A fire safety inspection may not be particularly high on your list of important events for your business, but as a Whitby restaurant owner has found out, your bank balance, customers and staff will thank you for it.
Having a fire safety inspection is a legal requirement. The law regarding fire safety inspections states that the local fire authority must enforce The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and Section 19 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, since the law came into force on 1st October 2006. Inspections are carried out by specialist fire inspection officers, who visit properties deemed as higher risk, as well as any complex commercial premises. The inspectors' job is to carry out an assessment, and identify any associated risks which the business owner needs to take action on to ensure that they're complying with the law.
Azad Hussain, who was formerly the company director of Whitby restaurant “Kam Thai” in Church Street, pleaded guilty to not complying with six different fire safety regulations when he appeared at York Crown Court in front of His Honour Judge Jamieson QC.
However, it wasn't just the restaurant area itself which was the main cause for concern. The inspection covered the entire building. North Yorkshire's Fire and Rescue Service visited the restaurant to carry out a fire safety inspection on 8th August, when they discovered what was described as a series of “serious fire safety deficiencies” in the associated employee accommodation.
Mr Hussain was also criticised for failing to have a functional fire alarm and fire detector system, ignoring a previous fire risk assessment and its enforcement notice, and blocking a fire exit with combustible items. It was also found that staff had not received adequate fire training to allow them to ensure everyone's safety. He was fined £40,000, along with £6,800 in costs. In addition, the company was fined £6,000.
If you're not sure if you'll pass your next fire safety inspection, there's plenty of advice available online, and from specialist companies like AEL Systems. It's much easier to pass your inspection if you know what you're looking for, and a little bit of helpful advice can go a long way.