The owner of the Newgrange Care Home in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire has pleaded guilty to five offences against fire safety legislation after two of the residents died in a fire.
Newgrange of Cheshunt Ltd was fined £175,000 concurrent and ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge, plus prosecution costs.
The five counts each involved an admission that the owner breached their duty imposed by fire safety law and that the breaches were such that they put the residents of the care home at risk of death or serious harm.
Property owner fined £11,346
A NEATH property owner has been given fines and costs totalling £11,346 for failing to correct serious safety issues at flats being rented to tenants which included: smoke detectors being removed or not working; “illegal electrics”; live exposed wires near a kitchen worktop and leaking boilers.
On 16th July 2019, at Swansea Magistrates’ Court, Derrick Desmond Morgan, 61, of Briton Ferry, admitted two charges of failing to comply with Prohibition Order(s), and one charge of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice – all offences under the Housing Act 2004. Mr Morgan denied failing to comply with an Emergency Prohibition Order - also an offence under the Housing Act 2004 – and a trial date was set.
At a trial on 21st August 2019, Mr Morgan was found guilty by the Court of failing to comply with an Emergency Prohibition Order. Read the full article
£36,000 fine for student accommodation owners
A company has been hit with a £36,000 fine for the 'serious fire safety concerns' found at a student accommodation block it owned in Sheffield.
A resident raised concerns about the safety of the block on Rockingham Lane, which led to an inspection from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Read the full article
Care home fined £40,000 for major breaches
The company that runs Lavender Home Residential House has been fined £40,000 for safety breaches and a further £13,000 for admin fees.
At Chester Crown Court, the home, which cares for the elderly and dementia patients, pleaded guilty to eight breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Judge Berkson said that before August 2016 the company had paid little attention to fire safety and that this matter of great importance was low down on its list of priorities.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue commented, “Establishments where people sleep and may need assistance to get out in the event of a fire are especially significant and fire safety must be treated as a priority.
“In the case of Lavender House Residential Home, a lack of fire safety precautions were putting the lives of elderly and vulnerable residents at risk.”
Read the full article
£13,000 fine for landlord breaching fire safety laws
A landlord has been ordered by Highbury Magistrates Court to pay a £12,000 fine and nearly £1000 in costs after his buy-to-let property in North London was found to be breaching fire safety regulations.
Tooting care home company fined more than £100,000 for serious fire safety failings
A company which ran a care home in South London has been fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 costs for breaching fire safety regulations following the death of a pensioner.
Gold Care Consultancy Ltd was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court after pleading guilty to two offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
In January 2015, staff at Wood House Care Home were doing night time checks around the building when they heard cries for help from 78-year-old pensioner Rosina McDonald, and discovered a fire in her room. She suffered from severe burns and sadly died from her injuries.
London Fire Brigade fire investigators found a series of serious safety concerns at the care home following the fire. The fire risk assessment for the premises was outdated and overdue for review. The fire risk assessment failings included:
not adequately reflecting the premises (it referred to a smoking room which no longer existed);
not adequately reflecting the ‘no smoking’ policy in place at the premises;
not considering the risk posed by individual smokers. Source
Recycling firm fined £40,000 for failure to follow fire prevention plan
A £40,000 fine has been handed to the owners of a recycling plant, two years after an 'avoidable fire' broke out.
A judge at Cardiff's Magistrates Court found Siteserv guilty of two counts of breaching its environmental permit and charged them £20,000 for each charge plus court costs.
The blaze at Siteserv in Llandow, Wales, lasted two weeks after 2000 tonnes of waste caught fire.
The fire and rescue service launched an investigation and found that the firm had failed to follow its own fire prevention plan (FPP). Read Full Article
Wakefield Grammar School guilty of fire offences
WEST YORKSHIRE Fire and Rescue Authority (WYFRA) brought a prosecution against Wakefield Grammar School Foundation and its former fire risk assessor Doctor James Gibson.
At a hearing at Leeds Magistrates’ Court guilty pleas were entered to the following charges:
Dr Gibson, 65, who lives in Leeds, pleaded guilty to failing to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment – premises known as Wakefield Girls’ High School, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School and Mulberry House Nursery School – between 16 February 2017 and 11 March 2017.
Wakefield Grammar School Foundation pleaded guilty to failing to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment – Wakefield Girls’ High School and Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School – between 16 February and 11 March 2017.
The foundation also pleaded guilty to failing to take general fire precautions – Wakefield Girls’ High School and Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School – between 16 February and 11 March 2017.
