Vulcan Fire Training bring you the latest fire prosecutions to highlight the importance of compliance with fire safety regulations and remind you of the potential legal consequences when regulations are breached.
This month, we’re looking at three successful prosecutions from November 2019, including a dangerously wired shisha lounge in Leicester, some poorly converted flats in Sunderland and a historic mill fire that resulted in four deaths.
Council officials in Leicester have handed a local business an almost £12,000 fine for various health and safety offences, including fire safety breaches. Finding “highly dangerous” exposed live electrical wires which were not properly insulated, presenting a serious fire risk.
Due to the severity of the risk, officials demanded the closure of the premises until such a time that the owners had the wires fixed by a qualified electrician. Having also put up fencing panels and tarpaulin to fashion an outdoor smoking area from, smoke free laws were also breached - 50% of the area is supposed to be open, where 47.3% was in this case.
Having argued his case, the owner was eventually fined £8,000 in total on behalf of the business for four separate health and safety offences, and £800 personally for the same four offences. There was also an £170 victim surcharge to be paid.
Initially reported by Sunderland Environmental Health - who had their own concerns - firefighters uncovered serious issues at two adjoining properties following an inspection.
The premises had been home to 11 people at the time of the inspection, but was found to present a serious risk to life due to the lack of fire resistant compartmentation and lack of a working fire alarm. The issues in the property were as a result of a poor conversion into self-contained flats, as the building work completed did not comply with safety standards.
As a result, both owners and managing agent were all fined thousands at Sunderland Magistrates Court and Sunderland City Council provided alternative accommodation to the residents affected. Both owners were fined £500 per offence, plus £1563.19 costs an a £50 victim surcharge, while the managing agent was fined £150 per offence, plus £1563.19 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.
Woodmill Treatment Limited has been charged with corporate manslaughter in relation to an explosion that caused four deaths in 2015. A factory that specialised in wood chip products, the explosion resulted in a fire that took over a week to fully extinguish.
On the back of a joint investigation to identify the cause of the explosion by the police, fire service and Health and Safety Executive that’s taken four years to complete, several cases continue in conjunction with these findings.
An executive and two managers at the time of the explosion are due back in court later this year to face their own individual charges of manslaughter, as well as several other health and safety related charges.
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