Fines for breach of fire regulations

Posted: Friday, 28 May 2010 @ 09:24

April saw two of the UK's best known retailers receive significant fines for breaches of fire safety legislation. On 20 April Tesco was fined £95,000 after admitting 5 breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and on 29 April 2010, the Co-operative was fined £210,000 after entering a guilty plea in relation to six offences. In both cases, the breaches are ones that could have easily occurred in any retail premises.

Tesco was fined:

£40,000 for two counts alleging that fire doors were wedged open;
£20,000 for obstructing emergency exits;
£20,000 for failing to keep emergency routes clear and
£15,000 for storing flammable material in a protected stairwell.

The Co-operative's fine was imposed as it had:

  • locked the rear emergency exit doors;
  • obstructed a fire alarm call point in the storage area;
  • failed to provide the store manager with suitable and sufficient fire safety instruction and training;
  • failed to ensure that the fire alarm system was being regularly tested; and
  • failed to put in a fire detection system to enable people in the manager's office to evacuate the building.

All owners of commercial premises should be aware of their obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and ensure that appropriate steps are taken to ensure their premises comply.  If you are a tenant, your failure to observe the regulations will also almost certainly be a breach of the terms of your lease.

Steven Petty, Commercial Property Solicitor

This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.

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