Health and Safety Duty Holders

Duty Holders are responsible for a range of tasks in the workplace that ensure that the workplace is a safe environment for employees and visitors.

This Duty Holder Guidance for EDC Employees provides the information needed to effectively carry out this role.

Duty Holder Guidance

1. Introduction

This Duty Holder Standard has been developed to assist nominated Duty Holders to understand and discharge their duties. It has been designed to cover the range of tasks involved in ensuring that the workplace is a safe environment for employees and others to work in and visit.

The Duty Holder may delegate some of the assigned duties but the Duty Holder is responsible for ensuring these duties are carried out effectively to ensure the safety of employees and visitors to your workplace premises.

You should have at least one Deputy Duty Holder identified who will temporarily take responsibility when you are out of the office or on annual leave.

2. Responsibilities

The organisational approach to the implementation and management of the EDC’s statutory health & safety duties is described in detail in the Councils Corporate Health and Safety at Work Policy. This Dutyholders’ Responsibilities document focuses on additional and specific duties relating to Duty Holders.

An employee's duties are to take reasonable care of the health and safety of themselves and of others who may be affected by what they do or do not do. They should co-operate with their employer on health and safety matters and must not misuse any equipment that is provided for safety purposes.

3. Provision of Information

Duty Holders are responsible for ensuring that all relevant health and safety information about their workplace is kept in an accessible location onsite. Employers are required, by law, to either display the HSE-approved law poster or to provide each of their workers with the equivalent leaflet.

There is also a legal requirement to display, or ensure there is access to, the employer’s Liability Insurance Certificate which covers the premises.

The Liability certificate can be accessed and printed off from the Hub (Home Page / Business Hub / Finance / Insurance) or the Audit and Risk Connections Community.

Duty Holders should ensure that both of these documents are displayed.

4. Fire Safety

4.1 General Fire Safety

The Duty Holder is responsible for ensuring that employees, visitors and contractors know what to do to safeguard themselves and others and know the importance of their actions in relation to fire. This requires all employees to have the necessary information, instruction and training to get to a place of safety in the event of a fire or other emergency.

It must be agreed who will contact the emergency services in advance.

Employees are required to cooperate with the employer, so far as is necessary to enable the employer to meet their statutory duties, and are responsible for reporting any failings or defects in the current fire safety arrangements.

Employees should report any issues, e.g. damage to fire doors, missing signage or extinguishers, damage to walkways along escape routes, to their line manager, who in turn should notify the Duty Holder.

The Duty Holder should then report any defects to Facilities Management. The Duty Holder must ensure that there is a policy in place for dealing with out of hours employees/buildings and well as a day to day policy.

4.2 Fire Drills

The Duty Holder will ensure that regular testing of the Fire Alarm is being carried out and that employees have been instructed as to fire procedures, including the location of the assembly point. A suitable secondary assembly point should be located.

The Duty Holder will ensure that fire drills will be carried out and recorded. There will be two fire drills per year within non educational premises and three fire drills per year (one per term) in educational premises.

Reviews of any drills, whether planned or unplanned, should take place following the drill to establish any areas of improvement or good practice. If an evacuation is due to an alleged gas leak, a gas engineer will be required to attend.

4.3 Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEP)

The needs or assistance required by any disabled person who uses the premises should be discussed with the individual. This may require the use of Evacuation Chairs. Use of PEEPs should be considered for persons with either a Temporary or Permanent Mobility Impairment or visual or hearing disability.

In order to arrange training on the use of PEEPs or any other requirements, please contact members of the Council’s People Development Team.

4.4. Plan of Premises

The Duty Holder is responsible for ensuring there is a current plan of the premises. The Plan will identify the current layout of the premises and surrounding area for the premises and should be displayed, and retained on the premises. This should be available to be provided at short notice e.g. to Scottish Fire and Rescue.

Depending on the size of the premises, the plan may also include the location of fire call alarms (firebreak glass points), fire alarm sounders, fire dividers, smoke / heat detectors, fire extinguishers and emergency lighting etc.

In the event of significant changes or alterations taking place at the workplace premises such as additional buildings being added, removal or alteration of existing internal structures or relocation of mains utilities systems, an updated copy of the plan of the premises should be obtained.

Where minor changes or alterations to the workplace have taken place, you must update the plan accordingly.

4.5 Fire Safety Risk Assessment (FSRA)

A fire safety risk assessment considers the premises, the activities carried out there, the potential for a fire to occur and the harm that it could cause. The FSRA should identify the people at risk, the hazards and identify measures to reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm. It will also help to determine what fire safety measures and management policies are necessary to ensure the safety of people in a building, should a fire occur.

