High Street UK retailer New Look have been left in no doubt that the Fire Safety Order (FSO) has teeth following a fire in one of their outlets which resulted in a fine of £400K and £136K in court costs.
The fire safety breaches included the absence of a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment and included shortfalls in staff fire training which meant that correct procedures were not followed upon the actuation of the fire alarm.
A former Fire Safety Manager for Wirral Fire Protection said,
“Local Government are beginning to see the problems with the FSO. Expecting employers to carry out their own fire risk assessment can have serious ramifications and this is just one example. Many of the businesses we have assessed over the years have had suitable emergency plans in place however, staff had not been adequately trained. A Fire Action Plan is meaningless without trained staff to ensure its efficient implementation. The surprising thing about this prosecution is the sheer scale of the fine and yet it appears that injuries were not sustained by any persons. This prosecution sends out a clear message to any business owners who have yet to complete a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment and to those companies who do not have certificated fire wardens.”
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