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Top 10 Fines for Non Compliance of the Regulatory reform fire safety order.

  1. Poundstretcher – £51,500

Leeds Crown Court fined Poundstretcher, a chain of discounts stores in the United Kingdom for seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in October 2005. The offences were found at Poundstretcher’s Castleford store in West Yorkshire.

Fire Safety Breaches

Failure to take adequate fire precautions for its employees and other relevant people

Failure to review its fire risk assessment

Emergency routes and exits blocked

Inadequate staff training.

  1. Hallmark Hotel Group – £75,000

UK Luxury hotel company Hallmark Hotel Group received a fine after putting guests at their Cheshire hotel at serious risk from fire. Firefighters called at the premises in Wilmslow in April 2008 for a routine visit and discovered a catalogue of safety issues. Hallmark Hotel Group were charged with three counts of serious fire safety breaches.

Fire Safety Breaches

Not a single working fire alarm

Faulty smoke detectors

Substandard fire exits

Staff had not been properly trained in fire safety

  1. Tesco PLC – £95,000

London Fire Brigade prosecuted retailer Tesco following a fire in October 2007 and subsequent inspection of a supermarket at Colney Hatch in Barnet. This incident led to concerns about fire safety within the store and it was inspected by the Brigade the day after the fire. Tesco pleaded guilty to five breaches of the RRO (Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) at Wood Green Crown Court in April 2010.

Fire Safety Breaches

Failure to ensure escape routes were kept clear

Inadequate fire separation in the building due to doors being wedged open

  1. Douglas and Gordon Limited – £100,000

Letting agent Douglas and Gordon Limited based in London received their fine in July 2011 for failing to act on fire risk assessment. Douglas and Gordon Ltd pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at Southwark Crown Court. London Fire Brigade carried out an audit of the communal areas after a fire broke out in a block of flats owned by the company.

Fire Safety Breaches

Failing to act on significant findings

Failure to make an emergency plan

Ensuring that fire doors were self-closing

Failure to install emergency lighting

  1. The Atomic Weapons Establishment – £200,000

The Atomic Weapons Establishment who are responsible for the design, manufacture and support of warheads for the UK’s nuclear deterrent were fined by Reading Crown Court in May 2013. AWE admitted a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. An employee suffered burns when a fireball erupted in his face at the Aldermaston site in August 2010.

Fire Safety Breaches

Failing to supply adequate safety clothing

  1. The Radnor Hotel – £200,000

The London Fire Brigade secured their biggest ever fine against hotel owner Salim Patel, who put lives at risk by flouting fire safety laws. Salim Patel, the former owner of The Radnor Hotel was issued an enforcement notice requiring that put right the deficiencies uncovered which included:

inadequate fire detection systems

inadequate emergency lighting

missing fire doors

no fire risk assessment

evidence the basement storeroom was being used for sleeping

  1. The Chumleigh Lodge Hotel – £210,000

The manager and the sole director of the The Chumleigh Lodge Hotel in Finchley London, had denied 12 charges of neglecting fire safety laws under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 but was found guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court in February 2012. Inspections started after suspicions about the fire safety standards in the hotel after a fire broke out at the hotel in May 2008.

Fire Safety Breaches

Faulty fire doors

Lack of smoke alarms in some of the guest-rooms

Inaccessible escape routes

Staff had not been trained to an appropriate standard in fire safety awareness

No evidence of any suitable fire risk assessment was produced

  1. The Co-operative Group – £210,000

British consumer cooperative, The Co-operative Group were in Southampton Crown Court charged with serious fire safety breaches at its store in Shirley Road, Southampton. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority prosecuted for six breaches of fire safety under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Fire Safety Breaches

Failing to maintain the rear emergency exit doors

A fitted lock requiring a security code on the emergency door

Fire alarm call point obstruction

Failing to ensure that the store manager was provided with suitable and sufficient fire safety training

Failing to ensure that the fire alarm system was being regularly tested

Failing to ensure a means of early detection of fire

  1. Shell International – £300,000

Multinational oil and gas company Shell International were fined over significant failings in fire safety at the Shell Centre in central London. The energy giant pleaded guilty at Inner London crown court to three breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. It was the largest fine imposed under the law. Two small fires in three weeks at the Shell Centre on York Road, Waterloo prompting investigation.

Fire Safety Breaches

Blocked escape routes

Blocked fire exits

Defective fire doors

Excessive fire loading

  1. New Look – £400,000

British global fashion retailer New Look who have a chain of high street shops in the UK, received the maximum possible fine of £400,000 following a fire that gutted the retailer’s Oxford Street store in 2007. 35 engines and 150 fire-fighters were needed to tackle the blaze and crews remained at the scene for the three days. Trade was disrupted at more than 50 Oxford Street shops. New Look pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 following prosecution by the London Fire Brigade.

Fire Safety Breaches

Insufficient staff training

Storage blocking escape routes

Good business management includes taking responsibility for fire safety, knowing the law and acting on it. This conviction shows that large companies are not exempt from prosecution and that the London Fire Brigade will take action when businesses do not take their fire safety responsibilities seriously. Failure to comply with the law can, as this case has shown, result in a substantial fine. 

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