A Milton Keynes guest house owner has been fined £24,168.29 for serious breaches of fire safety regulations by Milton Keynes Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to eight charges and also obstructing fire officers in the line of duty. The fine was a total of £16,000 and prosecution costs of over £8,000. This financial penalty does not include the loss of business income while she was not allowed to trade or the cost of making the required changes to her guest house. It does not pay to cut these corners.
The infractions that led to the issue of a prohibition notice included:
- Inadequate fire protection for fire escape routes
- Combustible materials stored in fire escape routes
- Inadequate fire warning system
- No fire risk assessment
- No fire fighting equipment
- Failure to adhere to the prohibition notice by continuing to accommodate sleeping guests.
The fire service are there to assist businesses in their operation. They are not the enemy. Even when they resort to a prohibition notice they they are acting as a last line advisory service to tell you how you need to do things with minimal risk. If this warning is ignored then the courts get involved.
Station commander Ian Wilson described a prohibition notice as “…a legal notices and are only served where, in the event of fire, the risk of death or serious injury is so serious that the use of the premises must be restricted or prohibited.”
He also said that it is Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service policy work together with business owners to find a solution rather than prosecution.
We at Fire & Electrical Safety Limited will offer the same advice to ensure you are following due diligence regarding the safety of your employees and visitors, but as a way to prevent this sort of attention from the fire department, or worse, from fire itself. If you have your doubts about anything fire safety please contact us.