Landlord receives huge fine for fire safety failures

August 21, 2018

The Lamb and Lion pub and hotel in York was fined £110,000 after multiple fire safety offences.

The Press in York reported that the failures were uncovered at the property last year, placing both customers and staff at risk. Fire safety inspectors from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service investigated a complaint that the fire alarm was not working.

The fire safety officer who visited the building found that the fire alarm system was inadequate and had been condemned. Other offences included fire doors being held open and poor storage of combustible materials. The hotel’s own fire risk assessment for the building had not identified all the problems, despite the company being made aware of some of the matters requiring attention.

Following the Fire and Rescue Service inspection, a prohibition and enforcement notice was served and an investigation followed, due to the seriousness of the issues. The large fine was imposed on the company under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Serious consequences of non-compliance

An important aspect of a licensee’s duty of care is to ensure the safety of customers and staff while at their establishment. Fire regulations must be strictly adhered to and failure to do so could have the following serious consequences:

  • Being uninsured against fire damage
  • Leaseholders being in breach of their agreements
  • Licences being revoked by councils
  • Large fines
  • Imprisonment

The York hotel case illustrates how a lack of awareness, time and focus on safety meant that vital tasks and duties were ignored, leading to a heavy fine. The responsible person for a building has an obligation to ensure that all necessary fire safety tasks are carried out, to ensure all occupants are protected from fire, as far as it is possible to do so.

The fire risk assessment is a fundamental requirement. Records must be kept in the Fire Log Book, and made available to be shared, updated and reviewed, for all fire safety related matters.

Cases like the one in York could be avoided if licensees practise good fire safety and urgently address all the issues identified within their fire risk assessment.

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Keely Moseley