The findings of the FSRA must be recorded. Arrangements should be put in place for the effective planning, control, monitoring and reviewing of the policies and procedures in relation to fire safety. This information should then be kept available for inspection by the enforcing authority, the local fire and rescue service.

The Duty Holder is responsible for maintaining and updating the FSRA.

4.6 Fire Extinguishers, Notices Signage, Escape Routes

In line with the Fire Safety Risk Assessment, the Duty Holder should ensure that fire extinguishers are available at various locations throughout the building. Appropriate employees will be trained in the use of fire extinguishers, however, the priority must always to evacuate the building and not fight fires.

Each fire extinguisher and fire blanket will be maintained and serviced. The Service label should be displayed. No fire equipment should be used if not recently serviced or in date. An up to date inventory of extinguishers & other fire-fighting equipment must be kept.

All Fire Action Notices should be filled in, providing information including where the assembly point is located. Any missing or damaged signage/notices should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Escape routes must be kept clear of obstructions at all times.

4.7 Fire Safety Related Training

Categories of training for employees in relation to Fire Safety will include: Fire Drills, Fire Warden, Fire Extinguisher and Fire Evacuation. Any required training identified should be arranged via the People Development Team.

4.8 Fire Safety Documentation

The Duty Holder should arrange to have the appropriate documentation readily available and up to date at all times. Please see Appendix 1 for a list of these documents.

5. Control of Visitors

The Duty Holder is responsible for ensuring there is an effective management system in place for the control of visitors into the workplace premises. This is to ensure that only authorised visitors are allowed into the premises. This may include the following:

  • Secure entrance within a facility (e.g. reception) to meet visitors to the premises.
  • System in place to record details of visitors and person(s) they are visiting within the premises.
  • Issuing of a visitors pass to identify visitors whilst they are on the premises.
  • Arrange for visitors to be made aware of the actions to be taken in the event of a fire or emergency.  Arrange for visitors to be accompanied during their time on the premises.

6. First Aid Provision

The Duty Holder should complete a First Aid Needs Assessment, considering both employees and the public, depending on the workplace and the level of risk in the workplace. The assessment should consider the appropriate number of first aiders, whether there is adequate equipment & facilities and responsibilities over shared premises.

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, details that there is no legal duty to provide first aid for non-employees but the HSE strongly recommends that you include them in your first aid provision.

For further information please refer to the link to the HSE’s ‘First Aid at Work leaflet’.

In the above link on p7, there is a table with suggested first aid numbers. However, there is no legal requirement - it depends on the outcome of the First Aid Needs Assessment. In schools, the number of pupils would be a consideration, as well as the number of employees.

7. Health and Safety Inspections

The Duty Holder is responsible for ensuring that a Health and Safety Inspection is carried out for the workplace premises. You should ensure that inspections of the workplace premises are carried out at a frequency in line with the current risk assessment. Record the findings of the inspection and any actions that are identified.

Buildings may be subject to a Fire Safety or Health and Safety Audit by members of the Council’s Health and Safety Team to help ensure legal compliance. This Audit, will be carried out on a cyclical basis and so the Duty Holder will be required to completed additional in-house inspections. Duty Holders have a responsibility for ensuring that any actions raised internally or by the Health and Safety Team are addressed.

7.1 Trade Union Inspections

In line with the Safety Representative and Safety Committees Regulations 1977, recognised Trade Unions have a right to request that a workplace inspection be undertaken every three months. If they wish to do so, they must give reasonable notice in writing of their intention to do so.

The HSE believes that it is good practice for employers and safety reps to agree programmes of formal inspections in advance. The advantage of this is that it makes it clear when each can expect and an inspection and fulfils the requirement to give notice.

Within East Dunbartonshire Council, there is agreement that Unions will undertake joint inspections with the Health and Safety Team and there will be co-operation between themselves to reduce duplication and overlapping.

8. Risk Assessment

As part of managing the health and safety within the premise, the Duty Holder should undertake a risk assessment to identify measures to control the risks.

The risk assessment will follow the HSE guidance by completing the following steps:

a) Identify the hazards,
b) Decide who might be harmed and how,
c) Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions,
d) Record significant findings, and
e) Review the assessment and updating if necessary.

Documented risk assessments should be in place for each of the areas of risk identified and should be reviewed and amended at least annually or following a change in circumstance.

