A local retailer has been fined for breaking a number of safety regulations at its sites in Morley, Batley and Leeds.
The offences committed included locking fire doors, having faulty fire alarms and not keeping fire escapes clear.
The prosecutor in this case, Sarah Dinnock pointed out to the court that if a fire had broken out at any of the sites inspected, the failures would have resulted in a “risk of serious injury or death”.
The court was also told that risk assessments were not carried out and the company had not properly trained employees in fire safety.
One of the blocked fire escapes was at the bottom of a stairwell, meaning staff would have had to go back up the stairs if a fire had occurred.
The company has now put in place as many safety measures as it possibly could and a risk assessment is now being carried out every six weeks. However, magistrates determined that it was “too little, too late”. The company was fined £6,000.00 each for the first eighteen offences, and £10,000.00 each for the last two. The company was also ordered to pay £6,307.60 in costs and £120.00 victim surcharge. This fine must be paid within 14 days.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue senior fire protection manager Chris Kemp said “I hope the level of fine sends a message to other companies out there”.
This is an important local case for several reasons. Firstly, it demonstrates the importance of having good fire safety practices, conducting risk assessments and also providing training in respect of health and safety matters.
The second vital point is that magistrates are now willing to impose large fines on companies that have been found to breach health and safety provisions. The level of fine in this case is extremely high and must be paid within a very tight timescale. All businesses no matter what sector or industry must therefore treat health and safety matters as one of their high priorities in order to avoid fines of this nature.
Should you require any further assistance with health and safety or regulatory matters please do contact Nils O’Donoghue or Robert Brackup of Chadwick Lawrence solicitors on 01924 379078.