The case was committed for sentence at Leeds Crown Court on 10 January 2020
Fire Standards Board England website goes live
INFORMATION ABOUT the new Fire Standards Board for England and its work to date are available on the newly launched website – www.firestandards.org
Consistency, learning from incidents and developing fit-for-purpose professional Standards is the core purpose of the Fire Standards Board which was formed earlier this year.
The Board will be responsible for development of a high-quality, useable framework of professional Standards focussed on achieving positive outcomes and driving continuous improvement. The Standards will be aligned to the work of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and its national improvement programmes. Once developed, the Board will be responsible for the regular review of those standards. Read the full article
More than 2000 fire doors fail safety tests
Thousands of fire doors in blocks of flats across Brighton and Hove have failed fire safety tests and will need to be replaced, costing the council over £2.5 million.
Dozens of council flats in the area were found to be using fire doors that could not withstand heat for the required 30 minutes. In high-rise blocks, the total number of faulty fire doors reached 1585 and there were 669 noted in 'other flats.'
Smoking remains the top cause of fatal fires despite a fall in the number of smokers
‘Stoptober’ launches today, but sadly despite record numbers of people giving up the habit, smoking continues to be the top cause of fatal fires in the home.
More than a quarter of fire related deaths between 2014-2018 were due to fires caused by smoking and it continues to be one of the leading causes of fire in the home.
Kick the habit
During ‘Stoptober’ we want smokers to kick the habit. If you're not ready to quit, we recommends vaping instead - it poses far less of a risk from a fire safety point of view. Figures show there are almost 300 times more smoking fires overall than there are vaping fires.
Too many people dying in fires
London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daly, said: “It’s great news that the number of people smoking seems to be falling year on year but there are still too many people dying in fires in their homes caused by smoking.
If you do smoke, there are number of measures you should take to keep yourself as safe as possible. You could also consider e-cigarettes, which carry a much smaller risk of fire, although the full extent of the health risks are still being researched.
Read the Full Article
Still no sprinklers for 95% of high-rise buildings
According to a recent study from the Labour Party, 95% of local authority-owned tower blocks (taller than 30 meters) do not have life-saving sprinkler systems installed.
Sprinklers have been a requirement since 2007, but, with little to no government funding, ministers have been unable to help.
Ten years on from the Lakanal House fire, the second deadliest tower-block fire in the UK, Labour has renewed calls for a £1 billion fire safety fund.
They believe the money should go towards retrofitting sprinklers in high-rise social housing blocks.
However, with council budgets being cut by a projected 77% from 2010 to 2020, councils are still being denied the crucial funding they need, while the Government continues to claim that the retrofitting of sprinklers is non-essential work.
Labour's shadow housing minister, Sarah Jones MP, said, "The Lakanal House fire showed the clear need for sprinklers in tall housing blocks. Yet, a decade on, nothing has changed.
"Two years on, and after 72 people died in the Grenfell tragedy, they are still refusing to make blocks safe. Sprinklers save lives. That's why labour is calling for a government fire safety fund to fund councils fully with sprinklers and other essential fire safety work." Source
Call for evidence on Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 has been called by the government for evidence to ensure it is fit for purpose.
Employers and business owners in England are being asked to submit information on fire safety in the workplace.
The regulation, which covers fire safety in business premises, is being reviewed in light of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review on Building Regulation and Fire Safety.
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said, "The Grenfell Tower fire was an unimaginable tragedy and we are determined to do everything we can to stop it ever happening again.
"The government is making good progress on improving the safety of high-rise flats, but we must also look at the wider building safety landscape.
"To help keep people safe, we want to ensure the Fire Safety Order is fit for purpose. To do this, we need to understand how it is working on the ground and make informed decisions in the future."
Those responsible for fire safety in regulated premises include employers, business owners, landlords, occupiers and anyone else in control of the premises, such as building and facilities managers.
It also applies to anyone with paying guests, including those who run bed and breakfasts, guesthouses or let self-catering properties, as well as hotels. The call for evidence will run until 31 July 2019. Source
Letting agent fined £80,000
A LETTING agent has been fined £80,000 for failing to license four houses of multiple occupation in Loughborough.
Orange Living Ltd, trading as Loc8me and based in Loughborough, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Housing Act 2004 at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.
The company accepted it had failed to license four properties as houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) as required by the legislation.
The prosecution was brought by Charnwood Borough Council.
Pete has brilliantly imparted his considerable knowledge and experience in Fire Risk Management to safety and health professionals at IOSH Branch workshops where with his interactive delivery of presentation and received excellent feedback!
Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)