A record should be kept of the risk assessments and employees and others who may be affected by the hazard are briefed on risk assessments and have access to them.

9. Incident/Accident Reporting

In the event of someone, including a member of the public, having an incident/accident or near miss, then the Duty Holder must ensure that it has been recorded and the appropriate documentation sent to the Councils Health and Safety Team.

All employees within the premises must be aware of how to report and record an accident/near miss using the Councils HS1a Recording Form which is available on the Hub. East Dunbartonshire Council has a statutory duty under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR), to ensure that all reportable accidents/incidents are notified to the Health and Safety Executive no later than 15 days after the initial accident/incident date.

In order to meet these requirements it is requested that all completed forms are forwarded electronically to the Health and Safety Team ( no later than 10 days from the date of the accident/incident. The document is then assessed by the Health and Safety Team and, where appropriate, reported to the Health and Safety Executive within required timescales.

10. Other Responsibilities

Plant and Equipment

The Duty Holder is responsible for ensuring effective arrangements for Critical and Operational Plant and Equipment.

This is defined as ‘Equipment which is critical to enable the premises to function and which also requires a statutory inspection by a competent person to confirm that equipment is safe to operate’. For example, gas, electrical, boilers/biomass, water treatment, lifting systems, local exhaust ventilation, fire systems and security systems.

In order to achieve this, the Duty Holder is responsible for liaising with other Council Services, for example Facilities Management or a representative from Estates and Assets.

The Duty Holder is responsible for:

a) Knowing the location of critical plant and equipment and maintaining an inventory of equipment.
b) Having a list of the critical and operational plant. This list is shared with other Services in the building.
c) Ensuring that plant is maintained and safe to operate.
d) Ensuring a system is in place for recording faults and or repairs to the plant for both the Duty Holder and maintenance departments.
e) Ensure any temporary / emergency repairs are logged and considering if any 'back up' procedures are required. Ensure Business Continuity as far as reasonably practicable.
f) Establish if there is a training requirement for key employees to be able to undertake an inspection. Establish procedures for an inventory of any plant and co-ordinate maintenance or repairs.

Security Management Arrangements

The Duty Holder is responsible for ensuring and implementing effective security management systems are in place and liaising with appropriate council services as necessary.

Waste Disposal Arrangements

The Duty Holder will ensure that, via liaising with other Council Services, what has to be disposed of is ready for uplift, safely secured and positioned in an accessible location on the day of uplift.

Out of Use Electrical Equipment/Items

The Council operates a recycling policy and discarded/ surplus/ out of use electrical items are disposed of in line with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive 2012.

Duty Holders should, in the first instance, contact either the Council’s IT Team and / or the Council’s Waste Compliance Officer. All Council assets must be removed from the Asset Register at the time of disposal.

Cleaning and Welfare Arrangements for Premises

The Duty Holder should raise any concerns regarding cleaning or welfare facilities with Facilities Management.

11. Legislation

The relevant legislation used in preparation of this standard is as follows:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • Fire (Scotland) Act 2005
  • Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
  • Health & Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996(as amended).
  • Safety Representatives & Safety Committees Regulations 1977.

12. Health and Safety Advice

The Hub hosts a number of H&S Information documents and hosts a number of standards that relate to specific H&S topics.

You can get in touch with the H&S Team via the Health & Safety Email Account –

Appendix 1 – Fire Safety Documentation

The following documentation should be up to date and readily available at all times:

  • The Fire Log Book
  • Evacuation Plan for the building – (including day and/or evening assembly points locations)
  • Assembly Points (primary and secondary if applicable)
  • Evening & Weekend procedures
  • Fire Safety Risk Assessment
  • Action logs (following last submitted FSRA)
  • Inventory of Fire Fighting equipment and maintenance records (including Smoke vents – fire extinguishers – sprinklers systems)
  • Fire Panel Inspection Records – (not security / intruder alarm records)
  • Emergency Lighting Testing Records
  • Mains Testing & PAT Records
  • Fire Related Training Records
  • First Aid Procedures
  • Individual Building Handover Documents
  • Shared Premises Procedures / Documents
  • Maintenance Records
  •  Asbestos / Legionella Records
  • Contractors Arrangements
  • Plant / Lifts / Biomass Inspection Records
  • Risk Assessments for working in Boiler Rooms / house (if applicable)
  • Personal Protective Equipment Records
  • Latest FM Inspection Documents
  • Fault / Repair Log Books
  • Business Continuity / Resilience Plans
  • Accident / incident notifications