Engineering company fined more than £60,000 for breaching fire safety regulations

An engineering company has been fined a total of £60,645 for breaching fire safety regulations.

Thursday, 5th April 2018, 5:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th April 2018, 5:16 pm

Charlton Engineering Services Ltd, based in Wasington, was prosecuted by the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority following a fire at the premises.

The fire took place on January 5, 2017, where an employee working remotely was unaware of it and needed to be alerted by another employee.

They then had to negotiate their way past the room that was on fire due to the unavailability of a fire escape.

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The operational crews quickly identified that there had been significant fire safety breaches and alerted the Fire Safety team to respond to the premises.

The charges related to a lack of fire detection and alarm equipment; a lack of fire safety training for staff; unavailability of several fire exits blocked or obstructed and inadequately maintained fire doors.

All deficiencies were subsequently rectified within the time period set out within the Enforcement Notice.

Company directors Colin and Lee Charlton had pleaded guilty to eight charges on behalf of the company at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

They were fined £25,000 for not having a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) in place, £25,000 for having no fire alarm; £1,000 per offence for six other offences and £4,645 costs.

District Judge Roger Elsey said in court: “There was a significant fire but this was brought swiftly under control and although nobody was injured there was a risk of death or serious injury.

“Although the offences were of negligence rather than intention, the fine has to be significant.

"The most severe offence was not having a Fire Risk Assessment.

"If there had have been one done then the other offences may not have happened.

"Therefore a fine of £25,000 for not having a Fire Risk Assessment is adequate.”

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority play a major role in public protection and safety within Tyne and Wear and are responsible for enforcing the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Keith Carruthers, TWFRS area manager for community safety said: “We always try to work with organisations and businesses in Tyne and Wear to create the safest working environments.

"Where there are serious or regular breaches of fire regulations which endanger lives we will take legal action.

“In this case there was a real risk of serious injury or death for staff on the premises, due to the fact that there were hazardous activities taking place on the ground floor and an employee working on an upper floor; these issues were compounded by there being no fire alarm in the building.

"These events resulted in one member of staff not knowing a fire had started and then found their escape routes blocked and obstructed.”