London Fire Brigade have successfully prosecuted the former owner of a Bayswater hotel after he put the lives of customers at risk by disregarding fire safety legislation. Salim Patel was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay court costs of almost £30,000 after pleading guilty to a number of offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRO) 2005. Mr Patel was also sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 18 months. Read on for tips on how to manage fire safety at your workplace.
£200k Fine for Fire Safety Failings: 9 Tips to Help Ensure YOU Comply
When officers from the fire brigade visited the hotel in 2011, they discovered a number of fire safety breaches. Mr Patel was served with an enforcement notice, requiring him to remedy the fire safety management deficiencies within an agreed timescale, but a further visit by the fire brigade found that no remedial action had been taken and the hotel was still open to the public.
9 Top Tips for Managing Fire Safety
- If you own, manage or operate a business, you must comply with the RRO, which places emphasis on risk reduction and fire prevention. If you have control of any part of the premises, you must carry out a fire risk assessment and review it regularly. Where you employ five or more employees, the assessment must be recorded.
- The aim of the assessment is to identify the hazards and to reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as reasonably practicable. The assessment must also enable you to determine what fire safety measures and management are necessary to ensure the safety of people in the building, should a fire occur.
- The amount of information you record will be influenced by the life risk in the premises, the complexity of the premises, the activities undertaken and your existing fire safety measures. The records required for a hotel (which provides sleeping accommodation) will be greater and more detailed than that required by an office or shop.
- Install an effective fire alarm system to alert people. All employees should be trained in how to raise the alarm and what to do when the alarm sounds.
- Ensure you have fire extinguishers positioned around the premises as these may enable you to get a small fire under control in the early stages. Staff should be trained on how to use them.
- Instruct employees to keep fire doors closed at all times, or ensure fire doors are fitted with automatic closing devices so that the doors will close when the fire alarm is triggered.
- Everyone should be made aware of the correct way to exit a building. You can reinforce this during practice drills.
- Affix signage throughout your premises to highlight fire equipment, escape routes, fire doors, alarms and assembly points.
- Escape routes must be kept clear at all times.
Minimising the risk of fire should be a priority for any organisation. Make sure your staff and visitors are protected – review your fire safety arrangements today.