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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

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