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Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure
Safety officers

Control measure knowledge

The incident commander or sector commander should assess levels of risk and consider appointing one or more safety officers to act as advisers; this appointment can be made at any time

Safety officers should have suitable competencies for the role and wear a blue and yellow tabard with the words 'Safety Officer'. If there is a safety sector, safety officers will report to a safety sector commander.

Safety officers will be responsible for functions including:

  • Identifying safety issues
  • Starting corrective action
  • Maintaining safe systems of work
  • Ensuring people are wearing appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE)
  • Observing the working environment
  • Monitoring the physical and psychological condition of personnel
  • Regular reviews
  • Recording an analytical risk assessment
  • Updating the incident commander when circumstances change

Safety within sectors                                                                                            

Sector commanders are responsible for the health and safety of people within their sector. However, they may need to nominate a safety officer to assist and report to them.

At a large incident, a safety officer may be appointed as the safety sector commander; they will report to a command support officer.

If a safety sector commander has been appointed, they will co-ordinate the role of safety officers and may be responsible for functions including:

  • Surveying operational sectors, identifying hazards, and advising the sector commander
  • Working with sector safety officers to support and exchange information
  • Confirming the validity of the initial risk assessment and recording as appropriate
  • Collating and recording an analytical risk assessment
  • Providing additional monitoring of the safety of personnel for sector commanders
  • Working with the incident commander or operations commander
  • Reporting health and safety issues, including accident investigation

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Identify suitably competent personnel who can be appointed as safety officers or safety sector commanders

  • Provide a means to identify personnel on the incident ground who are carrying out the role of safety officer or safety sector commander

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Appoint suitably competent personnel at safety officers

  • Task safety officers to carry out activities that will maintain the safety of operational personnel

  • Instigate a safety sector at large or complex incidents under the control of a safety sector commander

  • Task safety sector commanders to carry out activities, primarily to co-ordinate the role of other safety officers

Sector commanders should:
  • Consider appointing a safety officer to assist with maintaining the health and safety of people within their sector