egress from the building, and that there is adequate emergency lighting).

The building owner or property manager should ensure that the building complies with the Building Code of Australia and any relevant legislation.

In Queensland, for example, building fire safety regulations require building owners (or the managing entities of multi-occupancy buildings) to keep fire evacuation plans in a specified form and to ensure these reflect fire safety management procedures. They must also maintain fire safety installations and provide fire and evacuation instructions if the building is to be used for a temporary event. Owners of high-occupancy buildings must appoint a qualified fire safety advisor and keep records of fire and evacuation instructions. There are similar requirements in other states and territories.

However, the company that is a tenant of a building must have its own plan for responding to emergencies – including fires.

The person conducting the business or undertaking (the tenant) must ensure that the workplace is provided with fire protection and firefighting equipment for use with the types of fires that might occur in the workplace, given the nature of the work.

The company must plan for the evacuation of the premises and other emergency procedures, and the plan must include arrangements for testing the emergency procedures (eg evacuation drills), including the frequency of testing.

Company management should consult with the building owner or property manager with regard to evacuation procedures, eg find out if emergency procedures for the building have already been developed, and if there are already fire installations (such as fire hose reels) in place.

The two entities (the building owner and the tenant) are required to coordinate and cooperate with each other, as far as is reasonably practicable, in relation to the fire safety and emergency evacuation of the building.

In short, responsibility for fire safety is shared with the building owner, but it would be remiss of the tenant (and would contravene the relevant regulations) to leave it all up to the building owner or manager.

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