Playing with fire

A recent high profile health and safety case has highlighted the need for businesses to carry out fire risk assessments to avoid serious workplace accidents and financial harm.

Earlier this year the former owner of the Radnor Hotel in Bayswater was fined a record £200,000 and received a suspended prison sentence for multiple fire safety failings.

London Fire Brigade said guests’ lives were put in jeopardy due to serious violations of fire safety rules, which were uncovered as part of a routine inspection.

The multiple breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 included missing fire doors, blocked emergency exits, inadequate emergency lighting and a lack of fire risk assessment documentation.

An enforcement notice was issued but a follow-up visit found that no remedial action had been taken and there was no working fire detection system. The hotel’s owner was subsequently taken to court and handed London Fire Brigade’s biggest ever fine for an individual.

The size of the fine in this case demonstrates that the courts take fire safety seriously. Business owners must make safety a priority and the serious financial – not to mention reputational – implications should also be considered.

We strongly advise that owners of commercial property ensure legal obligations to fire safety are fulfilled by periodically carrying out fire risk assessment and implementing any improvements required. Even in cases where no individual has been harmed, business owners can expect to face severe financial penalties if they are found guilty of a breach.

At Aegis, our health and safety advisors are able to carry out suitable and sufficient fire risk assessments on your behalf. Contact Sarah Cardwell on 01772 736522 or for further information.