Friday, 25 January 2013

Brighton hotel convicted of fire safety offences


Hotel Nineteen Ltd of 19 Broad Street, Brighton, was yesterday (24th January) convicted for breaches of fire safety legislation relating to their premises, located at the same address. Hoteliers and other businesses providing sleeping accommodation across Brighton & Hove and East Sussex are being advised to pay attention to their legal obligations to ensure that their premises are safe from fire and in particular, to ensure that they fully co-operate with enforcement officers.

Hotel Nineteen Ltd, were yesterday awarded a two year Conditional Discharge and ordered to pay costs of £1000 by Brighton Magistrates Court, after pleading guilty to a number of breaches of fire safety legislation relating to their premises in Broad Street. Offences included matters relating to general fire precautions, means of escape and failure to comply with a formal notice.

Following an initial inspection in September 2009 and a number of subsequent inspections where East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (ESFRS) informally sought to achieve compliance with the law, in April 2011 it was eventually necessary to serve a formal Enforcement Notice requiring improvement work to be completed by October 2011.

These works were not completed by the due date and in July 2012, following a final visit to check if any subsequent progress had been made in implementing improvement works, and where it was found that no progress had been made, a decision was made to prosecute.

When sentencing the company, the Magistrates commented; that these were serious offences and if it were not for the poor financial circumstances of the business, that they would be considering substantial fines.

Group Manager Richard Fowler, Head of Protection for ESFRS said: “East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to take this opportunity to remind all hoteliers and providers of sleeping accommodation of their legal responsibility to protect their guests and staff against the risks from fire.  The public should continue to be reassured that we take any breaches of fire safety very seriously, and especially so where the premises provides sleeping accommodation.

“Despite our officer’s best efforts to inform and educate the responsible person in their duties over an extended period of time, it is disappointing that Hotel Nineteen failed to comply with requests for improvements to be made to the fire safety arrangements, as this eventually led to a formal notice being served. It is particularly disappointing that the company then failed to then comply with this formal notice, resulting in protracted legal proceedings that detract officers from attending to other matters.”
Notes to Editors:
1.         The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 became current fire safety legislation in October 2006.  It covers practically all types of premises except single domestic dwellings.  It places the onus of responsibility for fire safety on the responsible person for each premise.  Fire Authorities advise and assist responsible persons to meet their statutory duties; they are also under a legislative duty to enforce The Order and are empowered to impose sanctions and bring prosecutions.
2.         The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is divided into a series of Articles; breaching particular Articles may constitute an offence. -
3.         Under Article 32 It is an offence in Article 8 to fail to take such general fire precautions as would ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of relevant persons where that failure placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury. Under Article 32 It is an offence in Article 14 to fail to ensure it is possible for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and safely as possible where that failure placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury. Under Article 32 it is an offence to fail to comply with an Enforcement Notice.   
4.         Fire safety advice and guidance upon all types of premises is available at the CLG website: https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities/fire-safety-advice-documents
5.         Further fire safety advice for businesses is available on the ESFRS website, please visit http://www.esfrs.org/businessSafety/

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