Failure to comply with fire safety legislation has led to a fine of more than £10,000 for a chemical manufacturing company in Tameside.
According to Tameside Radio, Atom Scientific Ltd pleaded guilty to seven breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was convicted on January 23rd.
Officers from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority inspected the company’s two-storey premises on the Arrow Trading Estate in Audenshaw in April 2012.
They found large quantities of flammable, hazardous and toxic chemicals being stored on the ground floor, some of which has the potential to explode.
Chemicals were also being stored along the escape route from the building, which could have had serious implications had a blaze broken out.
In addition, fire doors between the warehouse and the corridors were found to be faulty and the main fire exit door was both locked from the inside and blocked.
As a result, anyone wishing to escape the premises would have had to exit through the main warehouse, which was the area most likely to be ablaze.
In doing so they would have had to travel around 40 metres through the building, by which time it would have filled with smoke, posing a serious danger to life.
Furthermore, the building’s fire alarm was not working, so staff in the offices and laboratories on the first floor would receive no warning of an incident downstairs.
Lawyer Warren Spencer, who was prosecuting for the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “The fire service was concerned about the safety of people on the first floor.
“If a fire broke out in the warehouse smoke, flames and heat would trap people upstairs and their only way out would be through the fire.”
He added: “The company had clearly not given any thought to a fire occurring in the warehouse. It was aware the fire alarm had not been operative since January 2011 but did nothing to rectify it.”
Atom Scientific Ltd was fined £10,500 and was ordered to pay costs of £3,353.20, as well as a £15 victim surcharge.